Phnom Penh Innovation Lab team giving its first steps!

posted on: September 30, 2008

After months of work in the region, our technology team in Cambodia has started their daily work! We had our first standup meetings last week!

As part of InSTEDD’s strategy of ‘sustainable innovation’ we are creating a full engineering team that over time owns and reinvents technologies used in the region. All technologies go obsolete – so for true sustainability you need to assemble a team of people that will invent the ‘next thing’ – and give it the skills, capital and opportunities to do so.

It’s one of those rare, beautiful moments in the professional life of anyone: seeing a team’s first day, the getting to know each other, starting to create a work culture, picking a set of small challenges and taking them on. Some moments stick – first standup, seeing the first code checkin notification, hearing the first idea that is "so obvious and locally appropriate yet no one in the global team had thought about it".

It starts with the people, so here they are:

Day one. Each t-shirt has a long story behind it too. Chris di Bona gave me the google t-shirt not long ago. Channe is wearing a Microsoft Developer Division all-hands tshirt 'Your Software, our Passion'. Saravann is wearing a Clarius 'automate your work' t-shirt from my Software Factory days, and Tola has an Oredev/Expertzone t-shirt from a conference I spoke at once in Europe.

From left to right we have Sopheap, Channe, (myself behind), Sodany, Laura, Saravann (below) Miguel and Tola.

Mann, Channe and Sopheap. Ot-Painha-haa!

Here are Mann, Channe and Sopheap

Channe Suy

I am interested working with object oriented technology such as Java and C# . Besides work, I like traveling to the mountain area or to the beach. As I start working with InSTEDD, I would like to learn more about good patterns and practices, improve communications with users, and project management.


I’m Sopheap, working as software developer. I am a third-year-Student at Royal university of Phnom Penh (Computer Science). I am interested in .Net and Java, and I spend my day and time on both technologies. I always do the research in the library or reading e-books and sometimes take a course related to the topic. I spent some time learning the Google technologies too. As a member of the InSTEDD Team I want to improve my ability with .Net (C#), and Java languages. Outside of work I like to spend time reading and researching, and sometimes I spend time with friends at the coffee or at the countryside with the fresh and green views.

Mann (Lim Chanmann)

My name is Lim Chanmann, but just call me Mann. I have been working on web-based application development with ASP and ASP.NET with C#. And now here at InSTEDD I am interesting in OOP, OOD, software design patterns and best practices, and project management as well as the latest technologies. I spend my free time swimming, and chatting with friends or sometimes with a stranger so I can learn something new.

The QA team (and Daniel behind)

The QA team and Dany in action – behind is Daniel from, who slept over at the Lab around Barcamp Phnom Penh.(more about that soon).

Miguel Collantes (QA Manager)

I have 10 years experience in Software Quality Assurance (SQA) during which I developed management tasks and management of offshore teams. I’m working as QA Manager for InSTEDD. My challenge is to accomplish the expected goals while building and working together with foreign teams from very different cultures.

Laura Fricke Weinberg

I have 5 years experience in Software Quality Assurance (SQA) during which I developed testing tasks such as data set generation, test cases and test plans creation and QA team leadership. I am currently working with InSTEDD as QA Engineer and have great expectations in improving my scope of knowledge in QA for other InSTEDD software and technologies, as well as teaching and learning every day in our Cambodian Innovation Lab.

Saravann Paol

Hi! I am Saravann- I worked as a Computer Operator for Digital Divide Data Organization, and I got started with InSTEDD on Friday 29th August 2008, It is the first job for me that I have opportunity to work with a large team. I’m the third year student at International Institute of Cambodia (Computer Science). I am interested in my position because it can help me to learn new technologies and know more about the diseases and disasters happening in the world. These are the big problems that all the people in the world have to know and learn. I was really happy on my first day, studying with Miguel and Laura who are very good teachers, friendly and good communicators.
I hope that when I finish my studies I will have new knowledge and skills to improve my personal needs and my work.

Ung Tola

My name is Ung Tola. I worked at Digital Divide Data Organization for over two years. Now I got started with InSTEDD on September 1st 2008. I am a third-year student at Norton University and my major subject is English for Teaching. I’m also interested in  the Internet and new technologies being used in the world. I am happy to spend my time with InSTEDD learning new software skills and preparing products that will be used for people helping with diseases and disasters.
In my free time I like having small picnics in the country side.

Sodany Chap

I am from Kampong Cham Province and graduated from the Royal University of Law and Economics in Law field. Then I have been pursuing my study in Masters of Management. I am very excited to have such a great opportunity to access to higher education in this competitive world, and I do wish many Cambodians had at least the same opportunity like me as education plays very important role in the social development of a country like mine.
So far, I worked and gained some experience from a few NGOs here such as Legal Aid of Cambodia (LAC), Cooperation International (CI), Cambodian Defender Project (CDP) on women trafficking, PILLAP and also from Cambodian Arts and Scholarship Foundation (CASF). 
I have been working for InSTEDD since mid-June. I am extremely interested in what InSTEDD does. I am now helping with some translation and also learning to be a tester with a group of talented people from DDD and with Miquel and Laura. I have a very strong commitment to effectively and efficiently work on InSTEDD projects to ensure their smooth operation. 
I’d like to deeply thank to Marry Jane, Dennis, Eduardo, Miquel and Laura and to all of others InSTEED staff who always support and encourage me in implementing my work. Also, let me wish all of them the best health, luck and success in both work and personal life.

InSTEDD has been able to attract these excellent fellows through – and with the help of- some of our partners in the region, especially Digital Divide Data and Yejj.

The goal of the QA group is to ‘train the trainer’ and seed a full QA unit that can carry this aspect of the software development lifecycle end to end. Cambodia has very little experience in QA and we hope to share a bit of our experience in what’s needed to have robust systems deployed reliably to your users.

Kzu explains KML and Linq at the Cambodian Ministry of Health The development team and our Product Manager have engaged with the Cambodian Center for Disease Control and now have a prototype of a mobile application used for hotline call tracking, that then submits the information via batches of SMS messages onto a desktop with a phone plugged in, exports data to excel and posts it to an online Riff instance where the calls can be classified and collaborated on. All this is open source and was done in an agile fashion with weekly iterations and they recently refactored the code to design patterns such as MVP.

Nico di Tada does a hands-on TDD workshop in the InSTEDD innovation lab. Red-Green-Refactor The skills gained and experience with concrete technologies (SMS-based applications, RESTful web services) will be useful beyond this particular system. Plus, Daniel Cazzulino and Nico di Tada have been giving workshops here in Phnom Penh covering topics such as REST architectures, TDD, KML and Linq.

Training, roundtables and architecture & methodology discussions are a key part of life at the InSTEDD lab. We don’t have enough furniture yet to accommodate a lot of visitors but as soon as we figure out these logistics issues we’ll be posting the schedule online and take an ‘open house approach’- if you show up, you can participate!

PS This is just the initial team – we are still hiring for QA Engineers, Graphic Designers, Software Developers, Test Leads, Test Manager and ICT leads here in Phnom Penh. Contact me if it sounds interesting!

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