About Me

My Scrum Alliance profile can be found here: http://www.scrumalliance.org/profiles/11-kane-mar, and my LinkedIn profile can be found here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kanemar

I started my career in software immediately after leaving university in 1990. I started out as a software developer and worked on a wide variety of different projects and platforms including: Automated Mapping/Facilities Management (AM/FM) systems for Hongkong Electric; billing systems for Telecom NZ; and a collections management system for Te Papa Tongarewa (the National Museum of New Zealand in Wellington).

After a few years I noticed that a large percentage of my projects (about 20%) were never released into production; either the project was cancelled for political reasons; or the code that I wrote was poor quality; or the customer had simply changed his mind. I thought about this problem for a while and I decided that I need more control over what I was doing. I can to the conclusion that the only way to obtain more control was to move into project management.

Throughout the 90’s (especially the early 90’s) waterfall was the predominate methodology. Rational Unified Process (RUP), only became popular in the late 90’s even though Ivan Jaccobsen’s book on Objectory (the pre-cursor to RUP) was published in ’92.

And so, I became a waterfall Project Manager.

One of the most successful waterfall projects that I was involved with was Land Online a project for Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). LINZ is a department of the New Zealand government that maintains a central register of land title transactions and cadastral surveys. This was medium sized project (of about 100 people) and the initial phase spanned about 3 year. The LandOnline project was finally rolled into production in 2000.

LandOnline was a success in may ways, and I personally learnt many valuable lessons from it. I learnt that customer involvement is crucial and I was luck to work with some to the best land information people in New Zealand including Neil Early, Ralph Winmill, Dave Morris, Heather Dougherty, Phil Davison, Don Grant and Tadeusz Dawidowski.

I also realized that it is absolutely possible to successfully deliver a waterfall project, but that a lot of compromises both personal and professional need to be made in order to do so.

The final waterfall project that I was involved in was an Operational Support System (OSS) from Rhythms.Net in Englewood, Colorado. This project had every single problem that we now know are common to waterfall projects and the end result was predictably disastrous. If you haven’t heard of Rhythms here‘s why.

After my Rhythms experience I decided that there had to be a better way in which to deliver software. I started looking around and was lucky enough to discover the Agile software development community. I was working with ThoughtWorks when I first worked with Ken Schwaber in 2001, and this article was the result. It’s also available in a print friendly format here.

For several years I travelled the US working on Extreme Programming (XP) projects for a number of clients including Capital One, MetLife, NationWide, and TransCanada to name just a few clients. It was a time of great change and learning. I had a difficult relationship with ThoughtWorks and I met some great people there, so I won’t say anything more on the subject.

The last few years have been very productive and busy for me. I started this blog (2005), became a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST, 2006) , became a Certified Scrum Coach (CSC, 2007) and started Seattle Scrum (2007). I’m looking forward to 2008; it’s going to be another busy year. I’ve got several articles in progress that I think are going to be interesting. At least, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

15 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi there. I’m doing a project on how to implement agile methods in enterprises and the possible challenges and difficulties. Can you suggest some reading or papers?!

    Great writing on “An Enterprise Strategy for Introducing Agile”

    thanks in advance.

    Mauro – Portugal (Univ. of Minho)

  2. >I’m doing a project on how to implement agile methods in
    > enterprises and the possible challenges and difficulties. Can
    > you suggest some reading or papers?!

    There is a lack of material, in general, on introducing Agile methods into an enterprise. I believe this is most likely due to the diverse nature of organizations and the differing context of their challenges.

    There are two references that immediately come to mind that may be of use to you.

    [1] The first is a white paper that Hubert Smits (another Scrum Trainer) wrote, and which you can find here:


    [2] The second reference is far more general, but I personally found it far more useful, and that is the book “Maverick” by Ricardo Semler. It’s one of my favourite books.

    Best of luck with the transition, and please let me know how it goes.

    All the best,

  3. Hi again.😉

    Maybe i didn’t explained my self very well… the project I’m doing is a school project, although the objective is using it on the company I’m working on.

    I’m trying to define a framework/process for adopting agile methods on enterprises and I’m using some of the ideas you suggested. Hope there is no problem.

    I’m still working on the process to adopt agile methods. One of the things it got me thinking was… “How about the company risks?!?” success is not 100% guaranteed, right? And what about the roles… Which roles are assign at each stage and to who??

    The lack of professional experience don’t allow me to respond to some of these questions… Can you give me some help or guidelines?

    Thanks in advanced.

    Best regards,

    Mauro Almeida

    PS – if you want you can contact me to my email.

  4. Hi Kane !

    Gosh , how fast time flys. Thanx for those kind words about the LINZ staff. You would be pleased to know that LP3 (LandOnline Phase three) – Release 3.1 has just gone into production which is the final release of all titles functionality – yes, that bloody titles “wiring diagram” is now complete! The 3.1 was the 21st release of the application since April 2000. The most important aspect is that from Feb 2009 , it will be mandatory for all titles transaction to be submitted digitally – (survey went mandatory sept 2007) -a world first !

    Heather, Brett, and I are still with LINZ and LandOnline and we all had major parts in this final success (as did Karla Beatson who was the PM for IBM – she did a great job, and Lester Slee).

    We are all a bit older, wiser (we hope) and cannot believe that this journey took approx 10 yrs!

    I will know browse through your very interesting web site – look fwd to hearing from you.

    I have passed on your url to Brett and Heather so i am sure you will hear from them as well.



  5. Hey Kane,
    Just had our first meeting at MTC about adopting one of the agile methodologies. It will be quite a stunt if we can pull it off. The company just went CMMI through and through. Tons of heavy process. They are finding the cost too high and they beleive that agile will relieve that. As you and I have discussed in the past, I don’t beleive an agile process is any cheaper but I do beleive there is less risk in an end product that meets the customers expectations than with most other processes. Wish us luck buddy. I am on the committee driving this. I have already brought your name up as a possible resourse.

    I hope you and the family are well.


  6. Is Agile Development a joke?…

    Big fat disclaimer: I’m a Scrum Trainer and Coach … which means I make my living working with this stuff. I genuinely believe Agile software development to be a better way to deliver software … it saved me from leaving the software [1] industry. I…

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