Lean-Agile PioneerI have successfully applied many different tools and techniques over a 30 year career managing businesses and improving processes in manufacturing, engineering, and software development. Early in my career I learned to appreciate the powerful effectiveness of the Deming Cycle’s four simple steps to: Plan, Do, Check, Act. It has been gratifying to participate in the evolution of systematic process improvement into movements such as Lean, Six Sigma, and Agile Development. I advocate lean and agile principles because of their proven effectiveness for streamlining many different industrial and business processes.
I had twenty years of process improvement, project management, and traditional software development experience before I became an Agile development advocate. My process improvement experience began in industry with MIL-SPEC quality certification for precision machining, followed by ISO-9000 and Lean Manufacturing. I was trained and certified in formal project and program management using the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and have applied it to both large scale engineering and software development projects.
My first experience with Agile development came in 1998 when I was introduced to extreme programming while developing the Metaphase Solution Delivery Methodology in my role as Methodology Architect for Metaphase PLM (now Siemens PLM). I attended one of the early Extreme Programming Immersion Trainings in 1999. This week long workshop dramatically changed my ideas about software development. It was incredibly stimulating to talk directly with the experts Object Mentor brought to the training. Some of the more notable instructors included: Ward Cunningham, Kent Beck, Ron Jefferies, Martin Fowler, and Robert Martin. I was surprised they seemed unaware of the many parallels to Lean Manufacturing that were apparent to me from my manufacturing industry background.
I was so inspired by the “no fear” credo that I helped found a new company committed to using extreme programming along with Java, XML, and UML domain modeling to create enterprise software. Product Sight became one of the early Seattle area success stories for extreme programming with successful enterprise customers and thousands of users. We made extreme programming one of our selling points to end customers, investors, and ultimately the company that acquired Product Sight. After the acquisition, I coached Centric Software in their adoption of Agile Development practices such as Scrum and xp technical practices.
I recently completed an engagement as Director of Agile Program Management Office at Vertafore where I led enterprise scale agile adoption using Scrum to achieve unprecedented visibility into costs, quality, and schedule for dozens of concurrent product development projects with more than 35 Scrum teams.
It has been very rewarding to participate in the evolution from early adopters to the mainstream acceptance of lean and agile techniques over the past twelve years. I’m also excited and encouraged by how multi-disciplinary approaches are being mixed and borrowed to re-shape agile in the future; particularly for large scale solutions.