Who will be the EMC Elect of 2016?

Who will be the EMC Elect of 2016? Well only those that nominate can decide.  EMC_Elect_Nominate

It will the 4th year for EMC Elect, and its hard to believe another year of the program has passed. But ut has and with recent announcments 2016 is shaping up to be the most compelling year for EMC.

And I believe the EMC Elect of 2016 are going to be ones with the exclusive access to tell that story, minus the spin and the FUD.

Nominations close on the 30th November at Midnight EST (US).

Do not let your favorite EMC knowledgable peer miss this exciting oppurtunity to join a very vibrant Technical community.

And to the EMC Elect of 2015, even though the sun is beginning to set on 2015, I want to thank you for the tremendous passion and commitment you have given to this community. Once EMC Elect, always EMC Elect. I sincerely thank you on behalf of EMC and the EMC community who are the true beneficiaries of the erudite content you share passionate and curious technology geeks! I really appreciate you all and it is an honour to faciliate the program.

And the very best of luck to all those nominated for the EMC Elect of 2016.

Now don’t delay, time is short. :Nominate:

My #VMWorld Europe experience representing #EMC (part 1)

It might be day 1 of VMWorld 2014 but there has been a lot going on over the past 2.

I arrived on Sunday afternoon and caught up with people after checking in. Then it was off to the vRockstar event.

The EMC Elect and The ViPR community were one of the sponsors of the event this year. It was bigger and better than ever and gave us an opportunity to mingle with the social rockstars.

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I was given a short spot to thank the attendees and I used it to promote EMC Elect nominations. I alos talked a little about how support Communities are changing / evolving at EMC. I did my best to be the best vRockstar I could be, simply by talking to many people and having great conversations. And I rocked the word out to nominate (quite literally).

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It was a great event and there are plenty of photos on the social stream under #vRockstar. Many thanks to Patrick Rednap, James Bowling, Hans De Leenher & Marco Broeken for putting it together. And a big thanks to Rachel Foster for marshaling EMC as a sponsor to this event in a short time frame.

Yesterday was partner day. And it was the day Dennis arrived, so we got together to catch up and do some plotting and scheming for the EMC Elect program.:) Good planning, lots of exciting things coming up. More will be revealed in due course.

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As it was a less frantic day, it gave me the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. I have mentioned this before, and do so again now by saying that these conferences are an invaluable experience for any attendee and the company or business that paid to send them.. Sometimes its hard for businesses, to grasp this and really see the value. And its especially harder in these difficult economic times to justify the spend. And getting to attend a conference in Q4, well thats a hard sell. Its hard to break what I call consensus thinking.    Now I don’t mean group think, but I do mean following traditional paths to things.  Its tough for people and companies to stop and take a skeptical eye on whats happening. But it does add up on anyone, be it a company, or person, if they continue in a consensus model. I will make a promise to expand on my thoughts on that in another blog post.

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In any event the conversations are going very well. And what gives my heart a lift is the depth of those conversations. Be it the encouragement of outside the box ideation from Patrick Rednapp, or James Bowling, or the sage advice and calming but motivating influence of Amy Lewis or Josh Atwell, its all amazing. And there are so many other people too numerous to mention. People who are employees if companies that partner EMC, compete with EMC etc, thats irrelevant. Its the real people behind those roles that speak and converse. And this community of peers in my experience has such a spirit of generosity. They listen, share, validate, and set you straight. Ad believe me, the companies that these people work for, get a tremendous benefit out of it. Thats my perspective at least.

In any event, there is no time to stop. Plenty of sessions today including some hosted by #EMCElect memebers.

More on that in due course.

Who will be the EMC Elect for 2015?

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It’s my First VMWorld conference and by far its been one of the more exciting conferences I attended. And thats putting the earthquake to one side 🙂 That was also a first by the way. Waking to a shaking bed and wobbly hotel room 🙂

I’ll be sharing more on my take on VMWorld 2014 in later posts but i am delighted and quite excited to share this breaking news right now.

