President, Development Tools Unit
The Ask Group*
June 1, 1994
The purpose of this note is to recommend to you Bill Fernandez, who distinguished himself in a very short period of time as the Human Interface specialist for the ASK Group Development Tools Business Unit. As general manager of the unit I'm delighted that we hired Bill. The whole team profited mightily from his contributions.
Before hiring Bill, the Tools unit had tried several times to improve its human interface capabilities. The organization added a human interface-oriented programmer and later a human interface Ph.D.. These previous attempts failed to bring about the changes that Bill succeeded in implementing in a short time.
Bill paid attention to and mastered the challenge of integrating himself with the engineering team. He was an excellent listener, appreciated the insights and contributions of his new colleagues, and was always willing to explain his ideas completely.
Bill's first step in joining the group was to conduct a comprehensive review of the products under development. He then presented his preliminary findings to the team. The presentation was well received for its insight, clarity and the enthusiasm of its delivery. Bill was able to raise the group's awareness of important issues and set the agenda for the human interface initiative in a non-threatening way. He also put to rest various misconceptions that the group had, mostly regarding the priority they assigned to certain features. Bill was able to identify practical and relevant approaches to each challenge, and he inspired the team with a practical vision of success.
Evidencing Bill's effectiveness is the heavy walk-in-traffic of people who voluntarily go to him for advice and ideas. When questioned about whether his answers comply with guidelines from Microsoft or other sources, he can usually cite where in a source his recommendations are supported. Bill thinks on his feet and is highly creative in solving complex problems.
Bill is highly competent across a wide range of human interface skills ranging from logical, visual and interaction design, to application-level architectural issues. Bill draws upon his background as a hardware engineer and programmer to help engineers solve technical implementation problems that are often the root of human interface problems. Bill takes the time to act as an effective mentor, helping the whole team develop the best human interface instincts.
I especially appreciate that Bill pays plenty of attention to the people issues associated with influencing the group, is flexible and pragmatic, and acts as a leader in his area of expertise.
As you can tell from the comments above, I would hire Bill again in a minute if I had the appropriate opening, and I recommend him without qualifications.
President, The ASK Group* Development Tools Unit
* The ASK Group is the parent company of Ingres Corp.