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Building Your Career Through Vivit, Re-Visited

Posted By Christopher J. Scharer, Education Chair, Board of Directors, Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Being a leader means not always knowing the outcome but being able to make an informed decision that has a positive outcome. It means learning from every lesson and using that combined with your best judgment to help make future decisions and actions to progress in your career. After pondering some decisions that I have made recently and re-reading the article that Jim Murphy posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, titled "Building Your Career Through Vivit” (specifically item 1. Be willing to give away what you have learned), it made me start to think about why some people (although not as technologically savvy initially) could be more successful than their colleagues due to their experiences, decisions and ultimately their networking (especially in a volunteer organization).

In the development world (which also encompasses automated script development), we are often asked to give an estimate of how much time it will take to develop an Action, Component, etc… If you are familiar with the tools, language and/or objects etc… that you are using making this estimate can be difficult still. Imagine if you know that you can do something, but you are not familiar with the application/product or tools that you know will allow you to do it. How would you give an estimate of the amount of work required to complete the task? How comfortable would you be with the estimate after you gave it? Or let’s assume that you are familiar with the application, but it would require you to use a COM object or an API that you had never used before. Now how comfortable would you be with your estimate? Again, let’s assume that you are extremely comfortable with your knowledge of using .COM objects or API calls, but you had never used the one that you would need to use in this instance. How comfortable would you be in not only giving an estimate of the amount of work, but also in your confidence level of actually being able to succeed at the work in question?

Being in the IT industry for any period of time, it would be no surprise for a manger to ask you for an estimate of the amount of work it would take to complete a task regardless of whether you were performing application development, writing automated test scripts with Quick Test Pro, updating Quality Center 10.0 to ALM 11.0 or updating some custom reports using Service Manager 9.5 after updating from version 9.0. Having trouble determining how to move to the cloud? Can’t decide how to implement your mobile performance testing? What better way than to reach out to practitioners and end users in your local community to get their unbiased feedback and actual experience. One of the biggest advantages I’ve found to being an "active” AND "involved” member of Vivit (specifically) is that I have been able to network with some of the "Best and Brightest” people in the industry. Not just the "Best and Brightest” employees that help develop and support the applications that I’m using (which includes third party vendors and their tools), but these members are also End Users that have to develop solutions to issues that they experience within their organizations that may not have been identified by the company that provides the product or tools that they are using.

This one advantage has shown me that regardless of what I do know, there are always Vivit members that are willing to share their knowledge to help you succeed with overcoming your obstacles and in your career. In no way would I say that this is any more or less rewarding than "giving away what you have learned”, but both will make anyone in life more successful.

Ever heard of the saying, "is the glass half full or half empty?" It’s said that if you respond that it is half full, you are being optimistic, and if you respond that it is half empty, you are being pessimistic. If you want to have an optimistic response every time, then say that it is 100% full because half of it is filled with water and half of it is filled with air. ;)

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Managing Your Privacy with Vivit Worldwide

Posted By Jason Kennedy, Vivit Board of Directors, Wednesday, May 30, 2012

As we adjust to our new Vivit Worldwide virtual community, we experience some growing pains. This is natural, and as IT professionals, we all expect these things. The good news is that the technology itself is working significantly better than we were experiencing on the old site. Our challenges seem to come in two distinct areas:

1. Functional requirements for Chapter Leaders

2. Adapting to a more open & "community” style site

To address the first area, we will look to engage the Chapter Leaders in some functional requirements gathering to continue to refine process of the site; like any technology or tool, there’s always more honing to be done.

With respect to the second area, the way we feel best to address the challenge is awareness. is effectively a social media site now; it used to be a fairly static information repository. The new site gives us the best of both worlds, but that comes with a certain amount of individual responsibility for your privacy.

So how should you manage your privacy on the new Vivit Worldwide online community?

The single most important thing to know is how to manage your privacy settings for your Vivit profile. Whenever you are logged into the Vivit site, you should find (now on the right hand panel) the "My Profile” menu.

You’ll want to "Manage Profile” which will then give you the option to "Edit Bio”, including choosing your privacy settings.

As you enter each field, you will have the option to make a piece of information either publicly visible or not. The default value is for it to be publicly visible so it’s important to update your profile, and review these settings. Look for the icon to the left of the field that looks like this:

Click that icon, and you get a choice of public or private status for that information. Some fields are mandatory to ensure that you are an actual & active member, and not a bot, etc. Such an example is your email address. Vivit administration requires we have you enter this, but then set it to private so the icon to the left looks like this:

Now general members can view your public profile, but can’t see your email address.

