Enhancing digital work with agile thinking – aligning strategy and delivery with OKRs
Continuous Digital (2018)
Project Myopia (2018)
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About Allan Kelly
Welcome to Allan Kelly’s home on the internet. Home to Allan and his company, Software Strategy Ltd. Let him take up the story:
Once upon a time I was a programmer, people I worked with thought I was quite a good one. I was part of a team building a hand-held PC, which was a big deal in 1991. I worked on electricity modelling, I wrote programs for railway timetables, software for banks and real-time data feeds for Reuters. I built secure e-mail systems and mobile phone network diagnostic tools.
The code was not the problem, the problem was the way the team was set up, the problem was the way we were asked to work, or the way work reached us. To fix that problem I needed to become a manager… but I didn’t want to be a foolish manager like all the ones I’d worked for before so I got myself a management qualification.
And while I was getting that qualification I discovered that modern management thinking was very close to the then newly emerging field of “agile software development.” When I looked back at my experiences so much of the good times matched the thing we call agile.
I still love software, I love coding, but I don’t code any more. (Actually, I do code a little, for love.) I devote my time to helping make making software better. In my mind when I’m teaching, advising, coaching, consulting I’m helping the person I used to be. When I see programmers at work I see my younger self. And I want them to do a great job, I want them to be able to do a better job than I ever did.
Today I call myself an Agile Guide – I guide people and organizations to greater agility. I provide coaching and direct advice on agile working to leaders and teams creating digital products (software!). The companies I work with come from many fields as different as healthcare and surveying. However, they all depends on software to deliver for their customers. Without software they are nothing.
Yesterday… I started coding in 1982 on a Sinclair ZX81. By 1986 I was earning money as a regular contributor to BBC Telesoftware – PDP, PDR, Eclipse, Fonts, Demon’s Tomb, EMACS (no, not that emacs), Snapshot and Femcoms to name a few, mostly in 6502 assembler.
In 1989 I was a system administrator with Nixdorf Computer. In 1991 I was a software tester at DIP in Guildford building the Sharp PC-3000. Even as an undergraduate I was hired by the University to help teach other undergraduates and occasionally post-graduates.
- BSc Combined Science (computing, economics and politics) from Leicester University
- Master in Business Administration from Nottingham University Business School
I’m an accredited Kanban Coach, a Kanban Certified Professional and hold a Kanban KMP II certificate.
O, one more thing… I’m dyslexic. I traditionally I don’t make a thing about. As I understand my dyslexia more and more I see where it makes me the person I am. I don’t consider dyslexia a disability in any way, in fact I tend towards the reverse. Sure it means spelling and grammar are foreign to me but it also means I’m better in other ways.
Allan works through his own company, Software Strategy Ltd. For a few years Software Strategy used the trading name Allan Kelly Associates, as of mid-2021 the trading name is being dropped and the original name Software Strategy will be used.
Software Strategy Ltd. is a UK limited company registration number 617705.
Agile on the Beach & Mimas
Allan is co-founder of the UK’s premier agile conference: Agile on the Beach. For the first 10 years Allan had primary responsibility for speakers. He continues to work as part of the conference team and talent spot up and coming speakers.
As part of that role Allan wrote the Mimas conference submission and review system which is now avilable as open source. Mimas (named after one of Saturn’s moons) provides for:
- Conference organisers create a conference and accept submissions with various configurable parameters such: conference branding, maximim number of submissions per speaker, maximum number of co-speakers, session duration, delivery formats, topic tracks, expenses, and conference specific questions.
- Submissions are accepted into tracks, they can have co-speakers, formats and duration are configurable.
- Login is via OAuth (Facebook and Google at the moment).
- Reviewers can volunteer and be assigned (random) submissions to review.
- Reviewers can be assigned per track.
- Two rounds of reviewing are supported, these are configurable. AOTB uses scoring for round 1 and ranking for round 2.
- Conference permissions allow for different users to have different capabilities.
- E-mail acknowledgements, acceptances and declines are handled via SendGrid – you can also define custom messages via templates.
- Half a dozen or more types of report plus export to Excel capability.
- Reviewer feedback and comments can be shared with submitters.
- Conference scheduler which allow submissions to be schedules against time slots. The final schedule can be exported to Excel.
- Speaker details are retained for future conferences as are talk details. There is an open speakers directory and tagging mechanism (I should either improve this or scrap it.)