About

About me:

I am a technologist, a writer, and a speaker.  I am most interested in solving problems at the intersection of people, processes, and technology.  I believe this interest comes from my diverse background.  My ten years as an Air Force intelligence officer taught me how to research and synthesize data into useful information and the importance of strong leadership and organizational culture.  My nearly two decades-long career in Information Technology (IT) has spanned the disciplines of Software Engineering, System Engineering, Enterprise Architecture, and Business Development.  My academic background in Electrical Engineering and Computer Information Systems shaped my problem-solving approach and fostered a healthy respect for engineering discipline.  My experience as an Agilist since 2008 has taught me a rational approach to software development – no futile attempts to predict the future, no basing of plans on wishful thinking, and no fear-based management behaviors.

As part of my professional development, I offer classes in SAFe.  The best way to learn is to teach and I love to pass on what I learn to others.  It is definitely a two-way exchange of knowledge, since the people I teach are smart, curious, and dedicated to their vocation.  I am a SAFe 4 Certified Program Consultant (SPC4) qualified to teach the classes listed here.

This Blog’s Intent:

I am interested in learning, applying, and creating Agile, DevOps, and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) practices towards the improvement of software development and the creation of Lean Agile organizations.  The topics I cover are broad but center around these interests.  I also have a particular interest in applying these concepts to the Federal Government.  Ultimately, I want to dispel myths and misunderstandings about Agile and to make this blog the center of a Community of Interest (CoI) that promotes learning and sharing.

About this Blog’s Theme:

According to speedofanimals.com, the top speed of an African elephant is 24.9 mph.  At a maximum weight just shy of nine tons, that is quite fast considering that the fastest time recorded for the Jamaican Olympic sprinter and world record holder, Usain Bolt, is 27.8 mph!  While capable of moving quickly, for short distances, most people would not associate African elephants with agility.

The cheetah, on the other hand, is not just fast (top speed of 74.6 mph) it is also nimble.  It must catch rapidly fleeing prey that zig-zag across the terrain to escape.  One marvels at the coordination (control) cheetahs demonstrate while in pursuit of prey.  However, a cheetah cannot sustain top speeds for more than a few seconds, so it must use other tactics, such as the element of surprise, to catch unsuspecting animals off guard.

What do African elephants and cheetahs have to do with Agile?  I use the comparison between them to form an analogy about the way many people think about Agile.  Organizations steeped in traditional project/program management practices think of Agile as a way to speed up work and nothing more.  They attempt to shoehorn Agile practices within Waterfall-centric projects and programs with few, if any, changes to existing ways of doing business.  They try to get large, bureaucratic organizations to run like elephants and call it Agile.  When it comes to agility, we should strive to be cheetahs, not elephants.