Engage

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I am a full-time consultant who is available to engage with clients remotely or onsite anywhere in the world (I currently hold dual-citizenship between Australia and the United States).

To discuss your specific needs, please call me on +1.650.336.5877, or email me at craig@craigsdickson.com, or use this Contact form, or download a copy of my resume from this page.

The following is an overview of the services I provide to clients:

Software Development Process Improvement

  • Coaching for Agile process evaluation, adoption or improvement, including Scrum, Lean, Kanban and Extreme Programming (XP)
  • Definition, refinement and documentation of team processes and practices
  • Definition of Quality Assurance and Quality Control standards
  • Integration of defect tracking systems with other tools and processes
  • Engagement with customers and requirements elicitation

Software Development Team Management

  • Job Description authoring
  • Salary range and benefits package definition
  • New candidate acquisition and screening
  • Team workspace design and office space evaluation
  • Skills assessment of existing resources
  • Collaboration strategies for teams

Vendor Management

  • New vendor discovery and screening
  • Vendor proposal reviews
  • Offshore vendor management, including onsite visits and reviews
  • One throat to choke multiple vendor management

Software Configuration Management (SCM)

  • Introduction of an SCM system to teams not already using one (Subversion, Git, CVS etc)
  • Subversion and CVS training
  • Subversion and CVS server installation and configuration
  • SCM process definition and documentation, including branching and merging processes
  • SCM system migration, particularly CVS to Subversion

Build Management

  • Implementation of Apache Maven and Apache Ant based build systems
  • Automation of builds, particularly in relation to a Continuous Integration system like CruiseControl or Hudson
  • Management and versioning of produced code artifacts, particularly in relation to an Artifact Repository like Nexus or Artifactory
  • Release numbering strategies and Alpha and Beta customer release programs

Software Architecture & Design

  • Enterprise-level system architecture definition, existing architecture reviews
  • New database design and existing database design review
  • Formal UML based architecture definition

Enterprise Java Development

  • Specialist in full-stack JavaEE development
  • Public API design and documentation for ISVs
  • Web service development and integration
  • Code reviews and performance tuning
  • Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) design and implementation

Web Development

  • HTML, JavaScript and CSS development
  • Integration of AJAX style JavaScript libraries including GWT, JQuery and ExtJS
  • Integration of Adobe Flash and Flex components

Automated Testing Strategies

  • Introduction of tools like JUnit and Sellenium to teams that currently do not do any automated testing
  • Integration of tests into automated build scripts and generation of metrics
  • Static analysis of codebase quality

Mobile Development

  • iPhone application design and development, specializing in integration to JavaEE based back ends
  • Web based mobile development

Social Media Strategy

  • Specializing in small to medium business that do not have dedicated in house Social Media resources
  • Evaluation of current Social Media presence
  • Recommendations for Social Media platforms based on particular business needs and goals
  • Evaluation of Location based services in relation to business needs and goals

Once again, to discuss your needs and to find out how I can help you, please contact me by phone on +1.650.336.5877, by email at craig@craigsdickson.com, or simply use this Contact form. If you would like more detailed information regarding my experience and qualifications, you can download a current copy of my professional resume from this page.

Scrum Anti-pattern: Outlier Pigs

Posted in: Software Development Team Leadership

In the Pig and Chicken analogy for Scrum participants (Jeff Sutherland explains Pigs & Chickens), the Pig is the one who is required to make the biggest commitment and put his proverbial skin in the game. For the Pig, it is an all or nothing proposition. They either meet their commitment or they do not, there is no gray area. However, many teams fail to get this level of commitment from their Pigs, or don’t even ask for it in the first place. This is the genesis of the Outlier Pig.
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Scrum Anti-pattern : Prioritizing Stories Within Sprints

Posted in: Software Development Team Leadership

The prioritization of Stories is a core practice in the Scrum agile development process. In fact it is probably the single most important responsibility of the Product Owner – making sure the Product Backlog is prioritized properly to maximize business value (a.k.a ROI). However, there is a common anti-pattern that I see regularly in which the Product Owner and the Delivery Team act complicitly to establish a priority order for Stories that are being committed too within a single Sprint. The need to do this comes from a negative place and it has dramatic consequences for the Delivery Team.
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Book Review – User Stories Applied

Posted in: Software Development Team Leadership

We finished reviewing “User Stories Applied – For Agile Software Development” by Mike Cohn as a group.

This was the second book we have reviewed as a group by Mike Cohn. Previously we also reviewed Agile Estimating and Planning

I can highly recommend this book if you are looking to improve your use of User Stories and you need a gentle introduction to some other Agile topics. The book specifically ties the use of User Stories to both Scrum and XP and shows the benefits of using User Stories over other requirements gathering techniques. In addition it provides guidance on how to generate User Stories and also how to ensure the stories are of the correct level of precision.

We will definitely be adopting many of the processes in the book, particularly those related to generating the stories up front and identifying user types and creating personas to represent important user groups.

The link below will take you to Amazon.com to purchase the book if you are interested.