Blog It Forward – Stephen Millard
In case you don’t know about the BIF Challenge it’s a chain of blog posts introducing you to members of the SAP Community Network in a more fun and informative way than a typical bio. Whether or not my post meets those expectations is for you to decide.
Who am I?
I guess I should begin with a little bit about my background. I live in the beautiful historic city of York in the UK and have been a resident since I attended the University of York (studying Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science). Since leaving university (and even before with some of my summer jobs) I have been working in IT in a wide variety of roles. I’ve developed solutions on mainframes, midrange, client server and even the odd mobile platform in my spare time. I have coded and scripted in over 30 languages (I stopped counting years ago) and have worked with many wonderful and not so wonderful systems. I’ve managed project teams and support teams, hardware and software estates and even run an IT department for several years. Exactly a year ago today I was introduced/inducted/assimilated into the world of SAP when I joined my current employer as a VSN consultant – another tangential shift in my career.
Outside of work I still spend a lot of time connected to technology. I read and listen to a lot of technology related news and even write blog posts from time to time (including on SCN). As well as spending time with my family I somehow manage to fit in running a martial arts club, administer several web sites and occasionally sneak in a few hours to dabble in photography.
We all have choices in life, and the only one who makes them is you. I think therefore I have affected my career choice in almost it’s entirety. However there is someone who actually made a significant difference to the way I make all of my decisions. When I was 16-18 I studied at Mathematics and Further Mathematics at my local college. One of my tutors for the courses was Fred. Fred was (and I would bet still is) awesome. He really brought out in me my ability to think differently. I was already adept at seeing patterns and ways to apply mathematics, but Fred helped me to see the world differently through thinking mathematically and creatively at the same time.
I owe Fred a huge debt and I doubt he’ll ever know how much he changed my life.
What is the most fun project you’ve participated in?
I usually wouldn’t dare admit to this sort of thing, but I guess you can all keep a secret right? Quite simply it was being the lead on a number of projects where my team rebuilt several applications from scratch (in a language called CTD). I enjoyed it as I did a large part of the requirements gathering, most of the design, a huge amount of the coding, the user training and a good portion of the support. The investment and ownership I had in the project was just so fulfilling nothing else even comes close though I would say I have had numerous more successful projects in terms of delivery of features, cost savings, time savings, etc.
If you weren’t in your current role what would you be doing?
I can’t imagine not working in some sort of IT role. My wife thinks I take sustenance from the glow of a screen so I guess I’d be doing something similar, but it really could be anything IT related.
If working in IT weren’t an option I think I’d probably be in some sort of troubleshooting role? I like the challenges in creating new solutions to seemingly impossible problems … though if I’m honest I bet 90% of them would incorporate some sort of technological aspect.
I guess I have some interesting points to share on this one but I’ve added in a few extra ones that are maybe not so true. Can you spot which ones are true and which are not?
- Islander?: I grew up on an island shaped like a banana.
- Sees the World Differently?: I once took part in a scientific experiment about visual perception where from a sizeable sample of subjects I was the only subject to be categorised to a particular quadrant.
- Romantic?: I proposed to my wife in probably the world’s largest grave yard.
- Tea Total?: I don’t drink alcohol but I do drink lots of tea.
- Potty?: I have a signed first edition of every Harry Potter book.
- Chiroptophobic?: I suffer from an irrational fear of bats.
- Coach?: I hold a qualification in executive (business) coaching.
- Scarred?: I have two scars. One from playing football and one from a gun fight.
- Surprising?: I once surprised a ‘colleague’ whilst visiting another city when, as he loudly verbally berated me to his colleagues for not answering my phone, I walked up behind him and whispered “that’s because I’m behind you”.
- Charitable?: Whilst at university I won a charitable physics challenge and had dinner with Professor Stephen Hawking.
- Stephen Burr – a colleague who has spent the last year guiding me through the perils of HCM and Nakisa applications and who I think many of you would benefit from getting to know.
- Matthew Stapleton – an SAP employee who is often the first formal responder on any SOVN/STVN issues on OSS and someone I figured I’d like to know a bit more about.
- What is your greatest professional achievement and why?
- What’s the most interesting interview question you’ve asked or been asked and what was the answer?
So here’s to another year of SAP and meeting folk on SCN. Blog on … there’s nothing more to see here.