Prepping to and for Innovate.

On somewhat short notice I find myself prepping to go to IBM Innovate this year.  I’m excited about it – we’re going to talk about the very compelling devops case study around how IBM Service Engage was developed.

As a run up to our presentation, we’re hoested a webinar on the Tivoli User Community called IBM Service Engage: The Criterion Collection.  Those of you who remember DVDs will remember that the criterion collection always shows the director’s cut of the movie with an option to watch it with director’s commentary on.  So we did something similar with Service Engage – doing a director and developer-tour of the site with the architect and the developers as they talk about the proccess of developing and deploying (and re-developing, and re-deploying production code as many as 20 times per day) the site. If you missed it, not to worry. The replay and slides can be found at the Tivoli User Community.

IBM Innovate itself is in Orlando.  aka Mickey Mouse Vahallah. Aka the hall of the mountain mouse.  I haven’t set foot on a disney property in 30+ years.  I have some photos around my house of the last visit- when I was actually  the same age my daughter is now.  There is not one single one where I’m actually smiling.  I’m always making that stressed out face that sensitive children make when they’re overstimulated and tuned in to the mounting adult tension around them.

Those of you who remember the run up to Pulse remember that I took my daughter and my mother with me to Las Vegas.  The natural question is whether they’ll be joining me in Orlando. Nope.  Given the fact that I got overwhelmed by Disney World while I was still sitting at my desk making the reservations for my room, I’m thinking it’s better for me to be a little more relaxed during the Chloe-meets-Disney-meltdown I’ll inevitably have to deal with during “go-live” trip where I take her.  Me encountering Disneyworld crowds at the same time she encounters the princesses in real life will make for some wrought memories, and I’m hoping for at least one happy picture when we go.

But check out what they sent me in the run up to my arrival.  It’s this thing called a MagicBand.  It’ll be my room key, my food pass, and theoretically if I was planning on going into the park itself, it would serve as a fast track pass as well.


Well made and well packaged wearable tech can melt even the most cynical heart- and I knew this before it even showed up because I was actively tracking the package as it shipped.  So maybe this won’t be as traumatic as I assumed when I heard you had to book your shuttle from the airport in time to let them ship you customized luggage tags.

What am I up to at Innovate, you may ask?  Two things.  Expo Ped duty almost the entire time showing off IBM Service Engage version “Charlie.”  This will be a little less fancied up than our presence at Pulse, with no massage chairs to look forward to.  But the upside to this expo is that I get to wear jeans and a properly-sized “Think” t-shirt.  As long as my jeans aren’t ripped, I get to wear whatever else I want.   After years of bursting into tears at the site of my fleece Expo vest, not having to wear one is a massage in and of itself.

Ironically, though, as soon as I decided to staff the ped at Innovate, a speaking opportunity fell in my lap.  I’ll be co-presenting the IBM Service Engage devops case with Chuck Brant.  At 8:00am. On Wednesday. Not a typo- 8:00 in the A.M.  So you’re really a hero if you show up and will be in my good graces forever.  Details on the presentation can be found here: .

I’ll be livetweeting the general sessions as well, so you can follow me @lizzrest if you want to check out what I have to say about that.

Wish me luck not getting overwhelmed at the World Headquarters of Mouse, Inc!

IBM Design Camp: An Adventure in Sketchnoting

This one was just awesome.I spent last week at IBM Design Camp with the development and PLM teams for IBM Service Engage.  I’ve been dying to go since the IBM Design center opened in Austin.  An age and a half ago I wrote my master’s report on Agile Development Methodologies and User Centered Design, so I’m giddy to see them in action, working together.

Dress patternOne of my personal projects this year is developing my Sketchnoting skills. I’m a big notetaker in general, but there are always doodles.  Without guidance I tend to either draw eyes or pyramids. Neither of these – however delicately drawn – really help maintain my attention span. So sktechnoting would seem to be a natural fit if I actually want to listen to what I’m sitting through.  I bought a Pogo stylus for my iPad,  but I’ve been struggling to get going with it, largely out of a sense of feeling…I don’t know. Outclassed by the blank sheet of paper?  I got into a Sketchnoting course at SXSWi, though, which gave me a boost of confidence and some practice.  Design Camp was the first real world test.

I think I captured that element of surprise well.  Since the secret sauce of Design Camp is still…secret, I’m just going to share my favorite sketches, not the full notes from the class.  I am now really a believer in the power of Sketchnotes, though. Not only was I interested enough to go back through my notes and add things, but the sketching warmed me up to do the design exercises…which I can’t share either.*

Presented here, with commentary, are the disembodied sketches.  I’m going to mess with the slideshow as best I can to get it to slow down, but in case I fail…read fast or hover at the bottom to pause it.

