An information radiator for the Agile Alliance
3 Ways to Take
the XP Plunge
Deliver true iteration quality The water’s fine!
Create an agile organization
Don’t demand pair programming
12 Checks and Balances 5 Face-to-Face
Bring the power of QA to your Agile You’ll want to mark your calendar
processes to ensure that your itera- for these Agile events.
tive releases are production ready.
by Damon Carr 6 User Stories
6 Cooking Up Some Agile Planning
16 Take the XP plunge! by Laura M. Waite & Paul K. Goddard
When you’re ready to test the XP
waters, pick a style that suits you and 9 Agile Gets Lean
venture in at your own pace. by Kent by Roman Pichler
Beck and Cynthia Andres 26 Through the Looking Glass
by Lori Schubring
21 Informed Consent
Use the decision-making principles of 29 Context
sociocracy to create an organization Every Agile project needs a solid
that is as agile as its software develop- background. Find out what Michele
ment practices. by Gareth Powell Sliger is reading to strengthen her
Rebecca Traeger 30 Refactor
Proofreader In this issue, Alex Pukinskis reflects on
Heidi Amundson the wasted effort of selling reluctant
managers and developers on the
virtues of pair programming.
ia nce publica
An Agile All
Learn How to DEVELOPMENT
Beat the Odds L I F E C YC L E
on Your Next
Projects & Teams
J U N E 2 6 – 2 9 , 2 0 0 6 L A S V E G A S , N E VA DA S O U T H COA S T H OT E L & C A S I N O
K E Y N O T E S B Y I N T E R N AT I O N A L E X P E R T S • Discover the latest in software development
technologies, trends, and practices
Testing & Quality
• Attend pre-conference tutorials covering Assurance
Agile development, Scrum, traditional
Norm Kerth Michael Mah Linda Rising Luke Hohmann Joel Spolsky
Elite Systems QSM Associates Independent Luke Hohmann Fog Creek development, requirements, metrics,
Consultant Consulting Software
estimating, and project management
REGISTER NOW! • Network with experts, tools and service Security &
providers, and peers Special Topics
Editor’s Letter Lean – Agile
I’m so glad you downloaded the first issue of Development
AgileDevelopment magazine. I hope you are as excited as we Make sure your entire development team
are about the changes and the possibilities for the future. receives a consistent, integrated message
As you can see, the magazine is designed to be a virtual when learning Agility
whiteboard for the Agile Alliance. In its pages you will find in- Upcoming Courses
formation that is all relevant to the overall project we call Agile ScrumMaster Apr 19-20 Cupertino, CA
development. From features on delivering working software to Certification
May 2-3 Bellevue, WA
articles that show how individuals and interactions really are
May 23-24 Chicago, IL
valued above process and procedures, the concepts that were
Jun 28-29 San Francisco, CA
laid down five years ago in the now famous Agile Manifesto are
brought to life here. Aug 16-17 Bloomington, MN
Don’t miss our regular sections: Face-to-Face (events Sep 20-21 Cupertino, CA
where you can meet with peers and experts), Context (reviews Design Patterns Apr 11-13 Bellevue, WA
of books and articles that discuss Agile topics), User Stories Aug 15-17 Cupertino, CA
(tales from the Agile trenches), and Refactor (an Agile method Filling the Jun 7-8 Bloomington, MN
or process as seen from the perspective of hindsight). Customer Role
Aug 9-10 Cupertino, CA
If you’d like to comment or contribute, please feel free to Projects
email me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you. Lean Software Apr 19-20 Bellevue, WA
Jun 1-2 San Jose, CA
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AgileDevelopment | Spring 2006
Through the Looking Glass
Our long day’s journey into Agile
by Lori Schubring, ADS Manager, Bemis Manufacturing
They say a journey of a thousand miles Scrum. As I read, I found myself scrutinizing that are often in the hundreds of pages. An
begins with a single step. Our path to Agile the way we currently were approaching average project lasts anywhere from three
started back in early 2005 when I received software development. I wondered if it was months to three years. We currently pro-
an invitation to a free half-day seminar on possible to make Agile work for our organi- gram in RPG IV. All of our testing is manual.
