I solve your toughest technology management problems. Building and leading programmer teams.
Do you find it easier to Google for information on your competition, than it is to find information within your own company?
You aren’t alone. There is a better way. You can have useful and reliable information systems available to your decision makers.
You don’t necessarily need new technology to make this happen. It’s a matter of thorough training, combined with taking a disciplined and documented approach to information distribution and retrieval.
Do you and your staff suffer from “occupational spam”? Business related e-mail that is overwhelming and of only minor interest to you? Too many people copied on a message, too many replies on a thread. It’s like being in a meeting for an hour and only needing to be there for 2 minutes. I have a solution for you.
If you are a non-technical business manager hiring technical staff, how do you assess that the people you hire are actually qualified to get the job done?
Do you ever suspect you are not getting the full story but have no way of accurately judging what your technical staff is telling you?
When you get the results you are looking for, this typically isn’t an issue. However, all too often projects run over budget, do not complete in a timely manner or do not achieve their objectives. By some estimates, half of all major IT projects fail to even “go live”.
So how can YOU succeed where others fail? Set clear expectations and insist on transparency of project status, track how accurate estimates of completion are and adjust accordingly.
You get extensive experience in successfully managing UNIX and Windows based projects of up to $3 million, up to 2 years in duration, to on time, on budget completion.
You can reach me by email Peter@PeterWhelan.com
Pay attention to the basics. It’s not flashy or exciting, but, in my opinion, it’s highly effective. You may have noticed this principle practiced in the sports field, where the top performers continue to work on the fundamentals.
For example, is getting meetings to start on time an issue in your office?
In my experience, working on site with well over 50 different organizations in a wide variety of industries, tardiness is an issue in roughly 1 out of 5 departments.
I recall a project status meeting where two employees were shamed for being the last ones in the door. After the meeting, they confided in me that they resented how their boss runs the meeting. This didn’t surprise me as their resentment clearly showed in subtle ways and they did not contribute ideas. Later, I listened to their boss vent regarding the challenges she had in getting meetings to start on time and how it all could have been more productive.
Have you ever been in a meeting which was largely a waste of time for all concerned?
In this example, it was a department of over 100 IT professionals. I noticed the clocks on the computers were off by as much as 10 minutes, the clocks on the phones were all off by 4 minutes and some watches were also not set accurately.
I suggested that the computer clocks be synchronized automatically using free Internet time servers, the phone system clock is verified monthly against the official national atomic clock and everyone set their watches using that website as well.
This is a trivial example and yet it had profound results for the long term morale of the department.
Once everyone was working from the same time reference, substantially more people arrived on time at meetings. The manager no longer resented her staff for showing up “late” and the staff no longer resented her for falsely accusing them of being late.
This had an increasingly positive effect on staff morale. When employees were no longer being “unjustly criticized” they were happier and the manager was happy that she was no longer dealing with this trivial matter.
My clients have often commented that I listen better than most people. You’ll have to judge for yourself. Here are a couple of simple, everyday, real life examples.
“Warm it up” Story
I was out with friends snowboarding on a cold winter’s day. Our conversation turned to warming up the car. One friend wanted to start the car while we changed so it would be warmed up when we were ready to go. My other friend insisted warming up a car for a minute was all it needed and it was harmful to let a car idle for longer.
I was surprised at how quickly each took a position and how adamant they were that the other person clearly did not know what they were talking about.
You may have been in meetings where you have seen this happen.
I was able to help them resolve this minor confrontation by pointing out they were both right. You see, one friend was a mechanic and the other was a saleswoman.
What neither realized, was although they were using the same term “warm up the car” my mechanic friend was referring to warming up the motor and my saleswoman friend was referring to warming up the passenger cabin.
This sort of thing happens more often than you might think. I can help to move things forward in your meetings by helping each person see another person’s point of view.
“To be understood, seek first to understand” Stephen Covey
In addition to specialized jargon, many professions create additional meaning around words that the general public does not realize. If you have an MP3 or CD player with a “random” function you may be surprised to hear it play the same song twice in a row. What most people want in a random music function is shuffle. Play all my songs in some random order but never play the same song twice until I’ve heard all the songs. The word “random” to a computer programmer or mathematician literally means it is possible to have the same song two or more times in a row.
Education and Training
I’ve been in the IT business for over 30 years and see it as my true calling. I love learning and estimate that since graduation I have spent over 9,000 hours training myself on new concepts and technologies. I have read well over 400 technical manuals and management oriented books. Walk into your local bookstore or library to get a sense for how many books 400 is. In order to remain current in my field, I typically read at least 6 hours per week.
Have you noticed Microsoft come out with an inferior product and keep marketing and improving it until they dominated the market?
As a result, I chose to study a wide variety of Microsoft products, including Microsoft Project, SQL Server, Site Server, Commerce Server, C++, Visual Basic, Internet Information Server (IIS), Access, Visio, Visual Interdev, Exchange Server, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Proxy Server, Host Integration (SNA) Server etc.
You get a professional who has proven world class expertise. I have passed 31 Microsoft certification exams. Significantly, this was over a 2 year period where I was on the road 3 out of 4 weeks managing multiple UNIX based projects. All but two of these exams were passed on my first attempt.
11 of the exams were in beta. Beta exams are released to determine what the pass rate will be for the official exam and to toss out any questions that are too vague or confusing. Study guides and practice exams do not yet exist at that point, so the only way to pass the exam is to have a thorough understanding of the product.
When you contract with me you get an expert who has earned all of the following certifications:
MCDBA – Microsoft Certified Database Analyst so you get SQL server and Exchange expertise.
MCSD – Microsoft Certified Solution Developer as a result of my programming experience with Visual BASIC and Visual C++. Mostly C# now.
MCSE – Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer demonstrating my solid understanding of network architecture and system administration
I passed the Microsoft Accelerated Systems Engineer for Windows 2000 exam. This was a one time only, 4 hour test, offered only to current MCSE holders. Only 20% of certified MCSE were able to pass it.
Many certified people are only able to pass the exams after being coached with study guides and practice exams. With me, you get one of the people who masters the technology first and then trains others.
You also get my extensive experience training IT staff on a variety of Unix platforms, AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, Linux, etc.
You get training based directly on what you need to get done in your business and provide a “hands on” approach for optimal retention of the material covered.
Did you know there are people claiming to have education and certifications they did not earn?
You can verify my credentials with Microsoft by clicking here and entering my transcript ID (702906) and access code (PeterWhelan). Microsoft introduced this service after many people were found to be impersonating certified professionals and providing businesses with poor unqualified service as a result.
Certification is an added value. There are tens of thousands of competent professionals working full time as programmers, database administrators and database analysts who have attempted to earn the certified designations and have failed to do so. They are competent for the job they perform on a daily basis but lack the broad knowledge needed to pass the exams. They hold an important place on the team.
In my work with local and state police departments, I was surprised to learn it’s difficult to find qualified IT professionals who can also pass a security check.
You have to demonstrate you have an excellent credit rating as people in financial trouble may be more susceptible to bribery. From a management point of view, it makes sense to have the people trusted with multi-million dollar budgets also know how to handle their personal finances.
I had to pass a criminal background check and be fingerprinted to confirm this.
I can pass strict security checks and enjoy working on confidential projects as it typically allows me to make a larger, more significant contribution to society.
You have my full attention when I’m working for you. I will not be handling calls or emails from my other clients.
I respond daily to my voice mail and e-mail Peter@PeterWhelan.com
Getting IT done, Doing IT Right
MCDBA, MCSD, MCSE, MCP #209751