If you have questions about the Vivit Website & privacy, I encourage you to post a message on the Vivit Services discussion group at:

Tags:  privacy 

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End User APM Experience Blog

Posted By Larry Dragich, Director EAS, Auto Club Group / AAA Michigan., Wednesday, May 30, 2012
APM and MoM–

Symbiotic Solution Sets

Maximum productivity can be achieved more efficiently through event correlation, system automation and predictive analysis. Making that a reality however, requires consideration on how to manage the integration touch points from multiple toolsets and openness to the intrinsic value that this integration can provide.

A focus on integration techniques, and not necessarily the monitoring technologies themselves, may be a better use of time to achieve a state of harmony within the event to incident flow. When rolling out an Application Performance Management (APM) solution, selection of your Manager of Managers (MoM) and how it will support the overall solution is critical.

The assumption underpinning MoM is that the time to market and technical accuracy can be achieved more readily by allowing the Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) to select their own tools sets and not worry so much about controlling every monitoring tool on the periphery. This encourages timely configuration and ownership of the SME’s individual systems making fine tuning the alerting levels into MoM much easier.

Provisioning tools are typically most effective with monitoring and low level alerting in their specific domain as long as you control the integration touch points into MoM. Three options for integration are:

  • Bridge Connector (sometimes called a vendor bridge)

  • Agent Protocols (agents communication from server to MoM)

  • SNMP Traps / Gets (network node communications)

As you begin, start by identifying the dual purpose toolsets (i.e. provisioning and monitoring), that are in the organization and incorporate them as part of the APM solution. Standardize and work on building a repeatable process to get the alerts into MoM. This will include a number of steps from configuring templates and policies, to managing event flows, to standardizing on trap definitions, (e.g. loading MIBS, defining OIDS, etc.).

Once you allow for diverse toolsets for low level monitoring and begin receiving actionable alerts into a central collection point, you can then focus on event correlation and get further along in providing metrics back to the business. This will help you gain credibility and confidence and will build trust with each business unit that you partner with.


The role of MoM is to collect, assimilate, and correlate all of the events in the Infrastructure, and automate the incident flow. Tying MoM in with Availability Management, Event Management, and Incident Management provides a critical junction where APM and ITIL come together to provide tangible value back to the business.

For a high-level view of a much broader technology space refer to slide show on which describes the "The Anatomy of APM - webcast” in more context.

If you have questions on the approach and what you should focus on first with APM, see "Prioritizing Gartner’s APM Model” in APM Digest, for insight on some best practices from the field.

You can contact me on LinkedIn.

Tags:  APM  Applications Performance Management  MoM 

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Farewell Note from the President

Posted By Michael Collins, President, Vivit Board of Directors, Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Updated: Friday, June 1, 2012



As I conclude the third year of my term on the Vivit Board of Directors, I have been reflecting recently on all the years of change and growth that Vivit has seen – more so, all of the years of change and growth that so many of my peers and I have seen as well. I have recently decided to step down from my current position as President of the Vivit Board of Directors, and it is so exciting to see the great amount of talent and interest in this year’s board elections. Every one of the individuals who were nominated, ran, and were elected is an outstanding individual. I don’t recall a time where we had so many people running for a spot on the board and with so much talent. It is truly a reflection of everyone who makes up the Vivit group.

I wrote in a recent blog about how I have gotten to know so many of you through attending HP events and about the evolution that has taken place from Software Forum to HP Discover. I have personally grown through my career in IT in telecommunications to leading a technical presales team. This is one of the most interesting trends to step back and look at when reflecting on Vivit. The professional growth of the members who started out as hands-on practitioners and succeeded within their careers is astonishing. Additionally, Vivit has continued to attract new members starting their career which has developed a great spectrum of diverse experience. The expansion of chapters worldwide has created even greater diversity in the group and access to members and knowledge which is unparalleled. Each year, the organization gets bigger, brighter and more active.

Vivit has transformed from the various groups that it once was based into the culmination of the single group which is the only source of information on the variety of HP software that is completely unbiased, uncensored, and field-tested. It continues to add various other independent groups who have joined the HP software product sets and expand its active user population. We are proud to have a huge, worldwide number of users making up Vivit, but the most important aspect of this fact is that in order to be a member, one is required to be active – contributing, discussing, and participating in the group.