Scrum. Intrigued, I attended. After the semi- zation. (Hey, at least we test.) All this is to say that
we are about as far away from Agile as one
nar, my interest was peaked and the ball Who We Are
was officially in motion. can be—all the more reason why Scrum
As the Application Development and
My next step was to enroll in the could be such an important change for us
Support Manager for a large manufacturing
Certified ScrumMaster Training course pre- to make.
company, I am responsible for coordinat-
sented by Ken Schwaber and Esther Derby ing and managing the efforts of both our Where We’ve Been
in Milwaukee. I invited two of my team support team (help desk) and our project About a year ago, we began to ques-
members along so they, too, could learn development group. We support, maintain, tion the value in our process. We encour-
what Scrum was all about. The course gave and enhance some 3300, mostly internal, aged our IS Applications Group to do the
me a valuable head start, but I still wanted applications. same. Several years ago, we had very little
more information before I made a commit- We use the traditional waterfall ap- control or process—things were just short
ment to change. proach to our software development life- of a free-for-all when it came to making
To further my Agile education, I read cycle, with the requisite multiple hand-offs program changes and getting them into
Ken’s book, Agile Project Management with and business and technical specifications production. In response, we went to the
6 AgileDevelopment | Spring 2006
other end of the spectrum and became
so formalized that we hindered our abil- “Mike helped us Mike Cohn, author of Agile
ity to remain flexible for the business. It move to a much Estimating and Planning and
got to the point where we weren’t turn- more progressive, User Stories Applied For Agile
ing around project requests fast enough: business-friendly
approach that has Software Development and
our process took so long people some-
paid enormous Mountain Goat Software
times thought the project had died when
in fact we were still working on it! dividends. I can’t specialize in the application
After our brief exposure to the imagine going of agile techniques to di cult
world of Agile, we began to look for ways back to the old software problems.
to be more flexible rather than letting way of developing
the process govern how we approached software.”
our projects. If it didn’t make sense to do Available courses include:
something for a particular project, we Mark Gutrich
CEO, ePlan Agile Estimating and Planning
encouraged the group to question it and
Services Certi ed ScrumMaster
think outside the box. If we didn’t need
a technical specification, we didn’t write User Stories for Agile Requirements
one. If we could combine the specifica- “Mike’s classes at Working On an Agile Team
tions into one document to minimize Yahoo! have been Agile Product Management
the documentation, we did just that. We incredibly useful.
started assigning the project team at I recommend him
to anyone who
training. mentoring. consulting.
the beginning of a project to minimize
hand-offs and the learning curve that is serious about
goes along with them. We have begun to implementing
move from narrative test plans to reus- Agile in their
able test plans and would love to get to organization.”
the point where we can automate our
We have been taking some very Bene eld
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goal of delivering value to the business Yahoo! www.mountaingoatsoftware.com
AgileDevelopment | Spring 2006
faster—but we still aren’t anywhere near had before. Unfortunately, despite all the I broke out in a sweat thinking about all
Agile. information I had received, I also left with of the different things that needed to be
even more questions. done.
Guides along the Way
On the flight home, I began to real- Since then, for every one question I
In July 2005, several of us attended
ize the challenges that lay ahead. I needed have asked and had answered, five more
Agile 2005 in Denver. It was a week of in-
to gain the support of our IT Director and questions have popped up. Luckily, every-
tense idea sharing and instruction that had
our Vice-President of Information Services. one I have been in contact with has been
more energy and passion than any other
I wanted to bring Mike Cohn in. I wanted to very generous in offering suggestions
conference I have ever been to in all my
change our structure and form Agile teams. and guidance on books, articles, websites,
fourteen years in the industry.
I needed to educate the business on what groups, and contacts to talk to and share
We all have helpmates on our jour-
the benefits of Agile were. I would have to information with.
ney, and fate stepped in to give us one: in
convince my group that Agile was going to Mike Cohn has been instrumental in
one session, I happened to select a seat
be a positive change and I would have to getting me in touch with individuals who
next to Lisa Owens from ePlan Services. We
provide them with books and information have already gone down the path I am on.
began to talk and, as luck would have it,
on what Agile and Scrum were all about. He suggested I join several Yahoo groups
she was already doing Scrum— and her of-
fice was a block away from the conference.
