Emerging from Hibernation on the 4th of April

I always wanted to reach the top page of HackerNews with this blog. It’s one of my favourite sites, full of amazing articles, a variety of viewpoints, and intelligent commentary (most of the time anyway). So, to my delight and friend’s surprise/horror, my last blog post reached number 2 on HackerNews, and stayed on the front page for a whole day. The article (here and HN link here) explains why no-one really understands Technical Debt, and is co-authored with the wonderful Paidi O’Reilly and Stephen McCarthy at UCC. We had 20,000 reads, hundreds of comments across multiple platforms, and Grady Booch introduced me to Philip Kruchten on Twitter. Let me rephrase, the guy who gave OO programming its name introduced me to the guy who invented 4+1 Architectural views. I felt like I was joining an exclusive blogging club. Heady times indeed.

To capitalise on this success, I posted nothing for nine months. Life became busy (I had Covid among other things), work became busy, so the usual 5% of the time I spend on writing, running and listening to music became 0.5% for a while. One reason work was so busy, Workhuman is becoming more successful almost every month. We officially became a tech unicorn (a private company valued at over 1 billion dollars) last year. This means that we are recruiting, building new teams and delivering product at record rates, so less time for my typed brain debris. If you are interested in joining us, have a look here. We have on-site, hybrid and fully remote roles. We also always seem to have loads of cake. Just saying.

That said, a paper that Paidi, Stephen and I wrote last spring and summer got published at the HICSS conference in January 2022. I will emerge from hibernation on Monday the 4th of April to talk about our paper, at a Cork University Business School conference.

The paper is here, and discusses the link between Technical Debt, social unrest and the environment. I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions for future research. You can register for the conference here. It’s free and features an outstanding lineup (and me):

  • Alan D Duncan – Gartner Distinguished Vice President
  • Gar Mac Críosta – Chairperson, Public Health Advisory Committee at Linux Foundation Public Health
  • Ken Russell – Principal – Ericsson Global Digital Transformation Office
  • Ruairi O’Callaghan – Director – Global Command Center at Pfizer
  • Sharon Jones – Director, Kee Jones Ltd

Slides and links from the IASA BIL-T Conference

I am delighted to speak at the IASA BIL-T Conference (you can still register here), particularly given my earlier post about how we can make the best of the Covid Situation. Please drop me a line here or on Twitter of LinkedIn if you’d like to discuss, well, anything really.

Please thank a healthcare worker here . It only takes a couple of seconds, and gratitude helps both the giver and the receiver.

This is the essay from Ray Kurzweil on the Law of Accelerating Returns, detailed and fascinating. It will change the way you think about change! His paper on how his predictions have fared is fun and astonishing in parts here
The book Accelerate is a must read on building and scaling tech organisations and is here 

Merrill Chapmans book on Tech disasters is ‘In Search Of Stupidity’. It is hilarious and horrifying, and is available here.

The Cutter Journal article I wrote on Public Self Governance is available for free (after you enter your name and email) here .

Make it a great summer!


Conference Slides from the UCC Technical Debt presentation

I was delighted to present at the Information Systems Mini-Conference in UCC on Friday the 19th of June 2020. My research is concerned with Technical Debt and its impact on an organisation.

It was hosted by Cork University Business School and the Fantastic Dr. Paidi O’Reilly, with presentations from Dr Stephen McCarthy, Elaine Beare, Michael Twomey, Kieran O’Driscoll, Bernard Swierczyna, Kenneth Russell, and Keith Burton.

If you should like to discuss my research, technical debt or technology at workhuman, please get in touch via the contact form, Twitter or LinkedIn (preferably) here.


Rapid Change Reading List

Thank you to everybody who attended my talk at AtlanTec Virtual Festival of Technology. Particular thanks to the organising committee for putting on such a fantastic Virtual event. It was a great pleasure to talk about Rapid Change, a subject I am passionate about. There were a few requests for the reading list, so I’ve included the links below.

The most important link is the essay from Ray Kurzweil on the Law of Accelerating Returns, detailed and fascinating. It will change the way you think about change!  . 
His paper on how his predictions have fared is fun and astonishing in parts. 

The book Accelerate is a must read on building and scaling tech organisations

Merrill Chapmans book on tech disasters is called ‘In Search Of Stupidity. It is hilarious and horrifying, and is a truly wonderful history of tech disasters

The Cutter Journal article I wrote on Public Self Governance is available for free (after you enter your name and email) here .

One last word. Three days before the publication of my article in the Cutter Journal, the editor got in touch and asked if I had permission to use Ray Kurzweil’s diagram. I was in a panic, and I knew that there was no way I could get permission in time. I would have to replace it myself and rewrite the section, then have it re-edited and fact checked, probably missing the deadline and my opportunity. Getting published in this journal was an enormous deal to me as so many people who I look up to have published there (Kent Beck, Ward Cunningham, Alistair Cockburn to name a few).

I emailed the Kurzweil site and went to bed depressed. I awoke the next morning and found that Sarah, who works for Ray, had sent me a note telling me that Ray had given me permission to use the diagram. All he wanted in return was a copy of my article. 

Ray Kurzweil, visionary, genius, gentleman.


I’m speaking at the wonderful Atlantec Virtual Festival of Technology on Friday the 22nd of May

There is a wonderful Technology Event based in Galway called Atlantec. This festival of technology has been hugely successfully since 2015. Despite their impressive track record, they asked me to speak in person this year. Unfortunately, with the current Covid situation, the in person event is cancelled. Undeterred, the hosts have reacted positively and created an online event instead. It’s now a Virtual Festival of Technology and this free event and has a fantastic lineup here: https://atlantec.ie

It’s at 12:00 (BST) on Friday, a perfect companion to a lunchtime sandwich. Please click here to register  https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/atlantec-virtual-festival-30-tech-events-over-5-days-registration-104118994716?aff=AtlanTecVirtualFestival

I’ll present a decision process to assist with managing rapid change. In the process I’ll discuss Hurricane Katherina, drilling for Oil, Ray Kurzweil, a chessboard and Rochester, New York. Exponential growth of technology change is happening, and it’s vitally important to react to it before it consumes your technology department and eventually your firm. The Cutter Journal published my paper on Rapid change in the November 2019 issue, and the journal are making the paper free to access for all Atlantec attendees at https://www.cutter.com/offer/buffet-style-architecture-new-world-public-self-governance.