Pragmatism in the real world

In honour of Ada Lovelace

As today is Ada Lovelace Day, I get to write about a women who has inspired me and isn’t my wife!

I first met Alison on the Electronic and Electrical Engineering course at University back in 1991. Of course, that dates me; Freddie Mercury was still alive and died towards the end of ’91. I remember her from our Uni days as conscientious and determined to do well, though I did not know her very well.

After Uni, I joined a small telecommunications company writing C++ programs for Windows. Alison joined the company a year later in 1996 We needed a hardware engineer and I knew Alison was looking to get into communications engineering as she was designing sonar systems.She taught me about how important it is to understand the details in a project are along with the importance of good customer relationships.

I remember one project quite clearly which was to integrate GPS with a Psion Series 3 PDA. She found this project very tough, especially the C programming side, but worked very hard at it, overcoming the difficulties in both the (lack of) project spec and understanding programming a new language. She concentrated on the details and delivered what was asked of her. The team rapport we built up is something that I’ve been trying to replicate ever since.

Unfortunately (for me) after a year or so, Alison moved on to bigger and brighter things. She’s gone from strength to strength and is now in a senior position within a major mobile phone company.