She took us on a field trip to better explain
their Scrum process and to show us their
Scrum board, burndown charts, retrospec-
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AgileDevelopment | Spring 2006
on Agile planning and Scrum development, also received information on the Wisconsin came to us and delivered four full days of
so I did that and began posting my ques- SPIN Group, a group dedicated to software training and consulting. We’re on the road.
tions to the groups. I purchased several process improvements who recently com- I had no idea what I was getting into
copies of Mike Cohn’s User Stories Applied pleted a four-part series on Agile. I have when this all started. Some days, the pic-
and Agile Estimating and Planning to share spent countless hours reading books and ture is still as clear as mud—well, maybe a
with my group. I am attempting to orga- visiting websites trying to absorb as much little more watered down. Still, I am making
nize a Wisconsin-based Agile user group information as possible. I have had confer- progress. Members of my group are start-
(another new adventure for me). I even ence calls with complete strangers willing ing to get excited about what Agile has to
created an “Agile Corner” complete with to share their experiences. It’s been great. offer as well.
whitepapers, diagrams, and other books Thanks to all of the resources and the Some might criticize our slow imple-
on Agile, lean software development, and helpful people we encountered along the mentation, but I purposely chose not to
teambuilding. We add to the corner as we way, we have persevered and change is rush into anything. Instead, I planned care-
come across new material. happening. fully and considered our team structure
I have received emails from different and skill sets, office layout, company cul-
Where We’re Going
individuals suggesting alternate reading, ture, and potential issues that might arise.
In October, I received approval to
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By Kent Beck
Take the XP Plunge!
Want to go eXtreme but can’t decide where to
start? Stop worrying and start changing.
XP promises relief from the pitfalls ming Explained: Embrace Change, 2nd Edition, big risky release into two smaller releases.
of traditional development projects. But, to describe three stereotypical ways teams Still other toe dippers begin by working on
when you’re ready to test the XP waters, take the XP plunge: Toe Dip, Cannonball, XP individually if the team is not ready.
how do you begin moving from how you and Racing Dive. The sidebar “XP’s Safe Starts” (page
work today toward an XP style of develop- Toe Dip 18) lists thirteen practices that are safe
ment? You want to start in the right place, places to start (covered in detail in XP
Some people and teams value con-
convince the right people, and “do it right” Explained, 2nd Edition). Any one of these
tinuity. They don’t want to let go with one
so you can reap all the benefits. However, “places” will provide some immediate im-
hand before they have a firm hold with the
this need to “do it right” can keep many other. When they begin XP they introduce provement, with minimum risk.
teams from doing anything at all. XP is a one practice at a time. They firmly instill If you are a toe dipper, think about
way forward; a way to find the courage that one practice before adding the next, the area you would most like to improve,
to embrace the challenges of change. XP while the rest of their development process find the practice that addresses that issue,
starts when you start and where you start. remains intact. They are toe dippers. and implement it on a trial basis. After a
Eight years of observing and coach- The gradual path into XP has many month or two, evaluate the effects of this
ing the application of XP has convinced me entrances. Some toe dippers make a point change, barriers you met, and successes
that there are as many ways of starting and of programming together in a conference you had, and share your experiences with
sustaining change as there are ways to get room several hours a day. Others have your support community. Then, refine or
into a swimming pool. Let’s stick with that developers write some automated tests as repeat the process to add the next most
analogy, as introduced in Extreme Program- they code. Some start by simply dividing a valuable practice.
Cannonball the confidence boost the team gets from a cannonball results in lasting improve-
gaining control on their own are all good ment depends not only on how the team
Some teams want quick results and
reasons to try a cannonball. Some of the does its work but also on how the rest of
are willing to deal with the chaos of radi-
chaos of the cannonball is mitigated by the organization responds to their change.
cal change as long as they are in control
the synergies between the practices. For Outside support can encourage a team to
of the changes to their software process.
instance, the practice of developer-written stick with their changes long enough to
These are the teams that start doing every
tests is invaluable
XP practice they can at full throttle. The
result is, predictably for the short term,
improving the de- XP: Dive Right In. The Water’s Fine!
chaos; but it can be constructive chaos.
sign of the system. What You Get:
Everyone is learning new techniques
One of the • Fewer defects
every day and those techniques interact challenges of man- • More predictability
in unpredictable ways. Some days work aging the cannon- • Greater flexibility
smoothly. Others days are akin to driving ball is that groups • Closer conformance between delivered features
in bumper-to-bumper traffic. After a sharp and actual needs
outside the team
• Shorter lead time for new features
learning curve, things settle into a much quickly feel the
more highly interactive and refined team ripples (or in some How It Works:
that is able to leap small buildings in a cases, waves) from • There are weekly milestone releases, each of
single bound. They produce more, make the team’s changes. which is technically ready to deploy.
fewer mistakes, and have confidence in All of a sudden, • Programmers, testers, and business experts write
their ability to handle challenges. automated tests that are exercised continuously.
the team will ask
• The whole team sits together in an open work-
The cannonball is attractive when for communication space.
