Technical Agile Coaching

Much of my career has been as a Software Engineer, then a Team Lead, then a Software Engineering Manager. Coaching agility and helping with Agile transformations has been a part of many of those jobs, and all of them in the past decade.

I’ve decided to transition from Software Engineering Manager to Technical Agile Coaching. As a Manager, my main focus was on supporting the effectiveness and satisfaction of the team. This change is really just a matter of working towards the same goal from a different angle.

I bring a very large competitive advantage to the role, given my background. Many Agile coaches are not intimately familiar with the software development process or the tools used for developing software in Agile environments. I have experience configuring and using these tools to support agility as well as team effectiveness and efficiency, through running software groups and working closely with IT/Infrastructure leads focused on the same. Some examples of these skills are:

  • Configuring Jira to support the team’s workflow, roles, working agreements, and metadata.
  • Using confluence in a way that promotes knowledge sharing, frequent updates, and reuse. This includes pulling data about epics and stories into Confluence so the documentation is tied to the actual work
  • Setting up continuous integration / deployment pipelines, release strategies, branching strategies, and repository/version control integration to support fast feedback
  • Pair programming and mob programming
  • Getting Dev, QA, and IT all helping out on testing, provisioning, and developing, ensuring quality and stability are the concerns of the entire organization

In addition to my focus on Agile at work, I’ve been a member of Agile New England for about 15 years, and on the Board as the IT chair for over a decade, and have organized or contributed to several of their conferences, like Agile Games and Mob Programming.

Some recent related work experience:

  • At Pascall Systems, a small medical device startup, I helped the distributed developers work together as a team, established working agreements, definition of ready, definition of done, effective story writing, and effective testing. I also helped them configure Jira and Confluence, and use Jenkins to drive a build system, and support their regulatory environment by tracking risks and mitigators.
  • At shoebuy.com (now shoes.com), I worked with the Director of Infrastructure on a continuous integration build system, a release and rollback strategy, a branching strategy. Another big impact I had was empowering the development team and the QA team to have more say in what stories are ready for development or ready for the sprint. My most difficult achievement there was raising employee satisfaction to the point that several of the developers who were expected to leave in a short time ended up staying and being happier and more productive.
  • At McGraw-Hill Education, they were already fully bought into Agile and Scrum, I was able to help them overcome the difficulties of distributed teams, getting other groups in the organization to work more closely with the software teams, evidence-based resource allocation, and story sizing.
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