Background and professional experience of John C. Fleming, founder and CEO of Outcome Labs LLC.

The Backstory

I learned to code while I was attending Salem State College in Salem, Massachusetts. It was an Introduction to Programming course that I took during a summer session to meet the science requirement of my degree program in Political Science (prepping for law school). I learned the basics of computing, some Fortran and how to apply these tools to solve problems. Little did I know how this “checkmark” course would change the trajectory of my career and my life. I overloaded my schedule for the next few semesters to take every computer science course the college was offering at the time. I was lucky enough to land a paid internship during my senior year at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts coding COBOL on a Honeywell GCOS mainframe that led to my first full time job out of college.

I spent the first six years of my professional career developing internal IT systems at Blue Cross, Honeywell and Texas Instruments. I had the opportunity to work on a wide range of challenging business problems using multiple languages, architectures and operating platforms including mainframes, mini-computers and personal computers. I had some great co-workers, supervisors and mentors who taught, inspired and helped me hone my skills as a developer.

In the mid-eighties, Texas Instruments was planning on migrating its internal IT portfolio to the emerging IBM DB2 relational database platform. I got an opportunity to join a high-powered team in Dallas with TI that was developing an integrated computer-aided software engineering (CASE) platform that would generate complete DB2-base applications. This project was staffed by some of the most talented software engineers at TI. The CASE platform was based on the Information Engineering methodology that had been popularized by James Martin. Even though this started out as an internally-focused initiative, TI executives recognized there was a commercial opportunity and launched TI’s first stand-alone software business.

I joined the IEF group as part of the development team and then got the opportunity to work with some of our first external customers on their rollouts. I then had the opportunity to help grow a training and consulting team to support customers adopting the IEF. This was when I learned I could not only build things. I could sell them too! I then got the opportunity to take the IEF to market in Asia, Australia and Latin America. This was one of best jobs I ever had. I learned a ton, got to travel and “see the word”, made some pretty good money, and, most importantly, made professional relationships and friendships that I will always cherish.

I left TI in 1992 and had the opportunity to work at six great software companies over the next 16 years. You can see some of the details of these experiences in the timeline below. I had the opportunity to help start a company from scratch that created some great products, became a significant player in its market space, provided good jobs and provided the investors with a great return. I had the opportunity to manage big projects with large teams and budgets. I learned what happens when strong team and committed investors with a great idea miss the mark because we didn’t really understand the customer. I got to experience the amazing exhilaration and mind-numbing fear that are always there when you sit in the center seat as the CEO.

I started Outcome Labs in 2008 to have the opportunity to work hand-on again with clients on software projects that would have a direct impact on their business. We have delivered solutions for clients across a range of industries including financial services, loyalty marketing, organizational development, and book publishing. I have been the lead architect and project manager for thirty-two projects utilizing leading open source platforms. My responsibilities have included client management, requirements definition, project scoping, technology selection, resource management, scheduling, delivery, and budget management. I also contribute as a developer on key projects. I have served as the “virtual” CTO for two clients with responsibility for overseeing multiple development projects. I am grateful to the people and organizations that have given us the opportunity to contribute to their success.

Professional Experience