I help software professionals, teams and enterprises enhance agility in a digital world.
I inspire teams and individuals to try new approaches and techniques.
I help business and technology work as one.
I help introduce Agile software development.
I help digital teams reduce risk and delay, improve delivery and increase value delivered.
I’ve been called a Agile Expert, Agile Guru and Thought Leader, clients have a habit of calling me Agile Allan but I think of myself as an Agile Guide, helping others find better ways.
I call myself an Agile Guide – I guide people and organizations to greater agility. I provide coaching and direct advice on agile working to leaders and teams creating digital products (software!). The companies I work with come from many fields as different as healthcare and surveying. However, they all depend on software to deliver for their customers. Without software they are nothing.
I have a record of helping teams and managers improve delivery – meet deadlines, improve quality – and increase value delivered. Each case is different and some take longer to fix than others. Sometimes a few hours of agile advice can make a real difference, other times I give advice on agile over a period of months.
I love software, I love coding, but I don’t code any more. (Actually, I do code a little, for love.)
I devote my time to helping make making software better. In my mind when I’m teaching, advising, coaching, consulting I’m helping the person I used to be. When I see programmers at work I see my younger self. And I want them to do a great job, I want them to be able to do a better job than I ever did.
And I happen to think I know the answer. Most people call that answer agile, and I believe the thing we call agile is the best way we know to help improve software teams. Improving software teams improves the business.
Because it isn’t about information technology any more. It is digital, and digital means software. If you want your business to be better you need to improve the software so it helps to improve the way that software is made.
What I do
I guide individuals and teams towards better ways of working, ways which go by the name of agile – although I’m not precious about the agile word (I hate it in fact! Its about making software development better!)
I write books about agile, software development and software products.
I give advice as a coach and consultant: sometimes to individuals and sometimes to teams.
I inspire: I speak, I explain, I evangelise, I … attend a lot of meet-ups and conferences.
I give training workshops and seminars on agile and techniques in agile. I’ve given a plenty of face-to-face training over the last few years but now, in 2020, that is mostly on-line.
“This isn’t mystic meg stuff, I can bring a project in to the day”
So said a manager I helped with some years back.
I have helped clients achieve greater predictability in work, meet deadlines and increase productivity.
I’ve inspired individuals, and whole teams, to change how they work, to adopt agile techniques and work more effectively.
I work with individuals so they understand and perform their roles better. I’ve helped companies grow, win business, find new markets and simply get stuff to customers.
I’m famous for…
- Writing the essay “Dear Customer, the truth about IT”
- The Cornish Software Mines: helping many many companies in Cornwall “get Agile” and co-founding the Agile on the Beach conference.
- Describing Diseconomies of Scale in software development.
- Co-founding the #NoProjects movement
- Retrospective Dialogue Sheets, followed by Team Retrospective Cards
And writing seven books (to date).
How did I get here?
Once upon a time I was a programmer, people I worked with thought I was quite a good one. I was part of a team building a hand-held PC, which was a big deal in 1991. I worked on electricity modelling, I wrote programs for railway timetables, software for banks and real-time data feeds for Reuters. I built secure e-mail systems and mobile phone network diagnostic tools.
The code was not the problem, the problem was the way the team was set up, the problem was the way we were asked to work, or the way work reached us. To fix that problem I needed to become a manager… but I didn’t want to be a foolish manager like all the ones I’d worked for before so I got myself a management qualification.
And while I was getting that qualification I discovered that modern management thinking was very close to the then newly emerging field of “agile software development.” When I looked back at my experiences so much of the good times matched the thing we call agile.
A long time ago
I started coding in 1982 on a Sinclair ZX81. By 1986 I was earning money as a regular contributor to BBC Telesoftware – PDP, PDR, Eclipse, Fonts, Demon’s Tomb, EMACS (no, not that emacs), Snapshot and Femcoms to name a few, mostly in 6502 assembler.
In 1989 I was a system administrator with Nixdorf Computer. In 1991 I was a software tester at DIP in Guildford building the Sharp PC-3000. Even as an undergraduate I was hired by the University to help teach other undergraduates and occasionally post-graduates.
In 1992 I graduated and my career really began: Southern Electric PLC, Sema Group, Dodge Group, BZW (part of Barclays), Reuters, two years in Silicon Valley (dot.com bust!) and Actix. I’ve worked all over.
- BSc Combined Science (computing, economics and politics) from Leicester University
- Master in Business Administration from Nottingham University Business School
I’m an accredited Kanban Coach, a Kanban Certified Professional and hold a Kanban KMP II certificate.
O, one more thing… I’m dyslexic. I traditionally I don’t make a thing about. As I understand my dyslexia more and more I see where it makes me the person I am. I don’t consider dyslexia a disability in any way, in fact I tend towards the reverse. Sure it means spelling and grammar are foreign to me but it also means I’m better in other ways.
I work thorugh my own company, Software Strategy Ltd. For a few years Software Strategy used the trading name Allan Kelly Associates, as of mid-2021 the trading name is being dropped and the original name Software Strategy will be used.
Software Strategy Ltd. is a UK limited company registration number 617705.