you want a fresh start and there won’t be sooner and more • Project information is up-to-date and prominently
any catastrophic effects from the ensu- directly than they displayed.
ing chaos. If you are beginning a release used to. They will
that’s scheduled to take nine months, for likely break exist- What’s Hard:
ing power chains, • The radical departure from the way some histori-
instance, a cannonball might be a good
cally have developed software
choice. Conversely, it is not a good choice skipping across the
• The creative management necessary for large proj-
if you have just two weeks left before organizational chart ects requiring more people than fit comfortably in
deployment. to find the informa- one room
Amplified positive interactions tion they need to • Taking active responsibility for your work
between practices, quick turnaround, and succeed. Whether
12 AgileDevelopment | Spring 2006
XP’s Safe Starts see improvement and form new habits. rapid change, but they have the support of
Executive support for the change is es- someone who has been there before and
• Whole Team—the team includes
people with all the skills and con- sential for breaking organizational log who has the experience to eliminate some
nections it needs to succeed. jams. Otherwise you’ll have a frustrated of the pain and accelerate the learning.
• Sit Together—the team sits within team unable to grow because they can’t The racing dive is a good choice for
eye contact of each other. get the help they need. teams who want quick results but can’t af-
• Pair Programming—two people A limitation of learning XP on your ford as much floundering and chaos as the
share programming conversations. own is that teams sometimes can’t imag- cannonballers. It is also a good choice for
• Informative Workspace—plaster
the walls with up-to-date informa- ine how far they can take XP principles teams who want the effects of XP but don’t
tion about the project. and practices. I have pair programmed have the courage or persistence to make
• Weekly Planning—choose func- with self-taught XPers for whom test-first and sustain change on their own.
tionality to implement each week. programming and refactoring were a The main difficulty for the racing
• Quarterly Planning—set quarterly revelation. They didn’t realize just how dive is finding a compatible coach. Good
themes to be addressed by the tiny the steps could be, how many tests coaches can be hard to find. You need to
could profitably be written, and how find someone you are willing to work with
• Slack—include some optional
items in any schedule. often they could be run. and whose advice you trust. The biggest
• Test-first Programming—code by Teams that do cannonball success- downside I have seen to engaging a coach
writing a failing test, then making fully have a sense of pride and confi- is the tendency to fall back on old author-
the system satisfy the test. dence in their accomplishments and ity patterns, treating the coach as “the ex-
• Incremental Design—invest in flexibility. They know they can adapt to pert.” It is all too easy for a team to give up
the design only what is needed to whatever circumstances they encounter. responsibility for their work to the coach.
comfortably support today’s sto-
ries. Racing Dive Finding Your Style
• Stories—plan and track in incre- Teams that want quick results and Each of these strategies has its place.
ments of business functionality.
• Ten-minute Build—automatically are willing to trust outsiders often turn Since people have very different appetites
build and test as much of the sys- to XP coaches to learn a new style of for change; a team may not even agree on
tem as you can in ten minutes. working without the chaotic splash. A which strategy they are using—after all,
• Continuous Integration—inte- good coach can smooth out the rough one man’s toe dip is another man’s cannon-
grate your changes with the shared edges of your team’s entry and save you ball. Here are some questions to help you
code every couple of hours at some of the pain of learning. By “diving find a style and pace of change that will
in” with professional support, teams that meet your needs. Taking the time to think
• Energized Work—work and live so
you can bring energy to your work. use a professional coach still experience about and discuss these issues will smooth
13 AgileDevelopment | Spring 2006
your transition. related to that change. It takes awareness had little motivation to change their style
• How quickly do you need results? and persistence to stick with a change and of work until the programmers had demon-
• How dramatic do they need to be? follow through on its consequences in the strated improvement. Programmers had to
• What is the budget for outside help? face of pressure from those around you to get started with the parts of XP that were
make their lives “easier” by changing back. purely technical: test-first programming,
An antidote to chang- pair programming, continuous integration,
ing back is being account- incremental design. If you are a program-
able to a supportive com- mer wanting
No matter where you start, these devices will Lane Markers
munity. If the whole team support for
help you make the change to XP successfully. Guiding principles to
decides that they are going changing
1. Read XP Explained, 2nd Edition. This will keep your project glid-
to integrate their changes your style of
give you a shared vocabulary for the tech- ing along:
every hour, and how often work, show • Human speed—peo-
niques you are about to try.
