Do you feel stuck? When most people want to improve, they try doing more, and before long, even the smallest tasks drag on forever. Do you remember when you could just get things done? I can help you recapture those days.
My name is J. B. Rainsberger and I can help you profit sooner from your software projects.
I helped a major government contractor see how to reduce billions of dollars in erroneous insurance and health benefit claims. Their complex COBOL-based system allows, for example, men to qualify for maternity benefits. Over dinner we sketched a plan to replace the most expensive parts of the legacy system gradually and safely, and now they can save their client signficant sums of money in weeks instead of months.
Could your business benefit from advice like this?
In my job interview, I quoted you three times. I got the job.
Consultingwhen you can't put your finger on the problem
When you don't know exactly what the problems are, nor how to solve them, then you need consulting, and that's exactly the kind of consulting I enjoy doing.
I focus on understanding problems, issues, and obstacles deeply before choosing solutions. When you contact me, I will probably ask you a long list of questions designed to help me understand the problems you want to solve, the issues you want to explore, or the obstacles you want to overcome. Many past clients have asked me to push the wrong solutions at them, and I don't want to do that to you. I don't intend to offer you any solution until I have some confidence that it will help.
I specialise in digging deeply to uncover the root cause of your problems. If you allow me, I will work with you to find those causes and design a plan to help you attack them.
Coachingwhen you need to apply new skills
If you know what to do, and even how to do it, but something keeps getting in the way, then you're likely ready for coaching. Sadly, the generic consultants of yesteryear have become the "agile coaches" of today. Everyone who has read a book or two about agile software development has magically become an agile coach. You need to choose very carefully the person you plan to hire to provide this service.
My network of coaches consists of people who understand the craft of coaching. They form real bonds with the people they coach and this bond contributes much to their success in helping people get out of their own way. They incorporate ideas from a multitude of disciplines to help people realise more of their ability. More than simply show you some tips and tricks, they help you understand how you work, what you can improve, and more importantly how to make lasting changes for the better.
Trainingwhen you need to develop new skills
If you have already established goals you want to achieve, and have identified that you need to increase your organisation's capacity in some direction, then you're ready for training.
Training, unlike coaching, focuses on increasing your capacity to produce in some way. Production capacity, like your body's muscles, atrophies without development. Even if you don't struggle to keep up with your competition, you will struggle with your customers' increasing demands. You must develop new skills to stop your organisation from shrinking, losing relevance, and shedding customers.
I offer courses like Learning Modular Design Techniques, Making Your Agile Transition Work, Manufacturing Slack, and Product Sashimi. These courses cover all aspects of software development, from the moment you conceive of a new product, through choosing your first set of features, through building and delivering those features and collecting money from satisfied customers.
Speakingwhen you need to remind people that they can make a difference
I enjoy speaking at a variety of conferences, user groups, and meetups around the world. I can provide inspirational talks, discuss new ideas, lead impromptu discussions or present some golden oldies.
For companies that would like to help people feel more comfortable initiating a change program, such as adopting new ways of working, I can offer talks that discuss these sensitive issues. For skeptical audiences or people generally concerned about the magnitude of change involved in "going agile", I recommend Yes, Your Agile Transition Can Work. For overworked audiences who want to improve but simply can't find the time to do anything new, I strongly recommend Manufacturing Slack.
For skeptics who see emergent design as overhead, rather than an investment in increasing the capacity to deliver, I recommend The Economics of Software Design, and if their skepticism reaches more broadly to other aspects of agile software development, consider An Introduction to Agile with the Theory of Constraints.
Of course, if you have a specific topic in mind or a tricky audience you'd like to reach, then tell me about it and I'll design a session that better fits your needs.
Whenever I find myself expressing “anti-” thoughts I think back to a wonderful trick that I learned from Arlo Belshee and James Shore. They ran a workshop about integrated tests where they asked what benefits they give us, rather than focusing on all the problems that they cause. When they did this, the discussions in… Read more…
In his recent article, “The NoEstimates Movement”, Ron Jeffries asked for concrete ways to help wean organisations off estimates. I have one to share. I have spoken about this but not really written it down, so let me do that here. In the early days of XP, I remember reading in Planning Extreme Programming that… Read more…
I assumed that the day would come that I would discuss software project estimates with someone who regarded me suspiciously merely by virtue of seeing me tweet with the hashtag #NoEstimates. Now that a group has begun to congregate around this term, it has become a movement, and consequently I risk my reputation by association…. Read more…
I distinctly remember the heated discussions about “what is XP?” or “what is Agile?” I participated in them, long before I understood how complicated they are. Sometimes they feel pointless, and sometimes they feel essential. We find ourselves more than a decade later and these discussions rage on, in various forms. These days we see… Read more…
If you’re adopting Scrum, then you’ve probably encountered its “Definition of Done” practice, and it might have created more problems for you than it has solved. I’ve seen it. I have an idea that might help.
Pull systems provide a lot of the value in Lean/Agile approaches to delivering software. In general, throughput increases as we move towards pull systems. More throughput means more profit. In simple terms: pull is good; pull works. What the hell is “pull”? In a work system, “pull” means that workers grab the next available task… Read more…