mbharris.co.uk
mike harris is an Agile and Lean software developer, project manager, consultant and trainer based in oxford, uk

About me

Phone: +44 (0) 7811 671 893 - text me for my email address - CV/Résumé - Me at Github - Me at LinkedIn - gpg key - ssh key

Me preparing to run a workshop on fractals at BarnCamp 2011I am a software developer with experience of management of IT and software development teams using Agile and Lean methodologies. I have worked with Free Software (aka Open Source Software) since the early nineties and, despite being a Mac user, continue to promote, advocate and employ Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) where appropriate.

I graduated with a degree in Computing for Real Time Systems from the University of the West of England in 1993, and have since worked more or less consistently in the IT industry since then. In 1996, I co-founded Psand Limited, a company specialising in GNU/Linux and free software and bespoke content management systems for companies including BMW UK, HiPP Organic and Alfa Romeo. Day-to-day I have worked as a programmer, systems administrator, development team technical lead, IT director, and Agile product owner.

My programming experience is with a multitude of languages, including BASIC, C, C++, Ada, Pascal, Perl, PHP, Bash, Javascript, and more recently, COBOL. I have also dabbled in Java, Python and Ruby.

In addition to software development, I've also been involved in planning, producing and providing technical facilities for many live events, including BarnCamp, a weekend of open-source orientated and alternative technology workshops deep in the Welsh Borders.

As well as commercial work, I have experience of the third sector, having worked for organisations such as Bristol Wireless, Bristol Hackspace and People & Planet.

As a side line I currently run XtreamLab, an small Internet Services Provider and web agency, with my colleague Marcus Valentine.

Programming & project management

IT Manager, Product Owner, Software Developer - PWG Trading Ltd

April 2011 to February 2016

I most recently held the role of Head of IT for the Performance Window Group (PWG) and was also the Product Owner for PWG's bespoke in-house e-commerce platform, Aperture. Aperture provides hundreds of small and large companies around the UK with the ability to order and resell PWG's products via an innovative web portal that supports their Dale Windows and Timber Windows brands. Since joining PWG in 2011, I worked in the role of a software project manager and business analysis as well as software developmer, which was primarily in Perl with Moose and Drupal and more recently Node.js, AngularJS, and React
In Autumn 2013, I took on the role of Head of IT for the group and transitioned the software development team to Agile and Lean methodologies. We employed techniques such as Kanban, Scrum, Pair Programming, Mob Programming, Behaviour-driven Developement (BDD), Test-driven Development (TDD), Clean Code, and SOLID principals on a daily basis to aid task flow both within the development team and a wider board-level Product Vision Steering Group.

www.thepwgroup.co.uk

Analyst and PHP, Perl, and Drupal developer - PWG Trading Ltd

January to November 2011

A analysis and development project undertaken for Timber Windows (now part of PWG), I implementeda new resource sharing centre for the Timber Windows's network of UK installers. The Registered Installers Centre includes features to encourage the networking on installers through the sharing of stories and photos and performance results. The site includes a library of stock photos and technical and marketing resource downloads as well as a Performance section that, through pie and bar charts and tables, allows the installer to get an overview of their business's performance and compare it with their peers'. Although originally started as a Drupal 6 project, I was an early adopter of Drupal 7 and the development required me to develop a bespoke Drupal module that made use of Google's Chart API and provided user authentication integration with the existing user database and quoting system written in Perl.

The Registered Installers Centre was launched to the company's network of installers in October 2011. Since then, I've been the point of liaision for Timber Windows with local Oxford Drupal solutions provider, WebCurl, who are developing an extension built on Drupal Commerce to provide the installers with the ability to shop for marketing materials on-line.

www.timberwindows.com

Consultant and Project Manager - Circle Interactive

December 2010 to June 2011

Working as a freelance project manager for Bristol based Circle Interactive, I was involved in the tender process, writing of the technical specification and defining the project stages, and project management in the early stages of this project to roll out a new Contact Relationship Management (CRM) solution in CiviCRM system for Groundwork UK's head office based in Birmingham with a view to roll it out across some 35 regional offices in the future. The project was built using CiviCRM on Drupal 7.

www.groundwork.org.uk

Project Manager - Circle Interactive

October 2010 to April 2011

Working as a freelance project manager for Bristol based Circle Interactive, I liaised with the client Community Network for Manchester in this project to port an existing community directory portal to a new and enhanced CiviCRM solution built on Drupal 6. Through the duration of the project I was responsbile for managing the specification and delivery timeframes, working on methods for merging data and moving to the new site, and ensuring the final delivery.

The final version of the new portal site was delivered in early April 2011.

www.onecentralplace.org

IT Manager, analyst and PHP developer - People & Planet

December 2009 to May 2010

Screen shot of the Write to React blogging site

Write to React was amongst the projects that I undertook during my tenure as IT manager for People & Planet, a student-led campaigning NGO based in Oxford was the implementation of an online learning course. The requirement was to produce an effective online learning course that involved students writing about their views on issues relating to climate change. Working alongside colleagues, I designed and implemented an on-line interactive learning course by integrating the multisite version of Wordpress with the organisation's own PHP-driven web site. Each week the students would read, watch and listen to commentary on the subject in question and then be encouraged to write their responses and opinions using their own blog created especially for the course. Around 150 students from a number of UK further educations colleges took part in the initial course, which was judged to have been such a success that we went on to produce a second course on fair trade clothing. This second course was launched in May 2010.

peopleandplanet.org

Technical project manager - Bristol Wireless Community Cooperative

September 2008 to November 2009

Screen shot of the Bristol Wireless Community Gateway for Knowle West

I took over jointly managing the project to roll out street level wireless access to the area of Knowle West in Bristol in September and was responsible to meeting with the various stakeholders, including Bristol City Council, Knowle West Media Centre and Knowle West Web, to establish a working model to deliver the project. In addition I also took over the customisation of a Drupal 5 based web site that provides a portal into the Bristol Wireless network and local online content for Bristol residents living in the Knowle and St Werburghs regions.