Today at VMWorld 2014, The EMC Elect team are announcing that nominations for the EMC Elect of 2015 are now open. It’s exciting to think we are already planning for 2015.  This year by opening the nominations now and closing them out on the 31st December gives people plenty of time to nominate those of their peers they wish to see recognized as EMC Elect for 2015.

For those who need a reminder or are just discovering the EMC Elect, here i what it’s all about.

EMC Elect is a community driven recognition and thank you for an individuals engagement with EMC as a brand over the calendar year. The EMC Elect are selected on their outstanding key characteristics of Engagement, Commitment and Leadership.

Engagement is measured on social participation on Twitter (or other platforms based in other countries), Blogs, the EMC Community Network , and in person community presentations (user groups, conferences, etc…)

Commitment is assessed on how an individual is being part of the EMC conversation day in, day out, offering thoughtful feedback and staying optimistic in their language.

Leadership is appraised by looking at the kind of people who take every opportunity to engage with their peers and represent others as part of the community.

So who do you think fits that bill. Is it yourself, is it the person next to you :). Who would you like to see recognized for helping out the EMC community peers. Make sure you nominate that person even if its you. Yes self nominations are perfectly acceptable.

But nominate now! It takes just a couple of minutes. Don’t put it off until December 31st. Don’t be lured into a false sense of Security. Do it now!

The power is in your hands, you decide who makes the cut for EMC Elect 2015! Have fun with it 🙂

Who’s going to be in here in 2015?

EMC Elect from my perspective within my EMC role

In the following post I attempt to show the importance of the EMC Elect Program for the EMC Support Community and EMC overall. I also intend to show how it is a global program made up of very exciting and interesting people from around the world who influence interact and assist like-minded peers in the ECN Support Community and beyond!

This is my EMC Elect Card

This is my EMC Elect card

This is my EMC Elect card

There are an exclusive few like it, but this one is mine!

But this one is mine!

But this one is mine!

If you have not heard of the EMC Elect Program, quite frankly “where have you been ?” 😉 Well if you honestly haven’t it was actually featured in the Register.  That gave us an audience of 2.5 million reading about the program.

The symbol on my card, by the way, is a representation of  the Celtic Tree of Life. The Tree of Life symbolizes to me the connectedness in this world of ours. My twitter handle is @DathBrun which is a combination of the Irish word for color and the common name in European countries for my surname (Browne) .  The motto inscribed on the card is “Eolas scriosann eagla” which literally in the Irish language means Knowledge dispels fear.

I did this with my card for two reasons.

  • The first was an opportunity to personalize my card, and say more about myself and my own personal branding.
  • The second was to humbly lead by example for other Elect members to feel inspired to personalize their cards, put their own stamp on it. And that’s important.

EMC Elect is a community driven program.The Elect members are there because their community of peers nominated them. They not only represent themselves and obtain exclusive opportunity, but they are actually representing their Community. The Elect are leaders and representatives of the wider community of peers of technologists who interact with EMC. Personalizing the cards also gives an opportunity for Elect members to share things about themselves, the places they are from, their culture. This emphasizes most importantly that we are a global community and come from lots of different places around the World.

This is important to note, we are a global community. And as EMC Elect grows it will grow further into our community interactions around the World.

From the EMC Support Community perspective and as a community manager for that, I see that first hand. in the EMC Support Community we not only have a global presence but we have a growing local language presence. We have Chinese and Japanese local language communities and Spanish and Portuguese are just taking off with a lot more to come in other languages very soon. Multi-Lingual Support is a key objective of the EMC eServices strategy and it stems from the interaction and demand from our local language community members. It is indeed the Community members making this happen. These people who ask questions, answer other people’s questions, share knowledge and experience. The best example  to me (and of course I have a bias as the Program Manager for it) is the EMC Ask the Expert Series.

Ask the Expert has been hosted initially in English but very quickly spread to Chinese and in doing so it lifted the lid on interaction. It showed across different geographies our community members wanted this program. Now Ask the Expert (ATE) will be hosted in every MLS community that is launched. That means ATE will happen in Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and more in the not too distant future. And even today we are working to cross translate ATE events, translating from English to Chinese and vice versa. Imagine the global impact of Knowledge shared in multilingual ATE’s being shared and translated for global community members. It’s amazing and excites me anyway.

