2019 Top 3 IT Trends

Here are my predictions in no particular order…


Whether organizations are looking to cut costs or whether they’re looking focus on what they do well, investment in cloud computing will continue to increase in 2019. Organizations are not just looking for public offerings. Private and hybrid offerings are also on the rise.


Time to market is key. Investing in DevOps is crucial to be able to deliver software quickly. For instance, companies like Netflix are deploying to production hundreds of times per day. To be able to do that an investment in DevOps is necessary.

Artificial Intelligence:

Every year we’re more reliant on our smartphones. Whether we realize it or not, that typically means we’re utilizing artificial intelligence (e.g. ride-sharing/smart homes/etc.). As our demand for up to the second information grows, so will the demand for artificial intelligence combined with machine learning.

Other Considerations:

  • CyberSecurity
  • Blockchain

Big Design Up Front (BDUF)

For those of you that don’t know what BDUF is, it’s expending a tremendous amount of effort prior to (sometimes during) a project to nail down firm requirements. The belief is that firm requirements will ensure the project is completed on time and on schedule. The problem with that theory is that the requirements will likely change on day one of the project. This is normal for software development projects because most software development projects are not repeatable. It’s not at all like building a bridge where you can rely on historical information to predict the nature of the project.

So it amazes me that after numerous failed projects, many organizations still believe that BDUF is necessary. Some organizations have even convinced themselves that they don’t do BDUF but in reality they do. For example, they may not start with BDUF prior to the project start but soon after they start introducing exploration features where the outcome is a ton of documentation. It is BDUF, just hidden.

I’m not saying everyone needs to switch to Agile (although I wish they would). I’m just saying that BDUF provides little to no value to why waste time/effort/money doing it. The best time to do design work is just before you’re about to implement it because that’s when you have the most information. Why do the design work when you have the least amount of information (i.e. prior to the project)?

Take a Break!

What’s new about that? Everybody knows that your mind & body needs rest otherwise you’ll burn out. However, as we go through our daily rituals, taking the time to relax can take a back seat as real life obligations pile up.

So what do you do, wait for retirement? While that certainly is an option, I wouldn’t recommend it.

What if you pre-planned one vacation EVERY month? I know, it sounds crazy. How could you possibly fit that into your already over capacity life? And even if you could, how could you afford such a luxury?

First of all, I’m not suggesting you jet off to another continent on a monthly basis. I am suggesting that you leave your city even if it’s just for the weekend. Regardless of where you live, I’m sure there are plenty of options. And it doesn’t have to be extravagant. Maybe you find a destination that’s an hour or two out of town where you stay in a motel and endure some long hikes.

Furthermore, if you pre-plan these excursions they can be cost-effective. Groupon offers many travel deals. Also, flights can be inexpensive as well if you’re able to be flexible with your dates.

Additionally, it’s no secret that we all have our bad days. Those days where you temporarily hate everything (including your job). When you have something to look forward to (like a vacation), it really helps to get through those tough times.

So why do this? It’s simple really. We all need to make time to take a mental (and physical) break from everyday life and the only way to do that is to escape real life. Don’t believe me? Think about the last time you had a work conversation with a co-worker at a location outside of work (maybe at a restaurant). I’m guessing the conversation was more open, honest, and productive simply because you weren’t in the office. There’s something psychological about stepping away from the environment.

The bottom line is this, if you don’t make time for yourself nobody will so you may as well make it a priority. Start planning your next vacation!


Okanagan Wineries

I recently had the opportunity to visit 20 wineries in the Okanagan (Kelowna/Summerland/Naramata/etc).

My favourite wine was the Pinot Noir Reserve from Quails Gate.

The most interesting was the deep red sparkling Shiraz from Sumac Ridge.

The best winery (by far) was Mission Hill although Summerhill as the busiest.

Unfortunately my trip did not include Oliver & Osoyoos where a lot of red grapes are sourced from.

Here are some notes from each winery:

Indigenous World Winery
-Marechal Foch was velvety
-Sparkling Wine ended with a surprise of grapefruit
The Hatch
-Frenzy Pinot Gris & Meritage were ok
Volcanic Hills
-Merlot was well aged
-Riesling Ice Wine was good
Mission Hill
-Pinot Noir/Meritage/Qualtrain were all good
-I did not try the Oculus
Quails Gate
-Stewart Family Reserves are only available in the Okanagan
–Pinot Noir was fantastic
–Chardonnay was good
-Known for their Sparkling wines
-use a gyropalette to perform riddling
-mainly easy drinking wines
-had the opportunity to go down in their caves
Little Engine
-Good selection of Merlots
-Their fortified wine contains Brandy & Pinot Gris
Poplar Grove
-Good lunch spot with an amazing view
-decent Pinot Gris
-CSM was a cool concept (spin on GSM)
-Legacy had good tannins
-Barrel tasting was a good treat
-Reserve Chardonnay only available by the package
-Reserve Pinot Noir was good with a short finish
Noble Ridge
-Kings Ransom is their top end all of which were good
-Kings Random Cabernet Sauvignon was not available for tasting
8th Generation
-Integrity Frizzante was their spin on Prosecco
-One of few wineries to produce the Kerner grape
-Classic Riesling (dry) was better than the Riesling (off-dry)
Cedar Creek
-Platinum Chardonnay aged in Concrete was good
-Cipes Brut was a decent sparkling wine and it contains Riesling
-Riesling was very good
-Very few blends
The View
-1 of 3 wineries in the Okanagan to offer Pinotage
The Vibrant Vine
-The Dragon was good
-Woops has an interesting story where the label is upside down
Sumac Ridge
-Black Sage Brand which most people don’t associate with Sumac Ridge
-Sparkling Shiraz/Zinfandel/Cabernet Franc/Pipe (port) were all good
Dirty Laundry
-The Hush (Rose) was not part of the tasting
-Merlot was good
TH Wines 
-No vineyards
-Nothing outstanding
-One of few wineries to produce the Oraniensteiner Grape
-The only winery that seemed to use Slovakian oak
-Pinot Blanc was good
-Reds didn’t stand out


