About Me

I'm Andrew Parker. A software engineer by training. A bike tourer, runner, baker, cook, painter, and woodworker by hobby. And an engineering leader by profession. I now offer my experience in creating engaged, highly-performing teams to create the tech organisation that you need. Get in touch and see how I can help.

The driving force behind what I do is curiosity and sharing what I know. I value everyone having the right information to make free and informed choices about their life and their work. Why? Because it helps us all lead better lives, run better businesses, and build better software.

I started my journey with software by learning how to use and do some simple programming (Turtle Tracks!) on a Commodore 64.

Eventually, I advanced to an 80286 with MSDOS 5 and I discovered QBASIC. That quickly led to QuickC, TurboC, VisualC++ and onwards. By the end of high school, I was competing at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with a program I had made, a desktop security system for my school.

By 2001 I was well into my computer science studies in Seattle and working a side job at a tech company in Bellevue. One of the other developers there introduced me to eXtreme Programming. I never looked back.

My curiosity in university continued to broaden my horizons. Although my degree is in Computer Science, I graduated with more course credits in German (a minor in German Linguistics) than in Computer Science!

After a few years in Seattle putting XP into practice and hosting the Seattle XP meetup, I uprooted my life and moved to Germany (gotta put those university credits in German to use)! There I gained a much deeper understanding of software engineering, a different cultural approach, and a renewed belief that people are central to good software development. Oh, I also got a master's degree, to boot.

Fast forward a few more years, I've practised XP with the London thought-leaders, led a major open-source project while threading the needle of an active user community and building a commercial product, cycled the length of Great Britain, completed the BBA challenge.

TIM Group is where I honed my skills in XP and a human approach to leadership. At first, under the tutelage of Douglas Squirrel and then Jeffrey Fredrick, I learned effective communication and expanded my practice to include anthropology.

Anthropology? I had a problem. I was the Engineering Manager of a team that was transitioning to self-organisation. Jeff and I weren't exactly sure where that left me, but we both believed that there was still a need for something. I came up with the approach of being the local coach and anthropologist/ethnographer/participant-observer. The next seven years were a continuous exercise in reflecting situations and dynamics to the team members, coaching them in addressing the issues, and evolving myself out of role after role.

First I coached them to the point where I wasn't needed for putting together teams. Then I got them better at creating team-wide alignment and technical decision-making. Next, I set up the team to handle most of the decision-making around salary review and promotion. All of this was done through promoting effective communication, reflection, informed choice, and transparency.

This journey was so remarkable that Squirrel and Jeffrey wrote up the communication techniques in their book, Agile Conversations, and Matt Parker included our story in his book, A Radical Enterprise. 

Now I bring that expertise and experience to teams around the world. It starts with a short engagement to diagnose and assess the current state of affairs in your tech team and leadership. Then I work with your leaders to give them the skills they need to make a more effective organisation.

Keep riding!