IHS Fekete, Agile Coach
February 2013 - Present, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I am a full time (employee) Agile Trainer & Coach for Fekete, recently acquired by IHS, a 200+ person company, with over 80 in the software development division. Fekete made the decision to transition from their waterfall approach to Scrum in January of 2013. The Fekete executives were aware of my previous experience in a highly-functional Agile environment, my military experience in training and and leading people, and my ability to clearly articulate the benefits of Agile; thus, they invited me to join the organization in the role as Agile Coach to guide them through the transition.
In this capacity, my self-directed full-time activities include:
- Conduct baseline and ongoing surveys to gauge levels of familiarity with Agile principles and practices and effectiveness of training
- Deliver weekly training sessions on various Agile topics, including Why Agile?, Agile Fundamentals, Scrum, Lean, Agile Testing, TDD, Coaching Agile Teams, Refactoring, etc...
- One-on-one daily coaching with the 14 product owners & scrum masters (across 7 teams)
- Advise executives on designing and changing policies to build & enable a culture supportive of Agile values
- Coordinate training, including conferences & certifications
- Plan & deliver workshops
- Provide "inspiration as to the possible" to help illustrate the vision of a highly functional agile organization
- Provide an abundance of reference & reading materials
- Communicate with other business functions (technical sales, support, engineering consulting) on Agile and it's benefits, encourage closer integration & collaboration, foster communication
In less than three months, we have been successful in gaining widespread buy-in and support for Agile from all levels, including software development, product management, and executive-level. Teams have been (enthusiastically) re-organized into cross-functional feature teams and are now fully engaged in Scrum sprints and focused on delivering business value. Product Owners and ScrumMasters have quickly embraced the deep philosophical mindset of agile, beyond the mere mechanics of the process. People now feel empowered to address "elephants in the closet" and embrace (to them) new and exotic engineering practices, like TDD. It's an incredibly exciting and rewarding environment to be a part of.
CDL Systems (now Lockheed Martin), R&D Manager
May 2008 - September 2012, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
CDL Systems (since acquired by Lockheed Martin) is the world leader in software engineering for unmanned vehicle systems. It is the primary supplier of the ground control software for the US Army's fleet of unmanned vehicle systems. The company adopted Scrum in 2007, and by 2012 was a model of an extremely effective Agile organization, having collapsed ALL release requirements to within the "definition of done" of 2-week iterations, while drastically improving quality. I began as a Scrum team member in a Business Analysis/Testing role, and quickly moved to Product Owner role. In the Product Owner Role, I collaborated closely with the ScrumMaster to migrate both testing and user manual documentation requirements to within the iteration using automation and improved technical practices including TDD, CI builds and structured documentation technologies (DocBook). I was promoted to the role of R&D Manager, where I served as the Product Owner for experimental and innovative products. Working with a team of 7 developers, we used Scrum to very rapidly bring a new product to market within 6 months so that it was showcased at the AUVSI convention with no known defects.
Canadian Army Reserves / ISAF Joint Command HQ, Deputy Operations & Productions Chief, Information Dominance Center
October 2010 - July 2011, Kabul, Afghanistan
As a Captain in the Canadian Army Reserves, I voluntarily deployed to Afghanistan to work as the Deputy Operations and Productions Chief of the Information Dominance Center at ISAF Joint Command HQ. This was a Military Intelligence organization responsible for providing the Commander IJC (a 3-star American General), and his staff all information requirements to effectively conduct military and stabilization operations. Although not strictly a software role, I was able to apply many of the Scrum practices learned from CDL Systems, including fixed iteration lengths, planning & retrospectives, and information radiators.
Although not strictly within my responsibilities, my organization did encompass a small software development team who developed web-based knowledge distribution systems for us. They lacked any experience with software development processes, and so I took the initiative, as a part-time side project, teaching them and coaching them on Scrum to bring some order to the chaos they had been experiencing.