My History

History, Education, etc.


I hold a BSc degree in Combined Science (major in Computing) from
Leicester University and an MBA (Financial) with Distinction from Nottingham University Business School - I was awarded the Best Overall Student prize in my MBA class.

I live in West London but am originally from further north.

I started my career coding (Pascal, C++, C, Java), after a sojourn in Silicon Valley I returned to London and realised I could fix the code problems. The more significant problems were what we were building and how we were building. That led me to an MBA, Patterns, Product Management, Agile and writing two books.

Early days


While still at school I learned to programme (a ZX81 then the BBC micro - Basic, 6502 assembler, Pascal, Forth). I published periodically in magazines - letters, advice and short program - and then in June 1986 BBC Telesoftware published my Printer Dump Programme (PDP). During the next two to three years this was my main source of income.

The BBC were good enough to publish many of my programs: PDR (Printer Dump ROM), Eclipse (a macro language for the BBC), Echos (a disk utility), Fonts (a font designer), FEMCOMS and a few more. Together with David Halligan (now deceased) I produced Demon’s Tomb and EMACS (a sound manipulation system, not the editor). My all-time favourite was Snapshot: a sideways RAM program that captured and stored the entire BBC RAM to disk - great for capturing games and written at the request of Chris Foster (where are you now?).

Career


After graduation I first worked at Souther Electric PLC programming electricity forecasting and evaluation systems in Turbo Pascal. After that I came to specialise in C++ on Unix and Windows. During this time I worked for companies in the UK including: Reuters, Dodge Group, Quadratron, BZW (now Barclays Capital), Sema Group (Railtrack A-Plan) and others.

In 1999 I got bored working at Reuters and decided to try Silicon Valley. I arrived to work at Tumbleweed Communications in California just as the dot.com bubble burst. After two years of dot.com.bust I returned to the UK. By this time I was a confident programmer but I felt that many, if not most, of the problems I faced were not the result of bad code but rather how the team was being organised, managed and what was being requested. Rather than just move into management I decided to do it properly, hence my MBA.

After my MBA I went to work at Actix were I still did some coding, led some teams, became a product manager and introduced Agile to the organization. I feel proud to have worked at Actix during a particularly good time for the company. But all good things come to an end and after Actix I decided to launch myself into the world of independent consulting, training and coaching - mostly in and around Agile.

As a consultant many of my clients are start-ups and SME, better known clients include Virgin-Atlantic, Siemens, Qualcomm, ARM, lastminute.com, Viacom and the AA.

Other stuff


Professionally:
  • I am a recognised Kanban Coaching Professional (KCP).
  • I qualified as a PRINCE 2 Practitioner Project Manager in 2008 but have never renewed my status (I have never used it in anger and disagree with much of it).
  • I completed Product Manager training with Pragmatic Marketing in 2005 and spent several years working as a product manager.
  • I was an active member of the ACCU and am still active in the patterns community - Hillside Europe (the organisers of the EuroPLoP Patterns conference).
  • I have twice been honoured with the Neil Harrison Shepherding Award, at EuroPLoP 2005 and VikingPLoP 2007.

Find me on:
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