The first few months of this year were an awesome ride. I accomplished some things that were hard to do for me, but also hat to take some hard decisions. Here, I want to write about a few things that happened so far, and how I plan to move on…

This is a mostly personal post. I hope you still find it interesting. Ping me on Twitter to give me feedback (link at the bottom)…

Accomplishment: A Book

I finished and self-published my second book this year. The first one happened by accient. Ok, not really by accident, but I did not really plan to write it.

The second book, Quick Glance At: Agile Anti-Patterns was a planned project.

I kind-of knew that I did not want to do it with a publisher, after a very stressful experience in the past. But after I recognized that self-publishing is not that hard, I decided to write a book about agile software development.

I started and wrote some chapters. And I did not really like what was emerging. Then I had the idea with the anti-patterns. So, I threw everything away and started over.

I poured a lot of effort and money into it (e.g. I hired a very talented illustrator). And in early 2018, I finished it. Have a look at it here (ebook and paperback available): Quick Glance At: Agile Anti-Patterns

Decision: Employee or Not?

One of the most interesting companies I know asked me to come to an interview. After that interview, I faced the toughest decision of this year (at least so far).

I never really considered full-time employment. I have been a freelance consultant and coach for over ten years now. And, had you asked me last year if I wanted to become and employee, I would probably have answered: “Not really, except maybe at [names of three or four interesting companies]”.

Don’t get me wrong: I think that many more companies do great work and work on interesting problems. But… I think, in many cases I can provide more value (and have a better chance of doing what I am good at) as an external consultant.

Anyways, when one of the very few companies invited me for an interview, I had to go. A short time later, I told them: For now, I want to stay independent.

This was a hard decision: They work on really interesting problems, have a great engineering culture and there would have been many people I could learn from.

But in the last few years I have tried to learn and improve a few things my clients usually need help with, and for now, I want to build on them.

I have tried to get good at coaching teams, teaching them technical practices like Test-Drive Development or refactoring, practicing pair-programming or mob-programming, dealing with legacy code and facilitating meetings and discussions. And, at least for now, I want to learn even more in those areas and help my clients to get better with that.

(Does agile coaching or technical coaching sound like something your team or organization might need? Let’s talk…)

Conferences, Meetups, …

I am speaking at a lot of conferences and meetups this year - At least compared to past years. While I really enjoy it, it’s also exhausting. And hard to coordinate with my family.

My topics this year are about software quality and it’s relationship to speed, cost and agility, agile anti-patterns, and also technical topics like React and Redux.

Do you want me to speak at your event? I would love to do that. Let’s talk… - Bonus points if you make sure that you have an enforcable Code of Conduct in place, don’t make me #paytospeak and if you at least try to create a diverse event.

SoCraTes Austria

I am, for the third time, co-organizing the Software Crafting and Testing (SoCraTes) Austria, together with Elisabeth Rosemann and Rene Pirringer. Ever after visiting the “original” SoCraTes Conference in Germany, I wanted to organize such an Event in Austria.

And I am very glad that Elisabeth and Rene (and some others who advise us) joined me, because without them, I could not do it.

And I am also glad that they share my passion about creating a diverse and safe event. We put some considerable energy into making this conference interesting and accessible for everyone. We serve vegan food, have an enforcable code of conduct, an accessible venue, and we offer student discounts (ask me) and a diversity tickets campaign. And we are working on getting better every year.

This year, things are looking good so far: We have already sold as many tickets as in the first year (2 years ago), and we hope the conference will be sold out for the first time (100 attendees). And we already have enough sponsors so we can make the conference happen, but there are still a few sponsor packages left.

Are you interested in coming? Buy your ticket now ;).

And Now?

This year, I want to do more blogging again.

I have migrated my two blogs (this one and to a new technology technology, and I have completely re-designed them. And now I want to come back to at least a weekly blogging schedule.

I will also revive my newsletter. So, if you want to stay in touch, subscribe here or follow me on Twitter.

And, almost most importantly: A really big contract will end this summer (because of a customer policy). So, I had to think about how to proceed professionally. But first, I probably will take a lot of time off in August in September, to spend with my family, go to conferences and to play with new technology.

Then, in mid-September or so, I want to start doing client work again. But this time, I would prefer more, smaller assignments instead of a single big one.

I think I can provide a lot of value for teams as an agile coach or a technical coach, even if I am there only for a few days per week - or even per month. We can pair-program or mob-program. By doing that, we will practice pair programming, mob programming, object oriented design, continuous refactoring, test driven development and more.

Or, I can help teams communicate better, find and solve problems and anti-patterns, facilitate meetings, …

Is this something that might be interesting? Autumn will be there sooner than you think, so let’s start to talk now.