Last year, we launched a great new Vivit website community which is vibrant, well organized and easy to use. Most recently, we announced that all members now have access to all the great tools and resources on the Vivit site free of charge. All members will now have access to content that was once restricted to supporting members including: all product information, general reference material, and webinar recordings; knowledge-based user articles; the Career Center (post jobs and search for jobs and candidates); HP Discover and Software Education discounts. The changes, updates, and growth of Vivit are reflective of a healthy group and an organization which fills a great need for the members all over the world.

I am excited about the HP Discover show in Las Vegas; it will be great to reconnect with so many friends and colleagues. I look forward to my last Board of Directors meeting and our annual Chapter Leader meeting, where we have the opportunity to discuss what is working well with our volunteer leaders and thank them for their hard work throughout the year. I also look forward to my continued involvement with Vivit as a Chapter Leader, practitioner, blogger, and user of the community, education and advocacy that Vivit represents. Thanks, and I hope to see you all soon.

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2012 Award Winners - Americas Region

Posted By Susan Russel, Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Leader of the Year Award Winner

Mark Herbert was nominated by members of the Vivit Arizona Chapter who value his vital leadership role in their local community. Mark has led the Arizona Chapter for three years; before this, he led the Pittsburgh Chapter which he founded in 2006 as a Mercury user group. Mark organizes quarterly events with special emphasis on customer presentations focusing on both applications and operations technologies. In addition, Mark engages members in the event process by operating a forum on the Vivit Arizona web site so they can request topics of interest for upcoming events.

Nationally, Mark is bringing his expertise to the HP Discover conference as a roundtable leader.

Mark is an HP Accredited Systems Engineer (ASE) with HP Quality Center and HP QuickTest Professional. He has been working in software Quality Assurance and using HP testing tools since 1999. Mark is also an HP Certified Instructor in these tool sets.

Champion of the Year Award Winner

Paul Peissner has championed both the advancement of IT professionals (helping them take advantage of the quickly changing IT industry) and gathered a variety of industry experts and leaders to work with the Vivit global community. He has established and grown member-participation and recruited leaders for local Chapters and global Special Interest Groups. He has helped Vivit establish strategic partnerships and recruit community sponsors. Paul has regular conversations with Vivit team members on how to improve member services, become more visible to IT professionals, and bring more members to the Vivit community 

His strategy to combine the efforts of HP Software Applications and Operations teams to help optimize IT organizations and advance the careers of Vivit’s IT professionals has resulted in the launch of the Vivit DevOps Special Interest Group, which he leads. Paul is also a Northern California Leader for the Silicon Valley and San Jose Chapter, connecting users and thought leaders in the region. Additionally, he has served as an advisor to the Vivit Board of Directors and offers his insights and expertise to the wider community, speaking at local Chapter meetings in the US and Europe and co-presenting on live web events.

As a Business Development specialist for many technology companies, Paul has become a strong advocate for partner-based "eco-system innovation”, encouraging IT’s adoption of Cloud and the creation of self-service education and training programs to assist in industry adoption and global standardization efforts. He understands the limits of an R&D platform team, the growing needs of their customers, and the wealth of resources the right partnerships can provide to both.

Paul has been a part of

- numerous partner-based Enterprise solution launches

- many partnerships which resulted in acquisitions

- the co-authoring of an IT Ops Automation patent (submitted in 2010)

- the recent Enterprise Cloud Development launch with CollabNet

- many industry and local networks and communities…including Vivit.

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2012 Board of Directors Election Results

Posted By Karen Semonson, Nominations Chair, Vivit Board of Directors, Wednesday, May 30, 2012

For the last several years, the officers, board of directors, and dedicated staff have been working together to grow the international mix of Vivit membership. Success has occurred by building a bridge over to Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), as well as South America and Australia. In our physical and virtual communities, we have Chapter and SIG leaders evenly mixed from Europe and the United States.


In this election, members have proudly spoken about whose voices they want to hear in the strategic board conversations. I am proud to announce for the first time in Vivit Worldwide history, that three board members out of the nine are from outside the United States.

Officially, the election closed on Monday, May 14th at 5:00 pm with a quorum of 10%. The winners of the election are as follows:

Laura Walker
Director of Business Development
Fargo, North Dakota, USA

Richard Bishop
Performance Consultant
Intechnica LLP
Manchester, United Kingdom

Christopher J. Scharer
Sr. SQA Test Automation Lead Consultant/Director
TEK Systems (Nationwide Insurance)
West Des Moines, Iowa USA

Martijn Stuiver
COO - Manager Operations and Corporate HR
Loosdrecht, The Netherlands


Click here to view the entire Board of Directors and international mix.


As we celebrate, we also will be saying "I’ll be seeing you” to board members that built Vivit.

