Peer Reviewed Papers

These are what would be considered “academic” reviewed papers that were presented at various conferences or were published in academic journals. A lot of the content of these papers is explaining why the content of the paper can be considered “knowledge” versus “opinion”. Most of these papers are associated with my research for my doctorate, where I used grounded theory to discover an answer to the question – how do people manage the process of software development?

Others papers included in this list that were also published  are case studies or interesting musings about software development practice and theory (e.g. Colonel John Boyd’s OODA loop).

Reconciling Perspectives: A Grounded Theory of How People Manage the Process of Software Development

Reconciling Perspectives is the “journal” version of my doctoral research and attempts to provide an answer to the question of “how do people manage the process of software development”  This was a “grounded theory” study which means that we can learn what is the problem on the mind of the participants rather than the one presumed by the researcher. The main problem discovered during the study was colloquially getting everyone on the same page and Reconciling Perspectives is the process people use to resolve the problem. Reconciling Perspectives became the foundation for founding the company Development Knowledge which is about accelerating the Reconciling Perspectives process.

Using Grounded Theory to Study the Process of Software Development

Using Grounded Theory to Study the Process of Software Development  is the “journal” version of my explanation of how we used “classical” grounded theory to study the process of software development. What was unique about my research is using a qualitative research methodology that is normally associated with Nursing and the social sciences to study engineering practices. However, in our opinion, using quantitative methods was not going to answer the questions we wanted to find answers to.

Generating a Useful Theory of Software Engineering

Generating a Useful Theory of Software Engineering is the pursuit of software engineering researchers because it would provide a guiding theory for predicting the outcomes of interventions on software engineering efforts. In this position paper, we express our point of view that a useful theory of software development can be generated empirically.

Reconciling Perspectives - Conference Paper

Reconciling Perspectives is the “conference paper” version of our research.

Tear Down the Barriers: A First Report

Tear Down the Barriers was presented at a “research in progress” track and explains the efforts of a bunch of engineers trying to become social scientists. This was our first effort to use classical grounded theory to generate software engineering theory. Lets just say that we truly embraced the meaning of the expression “fail fast”.  After all, there is no “straight line” in research.

What Can the Agile Community Learn from a Maverick Fighter Pilot

What Can the Agile Community Learn from a Maverick Fighter Pilot was a conference paper presented on the academic track at Agile 2006. This is a cursory explanation of USAF Colonel’s John Boyd’s Observe-Orient-Decide-Act model. For me it is a useful model for understanding the intention behind agility, versus just thinking of agility as a set of tools and practices. There are many good models to help understand the intention of agility but I am drawn to this one because of its inclusion of an individual’s mental model or “orientation” influences their decision making, or worse, inhibit their ability to comprehend reality.

Are We Ready to be Unleashed? A Comparison of Warfighting and Software Development

Are We Ready to be Unleashed is a conference paper asking what can the agile community learn from other disciplines that are considered agile. There was (and in many ways still is) an incredible arrogance in the agile software development community that we some how discovered something new and innovative with the creation of the agile manifesto. In fact we are late to the party. What this means for the software development community is there are many other communities whose experience we can learn from. This paper presents one of the practices of one of the most agile organizations in the modern world – the military. Yes, you read that right, as one of my good colleagues who is a retired US Army intelligence Colonel and agile coach once said, “all that I know about agile, I learned in the army”. This is not, or at least was not intended to be yet another business is war type paper that was so popular in the 1990s. Business is competitive, but war is, … well, horror. There is a difference. But there concepts that do transfer well to the business world. This paper highlights them, and then suggests a course of action.

Cash Cow in the Tarpit

Cash Cow in the Tarpit is case study of one of my all time career favourite projects, the legacy replacement of an automated railway signalling system. This was everything why I became an engineer….not only that I got to play with the biggest electric train set in the city. Legacy replacement projects are inherently risky and there were many opportunities for misstep in this one. However, there were some very well focused decisions made based on the project mandate / vision that helped keep this one on the straight and narrow and avoided making this yet another case study of a failed legacy replacement project.