Hi, I’m Richard Lawrence. Here’s a bit about me and a guide to navigating the content on this blog.
I’m a second-generation software developer. Thanks to my programmer dad, I learned binary and decimal numbers at about the same time. By 6th grade, I was programming in BASIC, and soon after, Pascal. I got into web development when my only browser was Lynx and my connection was pretty slow dial-up. On my way to a PhD in Government (or something similar), my wife had our first son and I needed to start bringing in some money. It was the middle of the dotcom boom and I had that programming background, so instead of taking a job at Starbucks, I started working for a web design firm.
One big, bad waterfall project sent me looking for a better way to do software development, and I discovered XP (in about 2001). That changed everything for me. Since then, I’ve picked up Scrum, Lean, and the Theory of Constraints and I’ve used them with almost three dozen teams as a developer, ScrumMaster, or coach. By 2006, I was spending more time helping other teams succeed with agile than running my own projects, and the move to full-time coach was a natural one. In early 2008, I became one of the first Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Coaches.
By the time I got to my Master’s thesis, I realized that the job I was doing just to pay the bills was much more interesting to me than the job options at the end of the PhD. So, I left academia behind for a career in software.
In August 2008, I struck out on my own and started Humanizing Work, a consulting firm focused on helping software organizations become happier and more productive. In June 2012, Humanizing Work merged with Agile For All. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great clients. I’m always looking for more software organizations who see what’s possible and would like help making it a reality.
I’m married (since 1998) and have three boys (born in 2000, 2002, and 2004). I live in the Stapleton neighborhood of Denver, which is all about community and fits what I’m about in work and life pretty well. I grew up in Orange County, CA. While I sometimes miss the beach and often miss my CA family, after over seven years in Denver, I can’t see moving back.
I really enjoy eating and cooking good food and drinking wine. I love cycling, tennis, disc golf, and ultimate frisbee. I play guitar, drums, bass, and mandolin, but not nearly as often as I’d like.
Where to Find Me
You can follow me on Twitter.
This, obviously, is my blog. Over on the right, you can subscribe to my RSS feed or sign-up to get new posts by email.
I’m on LinkedIn. If know each other, we’ve done business together, or we should be doing business together, add me as a connection. (If we don’t already know each other, please explain why we should connect. I get the open networking argument, but I think it causes a Tragedy of the Commons problem for LinkedIn, and I’d like to see the LinkedIn model not break.)
I’m on Facebook. If we know each other, add me as a friend. (My Facebook profile is more personal than professional, so I stick with people I know in the “real world.”)
In the aforementioned “real world,” you might find me at Agile Denver, Denver APLN, Boulder Agile Meetup, and SQuAD events. Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself. I look pretty much like the photo above.
Top Posts and Topics
Scrum & Scrum Meetings
I’m a Certified Scrum Coach, and I’m passionate about helping Scrum teams work more effectively. Here are some of my top posts about Scrum, Scrum roles, and Scrum meetings:
Why Longer Sprints Probably Won’t Help
7 Tips for a More Effective Daily Scrum
One Word Can Change Your Daily Scrum
How to Give a Great Sprint Demo
Are the Product Owner and ScrumMaster’s Interests Opposed?
A Common, but Bad, Idea
In my consulting practice, I’m seeing more and more teams suffering from weak Product Owners who are unable to define a high-value product for their teams to build. I spend a lot of time training and coaching Product Owners and teams to get better at this stuff. And I write about it frequently here.
Behavior Driven Development (or Acceptance Test Driven Development)
One of the best ways I’ve found for Product Owners to communicate with teams is through tests. Here are some posts on the tools and practices around that, with an emphasis on Cucumber, my favorite BDD tool.
Getting Started with Ruby, Cucumber, and Capybara on Windows
Cucumber Regular Expressions Cheat Sheet
Cucumber Tip: Key-Value Tables
Cucumber Tip: IRB From Inside a Step Definition
Web Testing for .NET Teams: WatiN or Watir?
A Common, but Bad, Idea
Making Work Better
I called my company Humanizing Work because I believe that the power behind approaches like Scrum and XP is in that they align work with the people who do it. They’re an answer to the question, “How should we organize work given that it’s done by humans and not machines?”
Kill the Office, or Fix It?
Tech work is messed up…and we can fix it
How Multitasking Guarantees Low Customer Satisfaction
New Benjamin Zander Video – “How Fascinating!”
Benjamin Zander at TED