James C. (Chris) Kerr
Technical Architect for Event Management Tools
Seattle, WA USA

Chris Kerr is a talented architect that has served on the board for four terms (translates to 12 years). Chris has contributed his vast knowledge of HP Software and his reasonable, rational manner to strategic board decisions. A frequent Conference Track Chair and Customer of Excellence Award Judge, Chris is a seasoned software veteran, who will continue to add expertise and depth to the community.

Michael Collins
Director, Advisors
Overland Park, Kansas USA

Michael Collins, the current Vivit President, travels the world solving customers’ software problems. Always quick with a story or a joke, Michael is one of the most likable people and most highly skilled engineers. Michael and Jason Kennedy from Vancouver, Canada have been "the pied pipers of the bridge”, connecting Vivit leadership - EMEA and North America – into a collaborative virtual community. The board is fortunate to have Michael as the President Emeritus, acting as an advisor for the next year.

Lastly, I want to mention the courageous individuals that were nominated by their peers, and saw the nomination and election through as an opportunity - Eric Gee, Steven Williams, and Paul Peissner. Each of them should be proud for being recognized by their peers, the board and the community for their expertise and commitment.

Many of the Vivit volunteers have played multiple roles over the course of time in a flowing lifecycle, from birth to adolescence, to adulthood, to retirement. Each of our contributions in each phase has merit and is desperately needed by the organization. I encourage everyone to continue to find your place in our community. All of us are talented and unique individuals that are highly skilled in our day jobs. We are willing to volunteer and use our limited discretionary time to benefit each other through Vivit. As a professional, Vivit offers us the opportunity to be challenged, gain mastery, have purpose, leave a legacy, and ultimately to make the world a little bit better. Congrats. I’ll be seeing you, and thank you.

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New Chapter & Leadership - June 2012

Posted By Lyndsey Zajac, Friday, May 25, 2012
Get Connected

Join the group by clicking on the Chapter name under the new leader and "Join Group”. Connect to the leader by clicking on his name. Member sign-in required.

Brian Pohl
Lead Architect
San Antonio Chapter Leader

Brian Pohl is the leader of the Vivit San Antonio Chapter. Brian is the Lead Technical Architect responsible for the Testing Domain at USAA. Brian has held various technical and management positions in QA and has utilized HP Quality and Operations products since 1996. Brian enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with family.

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Vivit Advanced Training -- What Registrants Are Saying

Posted By Chris Scharer, Education Chair, Board of Directors, Friday, May 25, 2012

I've talked with some of the registrants for the
Vivit Advanced Training and have compiled their input on what they are looking to get out of our classes. Following are some of the courses with what registrants have to say. You can click on their name. For a full list of Vivit Advanced Training courses and registration instructions, click here. Training will take place on June 4, 2012, in Las Vegas. It's not too late to register.

Deep Dive into HP ALM 11 (Assure)

>> Steven Hulse, Quality Assurance Systems Support Specialist with Cabela's

HP Service Manager Performance Tuning Workshop (StrataCom)

>> Laura Gardner, Developer/Administrator (HP ServiceCenter) with BD

>> Darla Burk, PR SWE


Deep Dive into HP ALM 11 (Assure)

Steven Hulse, Quality Assurance Systems Support Specialist with Cabela's says…

I’m the admin for our instance of ALM. I performed the upgrade from v10 to v11 and will be performing the installation of Performance Center soon. I also administer our Serena Business Mashups application and enterprise Architect.

I’ve been a tester for about 7 years now (ISTQB certified in 2007) but since ALM came on board I haven’t really tested much other than my own stuff as ALM keeps me very busy! When we upgraded to ALM we saw this as an opportunity to change and fine tune some of our processes and have been working on utilizing the cross project customizations and template features of ALM. In the past we would set up a domain and project(s) for each project that was being worked on, now we are aligning them based on the various lines of business Cabela’s has. This way we can be more efficient with test cases and requirements.

I’m also in the process of getting things ready to perform the installation of Performance Center. It looks to be like a fun challenge and a great learning experience.

I’m hoping to further my knowledge on ALM and Performance Center with not only the Deep Dive class but also obtain my certification in ALM. I’m looking forward to this year’s event and meeting other ALM, QTP and Performance Center users and "talking shop” and possibly helping them with any issues they may have. I’m in the process of teaching myself VBScripting so I can start doing more with the OTA development.