And whats interesting too is that already EMC Elect members are taking advantage of ATE. Our first exclusively EMC Elect led ATE event will be happening just before EMC World at the end of April. It will be on Fibre Channel Routing, an awesome topic. I imagine there will be a lot of interest in that across the World. Oh yes and did I mention those EMC Elect experts will wrap the topic at EMC World on video.? That’s exciting.

But really all I want to say is that if you are an EMC Support Community member, then ATE and EMC Elect are your programs, driven by and for you. I enjoy being able to provide and support the infrastructure behind that as part of global team in eServices for EMC. And I never forget that it is made of real individuals from lots of different places with different languages and cultures. That’s what’s exciting and that is a huge part of the brand differentiation EMC has with the benefit of the EMC Support Community.

Finally something  to note is that currently we have 75 Elect members. in 2014 we will be looking for other nominees and there are plenty of deserving nominees in the Support Community around the world. Will you be one of them?

Project Management after the fact: Lessons I have learned

I have recently been addressing an issue of transition I have had with one of my  projects at EMC. I believe this issue affects a lot of people in the tech industry who find themselves entering Project Managment. When do you & your organization turn your project over to operations ?

Lets get some definition of a project for clarity.

A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken, to create a unique product or service”.

So it says on page 14 of my Project Management manual.

It goes on to say:

  • Temporary implies a definite beginning and end. “
  • “Unique implies different from previous work”

So I undertook formal Project Management Certification training in late October of 2012, as we had started to execute on EMC Elect and well after we had established EMC Ask the Expert as a going concern.

And was my head reeling after learning the PMI process in its correct form?

It was.

Did I feel like a bad Project Manager?

Yes.

Did I feel incompetent?

No.  I realized that while I had not followed the  PMI Institutes process to the letter I had still effectively managed the Project to a success.  Particularly as EMC Ask the Expert had ceased to be a project and was now an operational process. I had used common sense, EMC best practices and processes, and had manged the project successfully. But not without pitfalls.

You see I believe I hit the problem most Program Managers have in corporations around the world. Intending to turn your project over to operations but not fully planning it? As in, when exactly that happens or how you manage it? How do you manage turning a project into an operation or part of operations? Especially when you are in an environment where execution is taking place and rather rapidly and continuously across your organization at a fast and sometimes frenetic pace?

Lets look again at what the my manual says about “Projects Vs Operations”

Projects

  • Unique and Temporary
  • Have their own charter, goal and team
  • Driver of Change
  • Delivers a unique product or service
  • Heterogeneous team mix
  • Focus on effectiveness

Operations

  • Repetitive / Ongoing
  • Semi-permanent charter, goal and team
  • Manage “status quo”
  • Delivers Repeat product or service
  • Homogeneous team mix
  • Focus on efficiency”

It’s clear with time and a clear head plus training to see the distinct differences. But really it all can be avoided with planning (and training). Planning is the most important of all Project Management processes. But it seems to be something that suffers the most. Most of us if not all of us know planning is important. But in an execution mind set it can falter. You are working rapidly to bring something to life that will address a unique need. You want it to a be a long living operational piece. But did you set that out as part of your planning?

Planning is obviously where I fell down. Now I am not saying I had no planning. Of course I did. But I never documented in the plan about moving my project to operations. .  It was an assumption without including that in a formal plan in nothing other than a line to say that it would be integrated into eServices Support Community operations.

if 90% of a project Managers time is in communication, it is important to have a complete plan to communicate.

Having realized this following my training ( PMI Institute recognized training, provided by Velopi Ltd through EMC’s education program) I had to address this.

EMC Ask the Expert was an operational process. Furthermore there was another project underway for EMC Ask the Expert , which was a phase II execution. (integrating EMC Ask the Expert into newly launched products and services)  Once I saw the disconnect I had a hard task before me. The project team, was now the managing team for Ask the Expert Operations and Ask the Expert Phase II project and Part of the EMC Elect Project Team.

