Mike MacDonagh's Blog

Somewhere in the overlap between software development, process improvement and psychology

All about me

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My name’s Mike MacDonagh, I’m the Technical Director of Soft Practice Ltd.

The views expressed in this blog are mine and are probably, but not necessarily, those of SP. I work via SP or partner organisations with both private and public sector organisations worldwide to help improve the way software is done.

Get in contact if you’d like me to work with you

I’m some way between a tools geek, process geek, (post-)agile geek, psychology geek and programming geek.

I work with both private and public sector organisations worldwide to help improve the way software is done.

I’m a UK based consultant with over 10 years experience in the software industry enabling teams in the adoption of various software engineering practices and associated toolsets – providing training, consultancy and support in both small teams and entire development organisations (1000s) – scaling agility and lean concepts at the organisational level and de-conflicting them with portfolio, programme and project management.

I specialise agile, lean and iterative methods and practices ranging through the practical implementation of scrum, kanban and RUP, business and system analysis covering both use cases and user stories (often together), requirements management, architecture and design as a sketch, iterative and continuous flow patterns and continuous integration practices. I don’t believe in slavishly following a process or meta-model but in collaboratively improving the software value stream.

I’m a co-Author and co-Founder of Holistic Software Engineering which brings together all of these things in one simple picture.

I’m the Technical Director of Holistic Software Consulting Ltd and also Soft Practice Ltd.

I’ve got deep expertise in various development tools such as (git, jenkins etc.) as well as commercial tools IBM (Rational toolset – RTC, RRC, RQM, RSA etc., Microsoft TFS) – I also make my own.

I’m interested in new technology, psychology, kung fu, music and guitar playing, travelling, philosophy, linguistics, close up magic, biology, maths, physics (especially astronomy and quantum physics) etc…

I’ve worked with number of high profile organisations, including leading financial services, accounting, central and local government, telecommunications, energy, manufacturing and retail organisations, providing services such as:

I’m interested in new technology, psychology, kung fu, music and guitar playing, travelling, philosophy, linguistics, close up magic, biology, maths, physics (especially astronomy and quantum physics) etc…

If you’ve worked with me or want to business network:View Mike MacDonagh's profile on LinkedIn

If you know me in real life:

Mike MacDonagh asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of all content on this blog


8 responses to “All about me

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  4. Peter Merrick February 7, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Hi Mike. Great site. Great resource.

    I’m educating myself on Ess-UP. Fun. I’ve studied the presentations. Thanks. I’m trying to get a personal definition in my head that would let me describe to somebody else ‘what exactly is the Kernel?’in the context of software engineering.

    So as I approach my own answer I have certain inputs (credit you). “Kernal defines a very small empty process”, “The kernal ensures common understanding across teams in a minimal way.” “Add practices into the kernel to produce different ‘starter packs'”.

    OK that’s what it does. So is it a kind of process template, a process class from which is built a process instance.

    Why: the kernel satisfies Customer, Tech team, Project staff and their personal needs in role.
    Who: customer, analyst, developer, tester, project lead.
    How: the kernel is satisfied by the practices

    We have some sense of a process model governing such things as customer (opportunity) dev team (spec’d sys, implemented sys, exe) project lead (team, backlog, project way of working).

    Are these then outcomes that are mapped from a particular practice? i.e. does the implementation of the product practice result in a instance picture of the customer opportunity? i.e. is there some mapping (non-1:1) that maps practice to kernel process concerns?

    Can you confirm I’m on the right track. If not, a steer back onto the road of truth.



    • mikemacd February 8, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Peter, good question!

      Although you can think of the kernel as a class that process instances are based on, the kernel itself is an instance of a minimal process. Adding practices is similar to adding aspects in aspect oriented software. The kernel provides a common language for all practices to talk with, with that in mind the lifecycle of a project can be defined as a set of state transitions through the alphas (or key progress indicators) and any lifecycle pattern (such as IECT) can be defined in this way.

      Therefore practices can be thought of as the mechanism to move an alpha state forward, so yes you’re right that outcomes are based on the application of specific practices but those outcomes are alpha state progressions as evidenced by work products.



  5. EscrimeLiban - ng January 12, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve been using your MMD WordPress Extension for 2 years now and it really works great! Thanks.
    Are you intending to built a multiple blog MMD Extension? It would be really great to be able to monitor several blogs at once.

    Nagi GHORRA

    • mikemacd January 12, 2012 at 9:20 am

      Hi, thanks for the feedback, I’m glad you like it 🙂 The current latest version supports multiple wordpress.com blogs, you can get it from the main Firefox addon site. It currently only works with one login at a time though and only with WordPress.com as a provider. Are those things you’d like to see change?



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