Time for a change

I’ve been in the IT industry for about 20 years now, and for nearly the last 8 years I’ve been a consultant with the rather excellent ThoughtWorks. Being anywhere for that long in our industry is quite uncommon, and to spend that long in a consulting role, with all the travel and disruption that implies, is even more so. I’ve had a fantastic time with ThoughtWorks and I feel I’ve grown tremendously during the time I was there. Eventually something had to give though, so at the end of last year I decided it was time to try something else.

In particular I found I had moved away from the things I really enjoyed - writing software that matters and building high-performing software teams - more towards big organisational change, which, while it arguably has a bigger impact on an organisation, isn’t really where I wanted to be. So my criteria for what to do next came down to: writing business-critical software in a small, high-performing team, in an organisation that trusts its people and encourages them to excel. Having a great relationship with the consumers of that software and having them closely engaged with its delivery would be a huge plus.

Luckily for me such organisations do exist. One of them is a proprietary trading firm (basically a bunch of partners trading their own money) called DRW Trading, and it works a bit like this: The partners want to trade, so they have traders. In order to trade well the traders need to work with good financial models, so they have analysts who build those models. In order to trade effectively with these models they need good software, so they have programmers who build the software. That’s about it.

The software development value stream is something like: - I’ve had an idea for something that will make money. - Ok, here’s some software. - Thanks.

The procurement process seems equally onerous: - I need a Thing. - You should get it then.

So there you have it. I’m taking a break from consulting, at least for a while, in order to rediscover good old-fashioned software delivery. I’m going to be doing a lot less on the conference circuit, although I don’t intend to vanish altogether, and hopefully I’ll be blogging and writing more now I’m doing less travelling and feeling less exhausted all the time.

Obviously I no longer have a ThoughtWorks email address, but you can contact me at daniel@dannorth.net or I’m occasionally on Twitter as @tastapod. We now return you to your regular scheduled programme.