Positive Incline Mike Burrows (@asplake) moving on up, positively

January 3, 2015

Two years on

Filed under: Books,Kanban,Values,Work — Tags: , , , , — Mike @ 10:45 am

I deliberately delayed the usual end-of-year review to today, the 3rd of January. It’s the second anniversary of my post Introducing Kanban through its Values and I was curious to see how well it was holding up. It is after all the seed that grew into my personal highlight of 2014, the publication in September of my book Kanban from the Inside.

Although the margin isn’t huge, I am not at all surprised to find that this two year old post tops the list of most-read pages of 2014:

  1. Introducing Kanban through its values
  2. Kanban Values exercise released
  3. My book: Kanban from the Inside
  4. STATIK, Kanban’s hidden gem
  5. Announcing Featureban
  6. “How deep” rebooted: values-based depth assessment
  7. Kanban: values, understanding & purpose
  8. Pulling change through the system
  9. A process of knowledge discovery
  10. Understand motivation for change

#7 is representative of 2013 – a followup to #1 and part of a journey of rapid exploration. The 2014 posts represent the fruit of that earlier work, ideas and tools rounded out and made reusable through the writing of my book. I’m thrilled that others refer to STATIK without my prompting (I declared it a success in July). The values exercise and Featureban are popular on slideshare. Matt Phillip flew across to Europe to describe (among other things) his company’s use of the assessment tool (see his deck The Kanban Iceberg; the video of his London talk should be available soon).

What does 2015 hold? For the next three months at least, more delivery management work with Valtech on UK government digital projects. Some private training classes no doubt, and (fingers crossed) a new 1-day public class “Inside Kanban”, probably in partnership with our growing community of UK-based training providers. I have other irons in the fire, but beyond March I’m still open to offers, whether it’s consultancy, training, or interim management.

In the meantime we’re moving house. A second foster daughter joined our family last year, and a Georgian cottage built into a Derbyshire hillside no longer meets our accessibility requirements. The new house is a bungalow on the edge of Wingerworth – still Derbyshire, but flatter and much closer to motorway and intercity railway links. Can’t wait!

August 28, 2012

Upcoming: September means Lean Agile Scotland & more

Filed under: Kanban,lean,Training — Tags: , , , , — Mike @ 8:07 pm

Lean Agile Scotland takes place in 21st-22nd September in Edinburgh with a programme that looks fantastic – great job guys! I’ll be there, giving the shorter (or at least faster), 45-minute version of my talk “Kanban the Hard Way”.  Get by touch by September 6th if you’re thinking of attending – and you definitely should – you can get a 10% discount on the ticket price with my promo code.

I’m on the pre-conference programme too with the accredited 2-day class “Successful evolutionary change with Kanban” taking place 19th-20th September.  It’s probably the last class I’ll give before December (in London), Edinburgh’s a wonderful city, so why not check it out?

Those events aside, client work keeps me busy.  Can’t talk about it, but it’s good…

December 30, 2011

2011: Another big year

Some highlights (the work-related ones anyway):

  • Feb: Set up Positive Incline Limited
  • Feb: Kanban Leadership Workshop (aka Kanban Coaching Workshop) with David Anderson in London
  • Mar-Sep: Continued part-time dev management role in Budapest, Hungary (and a big thank you to my former colleagues at Encore International, now part of M&C Energy Group)
  • Mar-May: Kanban consultancy in Johannesburg, South Africa as a DJA&A associate
  • Jun: The Kanban Leadership Retreat in Reykjavic, Iceland (#klris)
  • Oct-Nov: The Lean/Kanban conferences in Antwerp and Munich and the LESS conference in Stockholm (#lkbe11, #lkce11 and #less2011 respectively)
  • Nov: Speaking to my local (Matlock) business networking group about Kanban. Not just for techies! (#MBCnetworking)
  • Dec: Joined DJA&A full-time (more on that next year)
  • Dec: Leading my first 2-day DJA&A Kanban class in London

Top posts of 2011:

Older posts still going strong:

February 28, 2011

Positive Incline Limited

Filed under: Kanban,lean,Project Management,Work — Tags: , , , , — Mike @ 9:38 pm

Not just a blog, from March 1st Positive Incline is a multi-client management consultancy :–)

My specialties:

  • IT/product development process design, organisation, operation and improvement
  • Kanban, Lean, Agile development
  • The design and implementation of business process and quality improvement initiatives

My biases will be familiar to regular readers:

  • Speed, flow
  • Transparency, visualisation
  • Observation, evidence, feedback loops
  • Continuous learning & relentless improvement
  • Customer focus (getting right behind the sources of demand)
  • Sound project/process economics

I come from a development background (I still love programming); a former development manager, product manager and leader of change initiatives.

My job is to help you understand your organisation’s systems more deeply (not just conceptually, but how they really behave in practice) and to help find both improvements and ways to keep them improving for the longer term.  Look elsewhere if you want an off-the-shelf solution laden with jargon or lots of acronyms!

July 13, 2009


Filed under: Web Integration,Work — Tags: , , , , , — Mike @ 11:12 am

Yes, things are a bit slow on the blog front at the moment. Excuses: we move to a Georgian cottage in the Derbyshire Dales on Wednesday, I start an exciting new job on August 3rd (more on that nearer the time), and we have a new miniature schnauzer puppy named Klaus!

I haven’t forgotten described_routes and path-to though. There’s a serious link header tidy-up underway that delivers an efficient discovery protocol. Details to follow…

All in all, I’ve had a very enjoyable and quite productive 3 month break from full-time work. As well as the Ruby and Python programming I’ve been hanging out (as @asplake) with the #kanban guys on Twitter – a great bunch of people – and enjoyed @dpjoyce’s SkillsMatter presentation on kanban at the BBC in person a few weeks ago. It has also been good to clear the house of clutter (how Lean is that!), though to be honest, most of the credit for that goes to my very hardworking wife Sharon, who has been wonderful throughout this period of great change. Credit too to my teenage boys for agreeing to take this leap into the unknown!

April 30, 2009

Moving on up

Filed under: Project Management,Web Integration,Work — Tags: , , , , — Mike @ 4:10 pm

Tough times in the City of London, and I am “no longer required in the office”. The ugly black cloud hanging over the financial services industry (and investment banking in particular) has a major silver lining for me though: it creates the exciting opportunity to move to the beautiful Derbyshire Dales, and closer to my wife’s family. More on that closer to the time.

Meanwhile, if your organisation needs an effective technical leader (development manager, programme manager, agile project manager) with a strong sense for architecture, perhaps you should consider me. I enjoy travel, but I will need work that is either reasonably local (Chesterfield, Derby, Sheffield, Nottingham, say) or can be done mainly from home (Matlock Bath).

Why hire me?

I’ve been doing the “protocols and formats” thing for several years, with influence or direct control over integration protocols at enterprise and consortium level for the past eight or so years.  Returning to real-time front office development three years ago, I embraced REST as a tool for architectural improvement, reusability, testability, scriptability and so on.  So hire me if you need a system architecture that values these things over specific technologies.

I’m also big on learning, and although I do spend a lot of time reading and experimenting around my chosen areas of interest (to which my blog I hope testifies), this is not just for myself.  I have coached individuals and organised and empowered teams large and small for continuous improvement, and have had considerable success at improvement projects around capacity, reliability, business process and development process.  Again, some of these projects have had enterprise-wide impact.  So hire me (even for a short time) and know that I will leave your teams in good shape.

For further details, LinkedIn has a career summary, CV on request to mjb@asplake.co.uk.

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