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Alex Harms

Less fear, more joy.
It works.

If you have a team in your life that isn't communicating or collaborating as well as you know they could be, give me six weeks. I'll pair with them, facilitate mind-opening meetings, teach practical communication skills, and be a catalyst for technical growth. Less fear, more joy. It works.

From Clients & Colleagues

"I was part of a failing team. Within one month of having Alex as a dedicated coach, we were not only working together, but writing beautiful and well tested code. She left a permanent impact and we're still practicing and swearing by her principles today." — D.C. (Javascript)

"Alex helped shift our development process into over-drive. Through careful observations and small calculated changes, she helped us become a clean code power house. She's as equally versed in agile software practices as she is at team communication." — C.P. (Tech lead)

"...because of teaming with you over the past couple of months, I'm not only a better agilist, but an overall better developer as well." — T.S. (C#)

"Your agile coaching has made tremendous impacts on the team." — D.S.

"I write my best code when I'm pairing with you." — K.M.

"I am grateful that Alex would 'tell it like it is' to me (and others), as I so much valued her observations and opinions -- and she is wicked smart. At the same time, if I disagreed with her on something, she would hear me out and would change her mind when (if?) I made sense :-)" — Jon Kern (co-author of the Agile Manifesto)

Professional Development & Outreach

Author, The Little Guide to Empathetic Technical Leadership

The Little Guide to Empathetic Technical Leadership is a guide for strong developers who want to improve their skill as team leaders. Grounded in empathy and human connection, the Little Guide provides practical ways to improve leadership skill.

Host, The Geek Joy Podcast

Conversations about life as a geek. See all the episodes at The Geek Joy Podcast archive.

Organizer, Moonconf

Gathered a team to create Moonconf in response to a community need for a diverse, welcoming space to explore funcitonal programming.

Speaking

I speak internationally on topics like facilitation, joyful code, nonviolent communication, collaboration & pair programming. You can see some of my presentations online, and you can hear me on various podcasts, on our speaking page.

Continuing Education

Problem Solving Leadership

2014. A week-long workshop, led by Esther Derby & Gerry Weinberg

Coaching Agile Teams Workshop

2011. Two-day workshop, led by Lyssa Adkins & Michael Spayd

A Day In The Life Of Agile

2010. One-day intro to Agile, by Pillar Technology. Once as an attendee, several times as staff.

Work Experience

Matria. Developer team coach

Various Clients, January 2015 - present

Facilitating workshops, code retreats, and classes to help developers improve code quality and collaboration. Teaching pair programming, communication skills, emotional intelligence, & empathy-focused mindfulness to student developers.

SolutionsIQ, Redmond. Agile technical coach

GM OnStar (Detroit) July 2013 - December 2014

Provided technical & collaborative coaching to three mobile delivery teams for the OnStar RemoteLink app. Worked with a team of coaches across the department.

Encouraged & helped devs to break their work into tiny chunks for fast feedback, to take tests and quality seriously with continuous integration. Facilitated retrospectives & coached facilitation techniques. Coached story breakdown and planning, product owner responsibilities, business value. Created a coaches' academy, a weekly workshop to grow internal XP coaches within the organization.

LeanDog Software, Cleveland. Agile technical/quality coach

Sherwin Williams, November 2012 - May 2013

Worked with a team of coaches to guide a pilot agile team of 6 internal developers and two product owners, making global color-matching software. Delighted business customers with a regular cadence of working software, gradually fleshing out features.

Erie Insurance, September 2011 - November 2012

Worked to build a small team to deliver greenfield consumer-facing native Android and iOS apps. Coached agile/XP practices, pair-programming, whole-team responsibilities, and human connection. Facilitated retrospectives, wrote feature stories.

Pillar Technology, Columbus

Agile Technical Apprentice, January 2011 - September 2011

Progressive Medical

Worked with a pilot agile team, pair programming, breaking down requirements/stories. Java/Groovy.

OCLC (Online Computer Library Center)

First experience pair-programming on a newly agile team. Supported team communication, facilitated one of their first retrospectives.

Exel Logistics

Helped make 5 year-old python scripts work again, to facilitate load testing.

Freelance Editor & Web Designer

Web Presence Help, 2006 - 2010

Freelance writer & editor, including business non-fiction, developmental editing for new novelists, editor for national niche magazine. This work morphed into web design & a smattering of graphic design.

Find me