SAFe Training

Over the past 10 months I had the opportunity to participate in two SAFe courses; Leading SAFe, and SAFe Advanced Scrum Master.

Leading SAFe:

SAFe recommends that everyone should take this course prior to the start of a SAFe initiative. I absolutely agree. With that said, it can be somewhat frustrating when you’re bombarded with concepts and terminology that are unfamiliar to you. However, the upside is that you’re able to experience those “ah ha” moments when you come across these concepts in your SAFe journey.

Due to scheduling conflicts it can be difficult to start with this course. In fact, I’ve worked with some people that went through an entire Program Increment (PI) before they took this course. Since the organization should be staffed with SAFe Program Consultants (SPCs), my recommendation is that this course should be part of the on-boarding process.

Finally, it is my belief that anyone who takes the course (as required by the organization) should be required to take and pass the exam. The organization has made the investment in training and the human resources should be required show that they made an effort to understand the concepts and hopefully apply them. The added benefit to the course attendee is that they achieve the SAFe Agilist certification.

SAFe Advance Scrum Master:

Due to my Agile experience I decided to forego the SAFe Scrum Master course and jump right into this one. This course is typically not offered at organizations and may require travel. The added complexity is that it is not highly sought after so it can be difficult to find an offering that does not end up getting canceled.

After a few attempts, I was able to find an offering in Chicago. I took the two-day course over a weekend. There were seven attendees most of whom were not currently “doing” SAFe. I found this odd that they were taking an advanced course on something they currently were not practicing.

The majority of the course re-iterated the concepts form Leading SAFe. It was definitely a good refresher. But the course also focused on key XP practices like Test Driven Development (TDD) and Pair Programming. We did not actually perform those techniques but the idea was that Scrum Masters should advise/teach/coach their teams on these valuable techniques.

Soon after the course I took the exam (and passed) which was much harder than the SAFe Agilist exam.


So this was my 3rd Agile Alliance conference and my 2nd in a row as a volunteer and every year is quite a bit different.

The location of the conference hotel worked out really well. It was a quick walk to get to the Gaslamp district as well Embarcadero Park. Last year at the Orlando there just wasn’t anything close to the resort.

In terms of attendees, it was great to see familiar faces from this and other conferences. Of course there were opportunities to make new acquaintances as well. In all the total attendance didn’t deviate much from last year and was around the 2500 mark.

There were some different tracks compared to prior years. It is simply impossible to attend all of them but the one that stands out the most is Audacious Salon. These type of talks go very deep and can be theoretical. It definitely isn’t for everyone but those that stuck around seemed to enjoy it.

I will be giving a formal Conference Debrief presentation at the Calgary Agile Methods User Group (CAMUG) next month which I am really looking forward to.

Next year it’s in Washington, DC. I hope to be there!

What makes us happy/unhappy?


What you may find surprising is that money doesn’t make us happy. Disagree?

According to Daniel H. Pink (author of ‘Drive’), as long as we’re compensated adequately, more money won’t incentivize us to work harder. People want autonomy in their jobs as well as more time off. However, for those that are under compensated they will likely be demotivated. So if you’re working a job that doesn’t fulfill you but you’re adequately compensated chances are you’ll eventually leave even if you are rewarded with a significant raise/bonus.


According to TIME magazine (The Science of Happiness: New Discoveries For A More Joyful Life), people in relationships are happier than those that are not. However, those that are in an unhappy marriage are worse off than being divorced.

In terms of holding grudges, Robert Waldinger indicated (in a TED talk) that grudges eat away at us and affect us negatively in many aspects of our lives. Relieving ourselves of grudges can go a long way in repairing relationships.

Material things:

We all look forward to buying new things whether its a new car, a new house, or maybe a new suit. Unfortunately, that feeling doesn’t last. We quickly become bored of material things. In fact, they never truly satisfy us because the more we have the more we want. It is often the case that the best part of the whole ordeal is the act of buying the item itself.

Spending money on more meaningful things tends to lead to more happiness. For example, taking a vacation provides us with stories that can retold over and over (even if it isn’t 100% true). For some people, the majority of enjoyment is felt in the anticipation of the vacation. So the lesson learned is, plan your vacations as soon as you can. You’ll enjoy it more!