Feet to the Fire

June 21, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, Project management, Teamwork 

In recent years, there have been several movements in software development that would suggest that we wait until the latest possible moment to make decisions, so as to avoid or delay the associated costs of change that would seem inevitable if we decide too early. Read more

Finding Time

June 1, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Agility, People 

I spent a couple of days last week up in Campbell River, working with a group at their very isolated location there, going through tips on personal productivity. Whenever I run that program, I am reminded of tips that I had forgotten myself, and get a bit of a boost myself. Read more

Blurring the Boundaries

May 15, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Agility, People 

We have been running our own small business for more than 7 years now, and from most accounts, everything is running quite smoothly. While the pipeline has thinned a little as training budgets are slashed, there are indications that even this is turning around. Receivables have been very good, something that I would attribute to personally knowing who cuts the cheque in most places (the biggest challenges have come from the biggest vendors, where I am an anonymous ‘little guy’ with no apparent clout, but I have my ways to get things done there as well…). There remains one area that I struggle with – the traditional boundaries of the workplace. Read more

Agile Hype: VanDev Podcast

April 26, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, Podcast 

There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order-of-magnitude improvement within a decade in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity. – Fred Brooks, from his No Silver Bullet essay

It has been almost 8 years since seventeen men got together in Utah to craft the Agile Manifesto. Since then, depending on who you listen to, agile practices have either totally turned the software industry around, or we are witnessing the latest attempt at defining that silver bullet. Read more


January 23, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, People, Teamwork 

 In many shops, big or small, software or otherwise, agile or traditional (as if that were a true dichotomy) we see fabulous energy in projects where people are committed to delivery. Unfortunately, in too many shops, we also see the down side of fatigue. Sometimes after the project completed (if you’re lucky), but often while the project is trying to progress to completion, the many symptoms of fatigue can have tremendous costs. Read more

Harnessing Down Time

July 29, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, Process 

We all have far more that we would like to get done than we have available time to do these things. This is true in the workplace and outside as well. Wouldn’t it be great if we could take advantage of all the down time we seem to have during our day to accomplish more? Read more

Decisions Not Made

April 15, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, Project management 

When you get right down to it, we spend a lot of time every day making decisions. From the clear decisions of how we are going to spend our time, whether we are going to do this or that, to decisions that are not as consciously performed, like how we’ll make that first coffee in the morning or choosing our route home in the evening. Read more

No Apparent Problem to No Actual Problem

April 8, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, Process 

However we would like to frame it: an approach to problem solving, a progression of learning, or simply how we grow over time, there are stages that we pass through along the way. Read more

Technological Heart Attack

March 18, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, Leadership 

Whirr-click…whirr-click…barely perceptible. I wouldn’t have noticed it at all, except for the fact that I was starting to wonder whether my computer was going to wake up at all. Read more

Debate Without Dialogue Sucks

December 17, 2006 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, Leadership, People, Process 

Back in February of this year, after attending a local presentation of the latest release of the Visual Studio Team System, I posted a rant titled Rigid Agility. In the post, I had expressed concern about a trend I had seen (and have seen more of since), where systems are being built to support tailorable processes with mechanisms to enforce movement through a set of states. I still see this as inherently non-agile in its implementations, despite the intrinsic value in the products and spin from the vendors. Read more

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  • What’s Happening

  • On The Road Again

    Jim frequently travels across Western Canada for engagements, and welcomes opportunities to meet, run a workshop, Diagnostic or Lunch and Learn session.

    Contact Jim if you would like to connect around any of the upcoming dates:

    • Blissfully at home in Vancouver, BC over the summer!
  • What People are Saying

    Jim is simply one of the smartest and most knowledgeable software development professionals I have ever met. His vast knowledge of the discipline is both leavened and enhanced by his acute awareness of and sensitivity to “the real world” of what actually occurs with real developers in actual practice. Jim is also a warm, open, honest person – rare gifts and an asset in any consultant.

    — Bonar Harris