I try to be as active in the HP community as I can by participating in the Vivit, HP and Linked in forums and groups. I know there are others out there that have questions and need help and I try my best to help them as much as I can. Work keeps me busy with supporting a little over 300 users and several offshore teams so I’ve gone from an eight hour workday to almost a 24x7 support role for ALM. I don’t mind it as I know these folks need to be productive so Cabela’s can deliver legendary service and products!

HP Service Manager Performance Tuning Workshop (StrataCom)

Laura Gardner, Developer/Administrator (HP ServiceCenter) with BD says…

I am the System Administrator as well as the developer for our HP ServiceCenter 6.2 implementation. We currently use the Interaction, Incident and Change Modules as well as the Configuration Management module. Our system is highly customized on the front end, but we have made no changes to the RAD. We are pushed out to an oracle database. We plan to upgrade to ServiceManager in February 2013. I have been the Admin/Developer for over 10 years, and I still learn something new almost every day.

Darla Burk, PR SWE says…

I have worked for my current company for 16 ½ years, I have been working within the team responsible for Service Manager for 12 years. We are currently running Service Manager 9.21. We plan on upgrading to 9.3 by the end of Q3 this year. Within Service Manager we utilize all modules with the exception of Request Management which we are in the progress of implementing this year as well. We have a large volume of transactions that come in from both the client as well as web services. When we migrated to SM 9.21 at the beginning of this year we went from the majority of our users utilizing the desktop client to everyone utilizing the web client. We continue to hear complaints about the slowness of the application, hopefully I will gain some helpful tips from attending the class that we can implement to improve the overall customer experience with Service Manager.

Tags:  ALM  BSM  Executive Scorecard  HP Service Manager  Mobile  Performance Management  Training  uCMDB 

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Vivit Transformation

Posted By Michael Collins, Vivit President, Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I am pleased to announce that we have opened up all the great content and tools on the Vivit site to all members for FREE. This is one of the many perks of the new Vivit worldwide transformation.

All active members now have access to content that was once restricted to supporting members:

Plus, members still have access to:

  • monthly eNewsletter

View the complete list of benefits for members.

Thank you for being a member. As a reminder, annual membership renewal is required to keep your account active, so be sure to renew your membership when you receive your renewal notice via email for uninterrupted benefits.

Looking for something we don’t offer? Contact us today.

And we hope you’ll forward this announcement to your colleagues so they can join Vivit and capitalize on the benefits of membership.

Tags:  Benefits  Membership 

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Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud

Posted By Michael Collins, Vivit President, Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Through more than the last 10 years, I have gotten to know so many of you through attending HP events and the evolution that has taken place from Software Forum to HP Discover. It has been great to evolve through my career as I have gone from working within IT and networking within telecommunications to now leading a technical presales team with xMatters, an HP ISV partner. In parallel, I have gone from practitioner and chapter leader with OVFI to board member and President of Vivit Worldwide. And I am more excited than ever for this year's HP Discover event!

What particularly interests me this year are the sessions on Cloud and hosted delivery of products and services. So many thrilling innovations are coming about due to the predominate development of cloud technologies and offerings. From IT to the business to client interaction, hosted solutions are offering a rich availability of features, availability, time to market, latest technology and so on. This demands that the cloud direction no longer be a buzzword but now a critical business technology and direction that can longer be ignored.

My eye is heavily on the direction that HP will be going this year with their offerings and messaging. Any software organization knows best the positioning, features and capabilities of its own product. They are the experts in their own technology and are best positioned to create a Software or Platform As A Service offering that is a repeatable and cost effective offering. It is easy to see how entire software service organizations are disrupting the landscape as we talk; and in order for a software company to transform into a software service, it requires agility, flexibility, and most of all innovation!

The reason for my own personal interest in this matter is the same reason I am involved in user groups and working with other practitioners. The ability to learn from the experience of others is key to one's own success. Representing xMatters at the conference and learning about how our own hosted cloud infrastructures can offer quick time to deployment and an environment that is always up to date is important to me. We have embarked on an initiative internally in which we create a seamless client experience in getting clients live quickly and efficiently. In today's complex environment, with security concerns, audits, integrations, data loading and process engineering, it is a challenge to deploy efficiently in either a traditional premise based implementation or a hosted infrastructure. Our goal is to have all parts of the xMatters organization, Sales, Consulting, Assistance, Operations, etc. working together in order to partner together with the client for this seamless and efficient deployment model. With the current environment changes, it is easy to foresee many of the traditional software offerings in the marketplace dying. With such a competitive landscape, it is critical for organizations to focus innovation on the cloud solutions.

Tags:  Cloud  HP Discover 

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