Michael Nichols is a US Army veteran, having served in both the US and overseas. Upon honorably leaving the military, he married his hometown sweetheart, earned a Bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline and entered the technology workforce.
Working at home full time, Michael admits his first professional private sector job likely set a high bar for all future career expectations. That first career path placed him within a team responsible for what ultimately became one of the most successful and recognized teleworking programs in the country. Before some knew what ‘teleworking’ was, he was helping many others experience the workplace flexibility that’s now considered an ‘alternative workspace’. That experience provided the opportunity for him to lead software development, as well as many other efforts and initiatives, and also allowed a work/life balance far unlike most careers.
Ultimately the division was consumed by a much larger, global company. He remained in an ever-evolving role for several years and continued to lead software development efforts for a major financial system. Even then he knew he had remained in that position far too long.
After taking a much needed reset away from the professional workforce, Michael began looking for career paths that could more directly impact his community. Enter, the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Michael now serves the great state of Tennessee, its Department of Transportation and the motoring public who travel Tennessee’s highways every day. He’s a certified Product Owner supporting TDOT’s Advanced Traffic Management Systems. Working with TDOT’s Traffic Operations Division and Traffic Management Centers across the state, he helps construct and guide the strategic technology roadmap to facilitate TDOT’s vision for highway Incident Management. The role is very rewarding and it benefits the community. His young twin children love to tell others; their daddy works for the WHOLE STATE!
Tennessee Dept. of Transportation, Product Owner
July 2011 - Present, Nashville, TN, US
Currently using Agile principles to help guide strategic planning and development for TDOT’s Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS). As a certified Product Owner, work closely with stakeholders to understand and validate business needs and to help establish and champion a vision to meet these needs through Agile decision making, Scrum software development, and business process improvements.
Computer Sciences Corporation, Technical Services Sr.
January 2007 - March 2010, Falls Church, VA, US
Used Agile principles and analysis on new development and enhancements of a Telecom Expense Management (TEM) financial system. Organized focus groups, gathered feature stories, maintained and refined product backlog, and conducted product release planning.