In my recent conference talk I mentioned the “ladder of inference” as a thinking tool, and described how it can help us understand the views of those who disagree with us.  The end result may be that, having understood the basis for their views better, we find those views more persuasive that they first appeared.… Read More

Ten years ago I had a false start in learning dialogue skills.  It was one of several false starts, in fact! In this particular instance, I read a book on technical leadership.  Unlike the books I now recommend, this older book was based more on opinion than research. It seemed to be telling me that,… Read More

Last week I spoke at a conference on People Skills for IT Professionals.   Like some of my older talks on the topic, this one included a semi-autobiographical account of how workplace people skills are learnable. But unlike my talks of a few years ago, this one also included some fairly solid details on what those… Read More

It’s a common misconception that agile processes can’t be used with fixed scope.  A number of the founders of the agile movement invented their forms of agile on fixed-scope projects. As I write this, I’m working myself on an 18-month project with about 20 people and a fixed(ish) scope (see below).  So it can be done. … Read More

Here in New Zealand we’ve had a lot of press recently a Novopay, which is a system to pay school teachers that has suffered from significant, embarrassing (and very widely-publicised) problems. I was recently asked to write an article on the subject for the Institute of IT Professionals (IITP), explaining how I believe the emphasis… Read More

Reflecting on the end of another year, I feel that the interesting challenges in Agile are not about process, but instead about people. Promoting and Enhancing People Skills This has been a theme of this blog for sometime. The challenge for 2013, to myself and to anyone else who’s interested in the Agile community, is,… Read More

I spent over 16 years working for IT consultancies.  Organisations who needed software would come to us, generally negotiate an up-front price, and we’d write the software for them.  This kind of work, outsourced software development, was the focus of my working life… until 9 months ago.  That was when I moved to an internal… Read More

Agile has always embraced change.  But businesses are still be tempted to minimise those changes, by trying to get things “right” first time.  On my current project, we’re realised that minimising change is not necessarily a good thing. Why? After the system goes live, we must be able to change it.  (In our opinion, an… Read More

I’ve just been engaged in very interesting discussion of pair programming with Arlo Belshee.  Unlike me, Arlo has lots of successful experience with pairing.  If you’ve been following my recent posts on pairing, I definitely recommend that you check out Arlo’s new comments on them, and also his own post and its comments here. He… Read More