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Help us to help you

So here we are,  in the umpteenth week of the coronavirus pandemic. The UK scientists and WHO are saying that we are in this for the long haul - at least a year, maybe longer, perhaps forever if we cannot develop an effective vaccine.
I have already written about how this is affecting people. This post is not about that. But something that is become blatantly obvious is that the ways we work are changing. Which means companies and people need to change. And change is hard.
So what I would like to know is: How can we help you here at Thirsty Bear Solutions?  What kind of help do you need to make these possibly seismic changes? As a company, we have a broad set of skills. Which means we need your help to help you.
So would you please consider filling a short questionnaire that will guide us to where we need to focus our efforts?
Thank you in advance. 
Helping us help you questionnaire

Ethical Development: The responsibility of software developers in society

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May you live in interesting times”, or so goes the ancient Chinese curse. That certainly seems to be applicable to the past few years, arguably even decades. Technology marches on apace, creating a razor sharp double-edged sword that is capable of holding governments to account, yet also capable of slicing into our personal privacy and stifling dissent. Social media has now moved on from an innocent way of staying in touch with remote friends, encouraging collaboration, tolerance and discussion, and has now been weaponised in order to influence opinions, support corrupt organisations, and manipulate the Overton Window. We now have wannabe dictators attempting to force online platforms to treat speculation and lies the same as undisputed truths. We even have leaders of hugely influential companies abdicating their social responsibility to act against bad actors, allowing their platform to be taken over by fascist and racist agendas, presumably to protect bottom line profit. It is now…

Online Coding Kata

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I am running an online coding kata!
This is a format I have run many times in person, with various companies. So it is now time to try it in the online, post-Covid world. Since this is its first time through, I am offering it for free. Tickets are limited.

Sign up if interested. Come and get 'em while they're hot!

Discombobulation in Covidland

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Discombobulated. My new favourite mot du jour since it seems to perfectly capture what many people, myself included, are going through with this Covid-19 crisis and associated lockdown and limitations. From the OED:



Does this sound familiar? That general feeling of disconnection, discomfort, even confusion caused by the sudden changes in the world recently. Perhaps an inability to concentrate, or the opposite, wanting to zone out deeper than ever. Perhaps your sleep patterns have changed, or the way you eat (maybe more than usual, maybe less), or your caffeine or alcohol consumption. Feeling a little more grumpy/intolerant? Everyone will react differently. One thing is certain. Everyone's cheese has most definitely been moved, and with minimal warning.

Before I go further, I have one important piece of reassurance for everyone who is feeling the effects of this lockdown, whatever these effects may be.

You are OK. It's normal.
Here in the UK, Chris Witty, the UK Chief Medical Of…

What is "Coaching"?

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Anyone who knows me, or follows my posts on social media, will know that I have been studying for a Post Graduate Certificate in Personal and Business Coaching with Chester University. It is a fantastic journey, and has most definitely helped me understand myself in greater depth, as well as has helping my coachees!

But the term "coaching" seems to be creating some confusion. Which is somewhat unsurprising as someone who has marketed themselves as an “Agile Coach” since 2005, it would be perfectly reasonable to assume the “coaching” training I am doing has something to do with agile processes and teams. Except nothing could be further from the truth…

So if it’s not related to "agile coaching", what on earth is this "personal/business coaching" thing?

Let us start by describing what I do when “coaching” a software team in agility. “Agile”1 has a well defined set of values, practices and principles that define it2,3. Stray from these, and you are no longer…

Could Rethinking the 6th Principle Save the Planet?

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“The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development  team is face-to-face conversation.”


The Agile Manifesto’s 6th Principle.  Obvious, isn’t it? The fastest, easiest, best way to exchange information is to actually talk to people. From this simple premise comes the recommendation of “collocated teams” - so that people can communicate with minimal friction.
I shall put my hand up and admit that I have fully supported this idea for years, and have regularly encouraged teams to adopt it, usually with fantastic results. There can be no doubt that the approach works extremely well. Not working together in the same physical space forces compromise since it  reduces collaboration unless people actively work to come together. Information flow happens more slowly, and becomes more ‘clunky’. Also people lose the subtle cues from body language, half-heard discussions, and instant team timeouts to discuss important issues or design decisions. So teams woul…

New Services Available!

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Exciting news!

Folks may have noticed that I have been quiet of late. Well, I have been expanding the range of skills that Thirsty Bear Software can offer.

I am pleased to announce that we can now offer Personal and Business Coaching services.

I am now a trained Barefoot Coach. It is worth pointing out that this coaching service is completely different from what folks call "Agile Coaching" - this kind of coaching is aimed fairly and squarely at helping individuals, teams and businesses unlock their potential and maximise their own performance. Not a Scrum, unit test or continuous integration in sight (although I can still help with that tech stuff if needed - that is a service we still provide). No doubt I will be publishing an article soon on the difference between the two, but for now I hope that definition is enough. If you would like to know more, then please do get in touch.

However, this is just the first step on a longer journey, leading to both a Postgraduate Certif…