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Lift Off: The Rocket Software Rocketeer Profile Series - Get to Know Neil Fowler

Rocket Software

We talk a lot about our values of Empathy, Humanity, Trust, and Love here at Rocket Software. Those values help us keep our customers at the leading edge of their digital transformation and modernization journeys. However, that success is only possible because of the Rocketeers, who are “All In” on those core values, bringing their passion and industry-leading expertise to every challenge that comes their way. 

Next up is a new Rocketeer! Neil Fowler, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Hybrid Cloud, who brings to Rocket Software more than three decades of experience in software engineering—including application modernization, technical architecture, development, and more.

Learn what makes Neil tick, from his professional background to his interests outside of work.

Fast Facts 

Which Rocket Software value – Empathy, Humanity, Trust, and Love - resonates with you most?

Coffee or tea?
I like strong tea, but I also like making coffee at home.

What is something you are proud of? 
I’m proud of my family.

Do you have a bucket list destination?  I went to Finland recently, and that was on the list.
The next one is Japan.

What most excites you about Rocket Software?

Rocket Software’s culture of openness and transparency, as well as its core values, stood out to me immediately. Coupled with the company’s focus and emphasis on the customer and the power of application modernization, it was an exciting opportunity to join Rocket. When I joined the team, there was already so much existing alignment between us that it just felt like such a natural fit—as if we were coming home.

What motivates you in your role as SVP of Hybrid Cloud Engineering, and how do you balance strategic thinking with day-to-day operational demands?

Every day brings new challenges. When I come to work at our office in Newbury, UK, I don’t always know how that day is going to go—there’s nothing routine. It’s something that I quite enjoy as its important to look at things with a fresh perspective each day.

When it comes to strategic thinking on a day-to-day level, it’s about balancing what’s important. For me, that’s getting my team fully aligned and in a position to take care of challenges as they come. There’s also an element of balancing the work being done to make sure the team isn’t overloaded while prioritizing the most important tasks and keeping everyone moving in the right direction. Like anything in life, there may be setbacks, but that’s OK. We work through our priorities together for our customers.

What advice would you give to aspiring engineers and leaders in the field of hybrid cloud and IT modernization?

Make the most of the people around you. Challenge yourself each day to be better than you were the day before. Make sure you understand the impact and consequences of the work you do. This is an incredibly challenging and rewarding job where you can essentially be an industry leader in technology thanks to the broad and complex nature of the work we do. Make sure you challenge yourself and never lose focus on the customer.

Can you describe your approach to leading and managing a diverse engineering team, and fostering innovation?

It’s important to create an environment where people can be successful. They need to be empowered to make the right decisions and need to get beyond knowing what they are doing to understand why, and how, it helps. I also try to encourage two-way communication with my team. If they understand what is required, we can build the right environment and get everyone in lockstep with each other. And to have a culture of trust within the teams is significant. We always work as a global team and align with each other on strategy.

How do you handle setbacks or failures in engineering projects?

Anything complex is going to be challenging, but there’s no such thing as a failure if you learn from it. You want to try to plan for any unforeseen circumstance, but if you have the right approach, you avoid a blame culture. It’s important to support everyone on your teams, and they’ll make decisions with good intent. But again, the key is to always make sure you learn from your mistakes, understand what we can do better next time, and make sure we continue to focus on what we need to do for our customers.