Thursday, January 19, 2006

Exhilarating, Humbling, and Invigorating - IBM Software University 2006 in Las Vegas - Day 3

Being here in Las Vegas with my 10,000 closest IBM Software Group friends has been exhilarating, humbling, and invigorating.

It has been exhilarating because there have been so many opportunities to learn. I believe in the opening session they stated that there were over 3200 individual sessions to choose from. Granted, not all of them really apply to me as an I/T Architect but the sheer number of choices is staggering. (Warning-Radical Honesty to follow!) I might as well admit it, I also enjoy the opportunity to hear the insights and opinions of people who are influential. Tuesday, I got to sit in on an assembly of arguably the most influential software architects in the world. How many people can say that sat in a room with the head of the IBM Software Architecture Board and the top technical guru of each of the IBM software brands and the leader of our Business Consulting Services SOA team?... and to hear each of their opinions about the issues surrounding Service Oriented Architectures? How often do I get to hear the Chief Architect of the WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus product? I’m glad my management decided to be one of the 300 who got to join this party.

It was humbling because the exhilaration described above came at the price of realizing how much I don’t know and how many really cool and influential projects are going on. My projects are important in their own way but... truth be told... in my work I stand upon the shoulders of giants.

I must be a high-touch type person because I have found the face-to-face interactions here invigorating. In the consulting business in IBM these days we don’t get to have much time to meet face-to-face with our own internal management or other members of our consulting practice who are working with different clients from our own. We get to know our clients a whole lot better than the IBMers. This week has been a nice change, however. Tuesday, I had breakfast a Software Group Vice President in our WebSphere brand. I ran into an IBM Distinguished Engineer on the shuttle bus yesterday. I had breakfast today with a Business Consulting Services Partner and Associate Partner in the Retail Industry. Today for lunch I got to talk with the Enterprise Application Development Practice Leaders for the SouthEast, Central, and West regions. We had a spirited discussion on how the changes in our consulting business are affecting the careers of our technical practitioners (I/T Specialists and I/T Architects). I renewed an acquaintance with the architect who heads our Rational brand product skills enablement. I got to talk to the architect who is building some tooling around some of our design patterns and best practices. One of my official mentors and I got to meet face-to-face for the first time after talking on the phone for about a year. I ran into an old friend who is now the lead IBM Architect supporting on of the 10 largest banks in the US. One my current interests is application development around the business problem of product warranty. I got to eat dinner tonight with a BCS Partner knowledgeable in this area . This is all goodness and not easily reproducible in the “distance learning” favored by corporate bean counters.

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