“Now… where to begin?”

I kept hearing Bilbo Baggins ask that question in the beginning of the “Lord of the Rings” over and over again each time I sat down to start this blog over the last week or so.  Like Bilbo, I’ve wanted to get started writing for some time but just couldn’t find the right place to start.  Bilbo eventually came up with the chapter “Concerning Hobbits” in which he describes Hobbits and life in the Shire.  Well, maybe that works for me as well.  In this inaugural blog post, let me introduce myself and provide a little bit of my background.

My name is Dennis Schultz.  I am a Solution Architect in the Rational software brand of IBM.  I have been focused on quality and testing for my entire career.  I started out at a large aircraft manufacturer in St. Louis, MO (it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out who that is).  I was involved in flight line avionics testing.  I designed, built and supported automated test equipment to validate and diagnose avionics failures during final assembly.  I loved the chance to work with both hardware and software systems.  I also loved that I was able to see a project from inception through to deployment.  (Seeing a jet fighter go vertical off the runway on my way into the office was pretty cool, too.)

After nearly 10 years in the aircraft business, I took the plunge to a small company.  I joined Rational Software Corp. when Rational was around 1200 employees.  The next few years saw very rapid change as Rational acquired numerous companies and assembled the first really integrated suite of software development tools – the predecessors to Collaborative Lifecycle Management solutions.  When Rational was acquired by IBM in 2003, I realized we had only scratched the surface.  There were tremendous opportunities within IBM to realize the mantra of Rational – to truly make a difference in the software industry.

Since becoming part of IBM, I have continued to stay involved in quality and testing.  I have done tours in Marketing, Sales, Enablement and various other departments.  Today, I’m in the Emerging Technologies team.  My team is a world wide resource for IBM software account teams.  We engage with some of our most forward-thinking clients, not only helping them to leverage IBM solutions, but also to partner with them to understand what they need today and what they will need tomorrow.  We not only help clients get the most out of their IBM software investments today, we are a conduit back to IBM Development Labs where we help to influence what’s next.

Our team is constantly learning in our engagements with client.  My hope is that this blog will help me share some of that new-found knowledge with a larger audience.  I have some ideas on what I would like to share, but as Bilbo discovered, you never really know where events will take you.  The world of IT is changing around us constantly.  We may not be engaged in anything as dramatic as Bilbo’s ultimate fight of good against evil, but every testing team has a few Orks and Goblins to face daily.  I don’t pretend to be Gandalf the Gray, but hopefully I can point you in the right direction now and then on your quest to save Middle Earth (or at least to save your testing team).

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