Presentations

These are presentations I regularly give at conferences and user groups. If you are interested in one of these or a talk on a specific subject, let me know.

Teamwork Ain't Always Easy

Structure

Session Length
  90/120 minutes

Audience
  All

Skill Level
  Beginner

Keywords
  Teamwork
  Collaboration
  Decision Making

Synopsis

Teamwork ain’t always easy. From meetings where everybody has something to say but nothing gets done to poor decisions being made because the most senior or most forceful team member won the argument; sometimes you long for the days of high-walled cubicles and lone ranger coding. Long no more.

In this workshop, you will learn a few simple techniques that drastically improve a team’s ability to work together toward common goals with less conflict and more genuine collaboration.

Slide Deck

Agile Metrics - Velocity is NOT the Goal

Structure

Session Length
  60/70 minutes

Audience
  Developer/Business

Skill Level
  Intermediate

Keywords
  Metrics
  Project Management
  Lean
  Agile

Synopsis

Velocity is one of the most common metrics used-and one of the most commonly misused-on agile projects. Velocity is simply a measurement of speed in a given direction-the rate at which a team is delivering toward a product release. As with a vehicle en route to a particular destination, increasing the speed may appear to ensure a timely arrival. However, that assumption is dangerous because it ignores the risks with higher speeds. And while it’s easy to increase a vehicle’s speed, where exactly is the accelerator on a software team? Michael “Doc" Norton walks us through the Hawthorne Effect and Goodhart’s Law to explain why setting goals for velocity can actually hurt a project's chances. Take a look at what can negatively impact velocity, ways to stabilize fluctuating velocity, and methods to improve velocity without the risks. Leave with a toolkit of additional metrics that, coupled with velocity, give a better view of the project's overall health.

Slide Deck


The Technical Debt Trap

Structure

Session Length
  60/70 minutes

Audience
  Developer/Business

Skill Level
  Beginner

Keywords
  Technical Debt
  Emergent Design
  Clean Code
  Refactoring

Synopsis

Technical Debt has become a catch-all phrase for any code that needs to be re-worked. Much like Refactoring has become a catch-all phrase for any activity that involves changing code. These fundamental misunderstandings and comfortable yet mis-applied metaphors have resulted in a plethora of poor decisions. What is technical debt? What is not technical debt? Why should we care? What is the cost of misunderstanding? What do we do about it? Doc discusses the origins of the metaphor, what it means today, and how we properly identify and manage technical debt.

Slide Deck


Take Control of your Development Career

Structure

Session Length
  60/70 minutes

Audience
  Developer

Skill Level
  Beginner

Keywords
  Career Management
  Craftsmanship
  Kata
  Learning
Also given at Oredev, this talk lead to an interview with the .NET Rocks! crew. This particular talk is of significant importance to me. Too many developers feel trapped, disempowered, or unsupported. It need not be this way. Take control!

Synopsis

As developers, we tend to spend a lot of time focused on languages, frameworks, and tools. But few of us spend time thinking about our careers or personal growth. Michael "Doc" Norton talks about simple things you can do today that pay off in a big way tomorrow. Take control of your Development Career. Be the developer you wanted to be. It is easier than you might think.

Slide Deck

What Business Can Learn From Software Development

Structure

Session Length
  25 minutes

Skill Level
  Beginner

Keywords
  Software Development
  Mythical Man Month
  Business
  Lean / Agile
  Organizational Change
This talk was given at TEDxLakeshoreEast in Chicago.

Synopsis

Software Development is notoriously expensive and unreliable. There are innumerable stories of cost overruns, missed deadlines, and just plain bad software. But what if software is merely a reflection of the organization that built it? What if the software is broken because the company is broken? The structures and practices that make for good software are the same structures and practices that make for good companies. Doc explores a few of these structures and practices and shows how they can be applied to business.

Video