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* Okay, not kidding. I put an emoticon in here and it actually placed big cheery yellow happy face instead of the standard colon + parenthesis.  There is nothing worse than a fully realized emoticon in the middle of a page of sketches.  Just tacky.

Pulse Approaches: Will I Blend?

There’s a strange series of videos from Blendtec that features Tom Dickenson putting the latest electronic device- usually one people are still waiting in line  for- in a blender to see what will happen..  There isn’t a lot of suspense; inevitably the blender wins.

An Example:

I didn’t understand the purpose of this heretical destruction when I first saw it in action and I don’t understand it now.  But I am getting ready to try something remarkably similar.  I am bringing my daughter and my mother with me for the first few days of Pulse. Will they blend? If the gold dust smoke in the video above is any indicator, I sincerely hope not.  But just the act of putting all the ingredients into the blender involves a serious amount of juggling.

You’re probably asking the same question I was when I saw my first Blendtec video…Why on Earth would you do such a thing?  Four years ago I had a baby during the Pulse cloud keynote.  Fortunately I wasn’t in Las Vegas at the time, so it wasn’t cinematic and no Pulse attendees were traumatized.  I was the track lead for the Cloud Track that year, so I busy uploading presentations in my home office when all of a sudden it was time for maternity leave.

I bring that up to illustrate the following:  every year My Pulse is a three ring circus.  Ring 1:plan for Pulse, Ring 2: plan this year’s birthday spectacular, Ring 3: plan the vacation afterwards to restore my sanity. I have been lucky for four years, though, as opening day and birthday haven’t completely overlapped. Yet much as the Winter Olympics have swung around again, so too has the overlap.  Pulse + birthday in one skidding collision of a weekend.  I can only be one place at one time.  So to Vegas all three generations of us go.

Pulse is stacking up to be special this year even without the inter-generational blender,  as we at C&SI are bringing the first iteration of IBM Service Engage with us for our attendees to get a look.  For the past week I have been working on a video showcasing our references, interviewing those folks who have had a chance to test drive IBM Service’s initial three SaaS products – Performance Management, Workload Automation, and IT Service Management in our beta. I’ve been working with IBM for 12 years, and with C&SI for seven.  I have never before had a community this excited our products.  Listening to how excited these references are has made me all the more eager to get out there and show the rest of Pulse what we’ve been up to and where we want to go.

So what are my Pulse schedule highlights this year?  Sunday afternoon,  I’m speaking with the Tivoli User Group about Service Engage.  Sunday night I’ll be in the Service Engage Lounge at the Expo.  Quick note about the Service Engage Lounge- I’m a Pulse veteran.  I know painful feet and dead cell phone batteries.  So when Kat Wallace and I planned the lounge  we wanted to make sure the lounge fit the vision of IBM Service Engage – the right services when you want them and the right support when you need it.  We’ll have a phone recharge booth and…wait for it…Massage Chairs! Aching back? No bars? Come say hello. We’re at both #653, starting at the Opening Reception on Sunday through the ceremonial barring of the doors on Wednesday afternoon.

Other Highlights:

Monday –  Moderating a Birds of a Feather session on Cloud-Based Enterprise Resource Planning for Growth Markets.

Tuesday – Annual Women’s Networking Reception and the discussion panel featuring my personal heroes from Girls Who Code.

What about Wednesday, you might ask? Wait, What is your daughter doing this whole time, you might ask?   It turns out that minus the alcohol and any ability to legally gamble, Vegas is pretty much a kid’s paradise.  Where else is the architecture going to so accurately match your wildest childlike imaginings?  Saturday is the birthday festival.  We’re going to The Children’s Museum, the Venetian for a Gondola Ride and dinner on the grand canal. If our temper tantrums hold off long enough, we’ll try to get to the light show at the Bellagio.  There will be surprise birthday cake en suite from Freed’s Bakery.  And I’m lugging a suitcase of presents just so that my mother can lug them back to Austin for me when she takes my daughter home on Monday.  Here’s hoping my Birthday Queen likes some of the stuff enough to carry it herself.  Candles? Check. Lighter? Check. Gift Bags? Uh, we’ll wing it.

So Wednesday, while being a room captain and a social media reporter, I’ll probably look like the unfortunate cell phone selected for blender duty. The suspense is killing me.  What swear words will my daughter try out for the first time in the elevator with my boss? How am I going to get stubborn Service Engage enthusiasts out of the massage chairs when their time is up? How many miles will I walk between the MGM and the conference center, then back out to the pool because of forgotten toys?  Come see me at the Service Engage Lounge to see how I’m holding up. Or if not me, the massage chairs.  Plus, demo IBM Service Engage.  You’ll be just as excited about it as I am.

Looking forward to seeing you at Pulse!