Category Diary

Something more chaotic

They’re young, passionate, excitable, humble and open. They’ve few preconceptions about how things should work and a hunger to discover how things can. I fell into this, and old friend suggested we talk. They wanted to explore ‘Agile’. We talked principles, they asked for answers, I suggested experiments. We’ve been exploring together for half a […]

Why Go?

Why did I stay so long? – 13 years. Because I loved working with that team. It was a rare thing – A real team who each day learn’t from each other, continuously supporting one another. But there was something I couldn’t change – We grew into each other and lost touch with the outside. […]

The day I met a customer

Like many developers, I’ve been protected from apparently difficult customers by my managers and left to get on with the important job of “writing code”. But this week I left our office and headed out to a technology park to work directly with one of our customers, and after a couple of days of understanding […]

A Return To Scrum

After five years of Scrum, we decided to break free of it’s shackles. Abandoning fixed length sprints, work-life became one long un-estimated party. Diverse collaborations throughout the organisation enabled us to take on new challenges. The backlog was full of surprises: I had little idea where half the stories came from. For a while I […]

The shame of asking

I’d ask them what they need, but they already told me once, I should  know. So I try to imagine what they need and make an assumption. My assumption is a guess. I feel vulnerable and strengthen my defences I could show them what I’ve done and confirm my assumption, but it’s  not all there […]

The Shame of Pair Programming

When I tell people that most of my team pair most of the time, and that it’s not mandated, they nod and say “Yes but I don’t think my developers would be happy doing that.” But that’s as far as we go. Why are people reluctant to pair? To pair requires vulnerability. It means sharing […]

Too inhibited to learn – we do it to ourselves.

Too inhibited to learn, I’ve made a series of poor choices. I went to sea and instantly yearned for land. I got an office job and yearned for creativity. Only when I started developing software did I get a taste of how work could be, even then there was little joy. I was frustrated, blamed others […]

The most important thing we can do

It seems I’m unusual or perhaps I’m just lucky. I’ve worked on the same team for 12 years. It’s not because I’ve always loved it, because for a large part of that time I am frustrated and despairing. I saw, and still see, problems everywhere, problems that I know cause pain and anxiety, problems that […]

It’s not about the process

I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable with “process”; even more with inflicting it on others. Process is a pre-defined way of doing something; I like to change my mind as I learn more. Our team started with nothing: we were just told what to do, we transformed with Scrum and improved with Kanban. With these […]

Finding the courage to come together

I work with fantastic people and I have done for a long time. I’ve not always appreciated them, I used to blame and judge them, unable to recognise the real causes of the problems. I don’t do this anymore, something has changed and it isn’t the people. For most of my working life I have […]