What's your role?
I am a Full Stack Engineer on the #DigitalAF team. I bring my background in user experience to help the team understand our user's problems to design meaningful solutions, and my experience in software development to help implement them. Currently I am responsible for working on designing and building rcafé and Vector Check; discussion and idea proposal tools for the Royal Canadian Air Force.
How did you get involved with #DigitalAF?
In the summer of 2019, I worked for theflightdeck.ca and worked with Chris, Jon, and Nika to build the first “big win” software for the RCAF. We put a lot of work in that summer to start understanding a lot of the challenged being faced in the RCAF and where we could help with software-based solutions. Our application Dispatch became a pivotal tool for the work of Aircrew and the Operations and Support Squadron. When Chris reached out to me to join the #DigitalAF team and continue to work on Dispatch and other solutions to RCAF problems, I jumped on the opportunity to work on such important projects with great people.
What is the contribution you have made that you are most proud of?
The contribution I am most proud of is rcafé. rcafé is a discussion platform to connect members of the Air Force from all ranks and communities. The problem being seen within the RCAF was certain members voices were not being heard, and there was no easy way for members of the RCAF to connect with others about similar interests or problems. rcafé strived to be a place for people to connect over and have purposeful conversations without being blocked by the formal rank structure. It also aimed to connect people who might have not otherwise been introduced due to the domain or location they worked in. Not only did the platform gain over 1000 users in 85 days, but we've seen real meaningful discussions happen on the platform that wouldn't have otherwise occurred. We also saw the desired effect of having members of all ranks participating. One of the highlights of growing rcafé was when a General (highest rank) commented on someone's post.
If you could redo something, what would it be?
If I could redo something, I would have our team spend more time on understanding the vision for rcafé and its goals. I think we would have had a better idea of which features to prioritize and the way to best structure components to add on to them later. We ended up with rcafé where we wanted it to be, but could have cleaner path to getting there without restructures if we understood the goals of the application more clearly. However, I think our team did a good job of adapting to changing goals and priorities within the app and make changes that pushed development in the right direction.
What is your vision for the future?
My vision for the future of #DigitalAF is to continue to solve problems within the RCAF that need solving, and for the organization to grow beyond its old, inefficient processes. Dispatch, rcafé and Vector Check have been catalysts for people to start connecting and collaborating to understand where there are issues, but have also helped people understand that technology can be a worthwhile solution. There are many more communities within the RCAF that could benefit from their own software applications. Once more communities begin to embrace technology, all sorts of applications can be connected and intertwined and make the RCAF as a whole more connected and efficient. I think there is also opportunity for Harled to use the experience gained from working closely with the RCAF to work with other organization that might be facing similar institutional challenges. There are many groups that could benefit from a dedicated team to help build solutions to fix problems or support culture changes.
- Ruby on Rails
- Scalable Vector Graphics
- Amazon Web Services
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