This caused contention for resources. Not a thing you need to invent for yourself. Hind sight is 20/20 vision. And once you identify a fault you have to address it.

We are in the process of doing so now.

While keeping Ask the Expert operations running, managing the phase II Ask the Expert Project, and Managing the EMC Elect Project,  both Stephanie McBride and I have documented the operational piece of Ask the expert. We also utilized a work break down structure and work packages to communicate with relevant business units,  on how they will integrate Ask the expert Operations into their business operations. We are communicating this out now and integrating it into operations.

This is in all honesty is work we could have done earlier in the project. It actually is now an additional mini project. It is worth the effort to do this however and if you are in this predicament I urge you to look at your project. Is it in fact an operations module now?  What planning have you done to integrate this operations piece to your current operations process? How do you avoid becoming the operations manager? Or have you planned to do that?

These are vital questions to ask, to plan for and to communicate with your stakeholders. It is worth it and in the end you will be a better Project Manager for it.  Your business unit will be more streamlined and robust for it .

I know I am the better for the experience. I also know there is so much more to learn and that no one and can rest on their laurels.

I would hope this helps others in their forays in Project Management. Do let me know your thoughts and feel free to share your stories around the subject. Does your organization suffer with transitioning from Project to Operations?

How do you mitigate and manage the transition?

Double whammy: How EMC Elect do it their own way and a new improved ECN!

Okay, so those of you who know me know I am running the EMC Ask the Expert program. Essentially its a series of events on specific technical topics. During EMC Ask the Expert events, subject matter experts engage in discussions with community members about specific EMC product and solution topics in a Forum type discussion in most cases. Although we do these events also as webinars, live chats for launches and “tweet chats “which are rather popular. It’s proven to be a popular and effective program in engaging customers with specific hot topics.

The Experts that engage are top-notch great people, who are EMC’ers , customers and partners. That’s what makes it a brand differentiation for EMC in my view. It’s not just EMC support people controlling the narrative. We recognize and appreciate our customers and partner perspectives. By pairing them, we have a powerful and credible story and event in EMC Ask the Expert endeavors. This is is an amazing program.

But  late last week it got so much better 🙂  As the VMAX Cloud edition launch Ask the Expert event was underway, Matthew Yeager, an SME on the subject (and an EMC Elect member and a Founder) does something different to what has been done before, but not out of character in the way he does things. In reply to a question he composed and posted this amazing video.

It was awesome, it was very well done and it just kicked the door open and set the bar for Ask the Expert events in the future.

For the first time we have video content in addition to discussions and documents that answers questions and solves problems that was directed to the EMC Support Community. A clear benefit from the EMC Elect Program which hopefully inspires other experts to follow suit.

And to back that awesomeness up EMC did an upgrade over the weekend to the EMC Community Network. Thus making it even more amazing fun and collaborative place to be.  Jump in and have a look and see what makes it a vibrant and awesome place to interact socially for your EMC topics and requirements.

Cisco Live London my love for tech networking rekindled

So Matt Brender in his awesomeness has shared some nerd humour and some of what we are up to at Cisco Live this year on his Blog . For my part I have been working on thinking like an EMC Elect member and looking as to what I would want out of a show like this from an exclusive Elect perspective.

So looking at that Matt and I both realised that one of the benefits should be suggested events/ sessions at the conference, tailored to the Elect members interests. So thinking in those terms I thought about my own technical interests. I once was a technical support person in routers and switches and well it’s Cisco Live and I am very interested in IPv6, so I am getting to those sessions that are about that. And suddenly the old techie inside me is rekindled.

Now for a real EMC Elect member how awesome would it be to hit a conference, get exclusive content, meet up with fellow Elect members and have a suggested tailored agenda to go from right off the bat. That is damn nice methinks.

I will have other thoughts and perspectives to share later on. I just wanted to get these thoughts out. I seriously need to pimp out my blog too, as Matt is showing me up 🙂

I have to run to a session, more later.