2. Share what you have learned with others. people integrate is public why the ple can only change
Change happens best with the support of a knowledge, it’s much easier change is so fast. When that
like-minded community. to keep integrating often good both for speed is exceeded,
3. Make a public commitment to change. Call- even if it feels uncomfort- you and for they revert.
ing your shot in public is a great motivator to able or seems inconvenient. those from • Self-interest—peo-
stick with it when it gets hard. Even if you are the only one whom you ple need to see why
4. Make a plan for your changes. XP-style making a change, you will want support. the changes are in
planning is a good way to prioritize when find it easier if you partici- Share the their best interest.
you have many changes to make all at once. pate in an online commu- benefits you • Grow or die—
Start with the area you can best leverage. nity or attend your local know about change must spread
through an organiza-
area user’s group meeting. and what you
tion. If not, those
In time, rhythm replaces have learned
• How strong are the relationships both who have changed
strength. from others.
within the team and also between the will be forced to
team and the rest of the organization? Where you need to go to get support Get a com- recant or leave.
will be very different depending on your mitment for • Safety—people need
Regardless of the style you choose,
position in the organization and where the a trial. When to feel safe. They
once you make a change, beware of the
impetus for change began. In the early days you have tried need organizational
pressure to change back. When you make
of XP, almost all those wanting to apply it the change, support through both
a change, it puts a strain on surround-
were programmers out to improve their report back to the hiccups and the
ing people, resources, and organizations successes.
own work. Project managers and customers your support-
1 AgileDevelopment | Spring 2006
ers about how it went and what you would of them reminds you of times you’ve been Software development has just begun to
like to do next. especially effective at software develop- create value in business. These improve-
Increasingly, it is the business spon- ment, embrace it. Try it out yourself. Find ments are available to you as soon as you
sors who are asking for XP because they a buddy to try it with. Convince the team begin applying XP.
want to be able to see clearly into their to try it early. The result will be a change
projects, to detect problems early, and to process that intentionally meets your AUTHOR BIOS: Kent Beck has programmed for
be able to manage the scope of the system needs, instead of one driven solely by other thirty years. He lives in rural southern Oregon
as it evolves. For customers, the first prac- people’s agendas. with his wife (and co-author) Cynthia Andres,
tices to implement might be those related Whatever your circumstances— four of their five children, and a variable num-
to planning: weekly and quarterly planning, whether you go in fast or slow, whether ber of domestic fowl.
stories, and slack. To improve on-time deliv- you make a big splash or just a few ripples, Cynthia Andres has spent twenty years
eries, the technical people on the team will whether you have help or not—XP has observing the evolution of programming
need to begin applying the technical prac- something to offer you. Now is the time to culture. She works as a change facilitator.
tices, but establishing a shared understand- get started. Find a style of improvement She is co-author of Extreme Programming
ing of the evolving scope of the system can that suits you and begin the process today. Explained: Embrace Change 2nd edition.
be a big step toward working together.
Some people are in the position of
being forced to apply XP. If this describes
you, you’ll need to decide how you are
going to treat XP. You can resist or you can
make XP your own. Here is the case for try-
Immersive Training Project Delivery
ing XP when your instincts compel you to
resist. One of the principles in XP is mutual “XP is more craft than science; it is only truly
benefit. As Gandhi said, “Only that solution learned by experience.” Brian Robertson
is just that is in the best interest of all par- Work hand-in-hand with our Agile experts to
ties.” Changing to XP will likely be uncom- deliver your high priority project. Avoid the
pitfalls. Experience an environment where
fortable at times, but it should serve your Agile thrives. Visit www.InsideAgile.com
interests as well as those of the team and
the whole organization. Take advantage of
the opportunity to use XP to improve your
own work and practice. Take a look at the
practices listed in “XP’s Safe Starts.” If one The best way to learn Agile is to live it!
16 AgileDevelopment | Spring 2006
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our industry-leading positionmove. emerging Agile
appreciates a considered in the In return, we offer a highly competitive salary and benefits package, the ability to be based
and eXtreme space, and with the strongest of re- anywhere, including 'from home' and the chance to work on a wide variety of technically
lationships, we’re confident your next move exactly
We’re confident your next move will be will be challenging and rewarding projects.
exactly whathad in mind.
what you you had in mind and not just another
After all,all, it’s your move.
After it’s your move.
www.connectionsrecruit.co.uk For a copy of the complete job description, please visit our website at:
Freephone: 0800 028 5627 JOBS
and in the first instance call our advising consultant, Simon Voice at:
CONNECTIONS Connections Recruitment on 0118 989 7612 / 07774 626249
recruiting success and email your CV to: firstname.lastname@example.org