Blink Estimation

Experienced delivery folks can have surprisingly good instincts for macro-level estimation, as long as we are careful to manage blind spots and cognitive biases. This can be an important tool in early project investment discussions, and can remove roadblocks where people are uncomfortable or unwilling to provide estimates.

Accelerating Agile

A curious phenomenon

At the end of 2009 I left the world of agile delivery and consulting to join a small team in a trading firm. I was member number three. The team grew to five in the next few weeks. This team was the most insanely effective delivery machine I’ve ever been a part of. A handful of programmers sitting in amongst a handful of traders, producing state-of-the-art trading systems—with all the integration pain (back office, risk management, connecting to electronic exchanges) that involves—in weeks. Not months, weeks. This is, of course, impossible.

Under new management

3 mins

I am delighted to announce my new independent consulting company, Dan North & Associates, which has the handy abbreviation of DNA. Take a look around the new website - I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions, especially in terms of the direction I’m taking. Going independent has been on the cards for a while now, and the timing feels right after successfully carrying out a Lean transformation programme with my current employer, DRW Trading.

The rise and rise of JavaScript

15 mins

I’ve been using JavaScript for a while now, but only really programming in anger with it during the last year. I’ve found it in turns frustrating and enlightening, ridiculous and brilliant. I have never felt so empowered by a language and its ecosystem, so I thought I’d take some time to write about why that is. I’m starting with a ramble through the history of JavaScript, or rather my undoubtedly inaccurate understanding of it, to provide some context for where and how I’ve been using it.

Whose domain is it anyway?

8 mins

The brittleness of tests or specs is a recurring topic in BDD (or acceptance test-driven development, specification-by-example, or whatever you choose to call the thing where you write acceptance criteria, automate them and then make the application match). This is a tricky area, and there are probably as many styles of defining and grouping acceptance criteria as there are teams automating them.

The aspect I want to focus on in this article is domain language, because there’s a failure mode I encounter surprisingly often, which seems to have a common root cause.