How I Work

Thumbs-up sign
Squirrel has contributed immeasurably to our company’s success during his ten years as our CTO.

—Rich Koppel, founder, TIM Group


Courses and Talks

I speak and train regularly on software development and management topics. For example, recently I gave two conference talks based on experiences at Geckoboard - watch them below if you are interested.

In addition, I was on a CTO Craft panel on the challenges of fintech startups - have a look at it here: Fintech CTO Panel

I can offer talks or short courses on a number of topics—a sampling appears below. Please let me know if you would like me to speak at a conference or meetup, or if you would like me to deliver a custom half- or full-day course for your company or organisation.

  • Recruitment for Startups: Attracting and Evaluating Great Developers
  • Continuous Deployment the Easy Way (and the Hard Way)
  • Root Cause Analysis - Getting to One Bug Per Month (video and slides)
  • "I'm the CTO?!" - A Crash Course in Leadership for New Tech Managers
  • Becoming More Agile with Fewer Tears - Jointly Designing Better Development Methods
  • The "Ends over Means" Way to Build a Product Roadmap

In my training sessions, I frequently suggest that teams adopt an elephant carpaccio approach to building software, with daily releases of valuable features. A common objection is that one or another feature cannot be split into small, valuable, customer-visible features that can each be completed in a day - so I make a bet with participants that if I can't help them do so for their hardest feature, I'll buy them a beer. So far I haven't had to buy any beers, but if you're interested in being the first, send me a challenge!


Podcast and Book

Jeffrey Fredrick and I are working on a book called Troubleshooting Agile, in which we argue that the main reason agile teams aren't agile is that they forget to share valid information, have difficult conversations, and build relationships. We suggest ways readers can diagnose and address problems in their own agile teams.

To develop the ideas in the book further, we are also creating weekly podcast episodes about various ways agile teams go wrong and how to address their difficulties.

For more about both projects, see the Troubleshooting Agile home page.


Action Science

Action Science is a theory of organisation and management that I find very helpful. It is especially appealing for those (like us engineers!) who prefer sharply defined, step-by-step methods instead of wooly exhortations and vague models. I use techniques like the ladder of inference and two-column case studies both in my own transformational work and when training founders, CTOs, and other senior leaders.