Monday, March 16, 2015 created for Freelance Consulting presence

Work is great, and I thank God for my job and its present stability.  What tomorrow brings, I do not know, but in the here and now I want to make sure I am making the most of my talents and keeping myself diverse.  This blog has gone silent for years as I changed jobs and worked at an insane pace, learning and teaching.  

I have spent time a lot of time working with some of the smartest people I have ever met.  I have been awed, demeaned, humbled, and eventually praised and admired.  The experience of the past years has been so fulfilling.  It definitely has raised my mental standards and I now expect a lot from Software Engineers.  It comes as a continued shock when I see how far behind in terms of best practices most companies are.  I have learned many best practices from my colleagues, created several on my own, and am still fully cognizant that I have barely scratched the surface on process improvement and leading efficiency.  I have brought automation, improved workflows, transparency, and better communication to many different areas of the business; it is very satisfying to see how much of an immediate improvement I can make in the company and often provide a better quality of work for the team members themselves.

Current circumstances thrust me into learning JIRA.  I had a wish list of ideas for the "professionals" we were going to hire to setup our JIRA instance.  I had workflows drawn out in VISIO and comments on how the approval flow should gate the releases before our CAB meetings reviewed them.  I, along with others on a team dedicated to new tool analysis, presented the proposed stack of tools to the COO and upper management.  We got the buy in to change to the more cutting edge stack, but when push came to shove and multiple consulting agencies quoted over $50k for basic setup, the support seemed to fizzle out.  The push for technology did not wane however, and I was the lucky winner (based on drive and ability) to self-learn JIRA administration and roll-out the tool-set myself.

It was touch and go for a while as I had to juggle my regular workload of Configuration & Release Management, but in the end we did manage to successfully migrate to the new tools and are continuously working to improve it, adding new teams to manage their own processes and workflows in JIRA.  As is usually the case from any saga, I am very thankful in hindsight for the new set of skills I learned.  My immersion in JIRA became a joke and some "wise" software developers began calling me "Joe Jira".  The name was catchy enough and the idea of taking these new skills out into the world for some freelance work got me thinking...

LONG STORY to basically tell anyone who stumbles here that I have created a new site called in order to diversify myself with some freelance consulting off-hours.  Head over there for more info and let your friends know.  If anyone needs some shell scripting (bash or powershell), some Jenkins/Hudson CI setups, or some JIRA installation and workflow setup, send them my way.

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