This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Blaine Bey, Industry Leading Analyst & Senior Consultant Sierra Systems, President CIPS BC. Blaine talks about IT Best Practices and Tips for Life Success.
Blaine Bey is a senior consultant with Sierra Systems in Victoria. (www.SierraSystems.com) He has 29 years of experience in the analysis, design, development and implementation of financial systems including most major ERP applications.
He has experience at the senior level in:
- Gathering of business requirements
- JAD facilitation
- Software estimation
- Leadership of development teams
- Global application development
- Quality assurance/testing management
- IT Service Management (ITSM)
- Data centre operations management
Blaine is an active proponent of IT professionalism in Canada:
- President, Canadian Information Processing Society of BC. (www.bc.cips.ca)
- Recognized as CIPS (www.cips.ca) 2007 Volunteer of the Year
Blaine holds the following:
- Data Processing Certificate (University of Regina, 1979)
- Information Systems Professional of Canada (I.S.P., 1995) and Information Technology Certified Professional (ITCP, 2009)
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
Blaine, can you talk about your early influences in setting your life's direction?
"....The years working around the family farm in Saskatchewan instilled in me a good work ethic. As I take a step back and look at the different methodologies and best practices which we follow in IT, I find they are not unlike what a farmer would do....Another aspect I was influenced by were the NASA Apollo missions. I was always amazed by the applied technology and what they were able to do...."
Blaine, can you discuss how you got into computing, your prior roles and some key lessons that you wish to pass on?
"....Learn from the best....Have outside interests....Have internal values....Strive to be of service to others...."
Over your long history of notable success, what were the most difficult challenges that you were not able to overcome at that time? What would you do differently now?
"....Back in the early 1980's we had another downturn and I had some large investments which resulted in large losses....Another difficult challenge has been family health....A key message is to deal with it when it happens and don't ignore any early symptoms...."
What were the key disruptive forces driving change in your life and how can we learn from your experiences?
"....The key ones are those which are direct barriers to success - they become the landmines that you never quite recognize initially....Watch out for the hidden agenda...."
Can you profile your current roles and the value delivered to your diverse audiences?
"....My specialty has always been financial systems....I found that has really been to my benefit over the decades...."
What are your tips for project delivery?
"....The key one is to engage. Senior team members have to be able to jump in and actively participate in project delivery, especially early on in the project....A willing attitude is very important....A company needs to assemble "A" Teams for critical service delivery..."
Who would comprise the "A" Team in project delivery?
"....The individual who would be a Versatilist - with a broad range of experience both in IT and in business in general....These people have the ability to take on a variety of tasks...."
Can you share your IT Best Practices in areas such as: Gathering of business requirements, JAD facilitation, Software Estimation, Leadership of development teams, Global application development, Quality assurance/testing management, IT Service Management (ITSM), Data centre operations management?
"....Gathering business requirements - think in terms of the business....JAD facilitation - figure out who the key people are....Software estimation - do more than one type of estimate....Global application development - the concept of the software factory....Quality assurance - test often and early....IT Service management - IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices....Data center operation - hosted solutions...."
How does public service help an IT Professional's career?
"....One becomes a much more valued resource if it is shown that you aren't just in it for the bucks and that you are there for the promotion of the industry...."
What are some of the organizations that you are associated with?
"....Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS).....IP3 program...."
What are the key values for IT professionals?
"....Some of the core values can be summarized down as honesty and integrity....Adherence to a code of ethics...."
Where do people go if they want to join CIPS?
From your perspective, what do you see are the most important broader business challenges and their possible solutions?
"....Sometimes we have to apply the good enough principle and let perfection go for the moment....Look ahead, don't be too short-sighted....Look at the risk-rewards end of investing....The desperation to figure out how to survive....Focus on a capital project that needs to occur and stay the course...."
Provide your predictions of future Business and IT trends and their implications/opportunities?
"....There are a number of senior key IT resources that are out there and available. We have to recognize that this is a one-time opportunity right now....The role of succession planning....More companies are going to be looking externally for industry best practices....Technology is guaranteed to change...."
Which are your top recommended resources and why?
"....CIPS Certified Professionals. They are Versatilists - able to handle a broad range of tasks, have a depth of knowledge, are well experienced in what they do and know when to call in another resource...."
Blaine shares some stories from his work and experiences.
If you were doing this interview, what questions would you ask and then what would be your answers?
"....These questions I would ask an IT professional: 'What can you do to help promote the IT profession?'....'Is there any way you can help a fellow colleague either retain his/her job or find a job?'....And a question directed at employers: 'What would you do to ensure that you have your recruiting and your retention practices in place?'...."