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Skills

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Skills
Supporting Communication

Every software development effort rides on a stream of communication. When your team includes good communicators, the project rides more smoothly towards success.

I have solid experience and skill in discussion, technical writing, design, and modelling, among other things. I speak, write, and read English (my first language) and Spanish (my second) fluently. I am currently learning German. I studied the language in high school, and I was recently told I sound European when I speak German, if possibly from Denmark or Holland(!).

My skills in communication include:

  • Consensus-driven Communication: I aim to to find or forge consensus within the team, without ignoring valid disagreements.
  • Abstract Thinking: I have strong skills in abstract thinking.
  • Adaptive Communication Skills:I use a variety of tools to make communication during a project more effective.

I graduated from university in 1991 with a B.A. in Philosophy, with Honors. With my background in Philosophy, I engage well in discussions: helping to clarify points, expose underlying themes, identify central concepts, and so on. I enjoy explaining abstract concepts, especially in writing.

Much of my work involves abstract thinking. I have led teams in object-oriented analysis and design, analysis work for business processes, and relational database design (logical and physical). I also have some experience developing basic methodologies for software development.

I like to adapt my choice of tools to the problem at hand. I communicate using a range of methods and means. I can write analyses, specifications, and design documentation, and other technical documents. I lead group discussions, modelling sessions, and technical presentations with ease. I am pragmatic in communication: I like to improve my communication skills through practical experience.

I support and encourage non-traditional mechanisms--such as instant messaging and online bulletin boards--where it's clear they help. We should encourage informal, spur-of-the moment dialogue between the people we work with, using the best, most convenient tools for the task. Some of our best ideas arise at those moments when we have the least amount of time to prepare them.

Also, while I like different sorts of models and diagrams--such as UML, ERD, DFD--I also think there's a place for longer narrative documents in some cases. Having a single document that describes the goals of the system in narrative form engages the mind in a way that diagrams do not. We are used to following the narrative logic of stories, essays, news journalism. By engaging the mental skills tuned to narrative logic, we offer a coherence, sweep and coverage that individual pictures and pieces can't reach.