For more details about the original Bristol Wireless project, refer to this article I wrote about the founding of the project in 2002.

www.bristolwireless.net

Technical lead / analyst - Mason-Zimbler

July to August 2008

Screen shot of Toshiba UK Consumer Products web site

Working for Mason-Zimbler as technical analyst on this project to produce a detailed technical specification for the implementation of a new web site for Toshiba's Consumer Products division in the UK.

Co-designer, developer, project manger - BMW and MINI UK Dealer On-Line Network (DOLN)

1999 to 2008

Screen shot of BMW Wellsway's website Screen shot of MINI Park Lane's website

Whilst working at Psand, I started on this project as one of the original co-designers and lead developers of a tiered content management system written in Perl that provides an administrable back-end to manage over 800 dealership websites for BMW and MINI in the UK. Over the years I was responsible for the day-to-day analysis and specification of new functionality and improvements to existing functionality as well as the project management of the technical side, planning of resources and liaison with third-party suppliers. The project has proved a great success and recent analysis shows that 15% of all visits to the MINI sites lead to actual sales.

Analyst and project manager - Alfa Romeo UK Dealer On-Line Network (DOLN)

July 2006 to March 2007

Screen shot of Alfa Romeo Fish Brothers' website

Based on the success of the BMW and MINI Dealer On-Line Network, I was then involved in providing systems analysis and specification for a similar system for Alfa Romeo in the UK. As the project progressed I was focussed on day-to-day technical project management of the implementation and resources of both in-house and third-party developers. The network is growing and proving to be an invaluable resource for customers, dealerships and head office alike.

Technical lead - HiPP Organic Baby Club

October 2006 to March 2007

Screen shot of the HiPP Baby Club website

I was responsible for building a team of web developers and designers and technically managing the project through regular technical design meetings to guide the overall implementation. We delivered a web portal where new mums and mums-to-be are able to share their experiences with friends, family and peers, as well as receive strategic targeted email marketing. The site currently has over 420,000 members.

Technical director - Sky Rock Communications (EMO)

Autumn 2006

Screen shot of the Lotus Less is More campaign website

During a transitional period in this company's operations I was responsible for defining and implementing technical policy as well as auditing and streamlining the existing on-line business where I was able to make significant improvements to service whilst at the same making cost savings. I was also jointly responsible for assessing new freelance staff and their applicability to work on future projects.

Production for arts and events

Here is a choice selection of arts-based projects and events where I have worked in the capacity of planning and production. There is also a complete list of all events I have been involved in.

Event concept and co-production - BarnCamp

2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015

h4x0rzz Welcoming sign from BarnCamp 2013

BarnCamp is a low-cost rural DIY skillsharing event open to everyone, including UK activists, campaigners, people involved in social and community groups, and anybody else with an interest in technology and how to subvert it to put it to good use. All skill levels are invited and we promise that workshops are not too geeky due to our infamous nerd gag .

More information at the BarnCamp web site.

Internet connectivity consultant - Imperial War Museum

2007 to 2008

Picture of the Imperial War Musuem London front entrance University of Birmingham American Studies presentation at the IWM

In a supporting rôle to the Imperial War Museum London, I provided wireless internet connectivity and on-site technical support at the museum for a number of professional conferences for clients including the University of Birmingham, University of Oxford, Pitney Bowes MapInfo and the AESC.

Concept and co-production - D.R.O.I.D: Reality isn't everything

November to February 2008

Working with Blackout Arts, South West Screen and Eduardo Imasaka amongst others, D.R.O.I.D was an experiment with the experience of a live link-up with avatars in the on-line 3D virtual world of Second Life. A live video stream of a top-notch line-up at the Trinity (Bristol, UK) was sent to a venue in Second Life that was specially dressed for the event. Live feeds from Second Life were then beamed back into the venue onto huge projector screens and interactive kiosks were provided for those who came to the event to experience Second Life in real life. My key rôle in the project was the production and the co-ordination and planning of the live streaming, as well as liaising with the Second Life team who were based in Barcelona.

For more details, refer to this archive of the D.R.O.I.D microsite.

Co-founder and producer (Dorkbot Barcelona), producer and presenter (Dorkbot Bristol)

2004 to 2007 (Barcelona) & 2008 to 2009 (Bristol)

Dorkbot November 2004 Cityborg present at Dorkbot January 2005

I was delighted to become one of the co-founders of the Barcelona wing of the global Dorkbot project. During my 3-year involvement, I was jointly responsible for the production of the bi-monthly events, took charge of the day-to-day management of the trilingual website and coordinated the video streaming during the events. Towards the end of my collaboration with Dorkbot Barcelona, I was involved in a 3-day presentation of digital projects as part of the Observatori Festival in Valencia, Spain, where I was responsible for the planning and production of the event.

Following this, I spent a year producing and presenting the monthly Dorkbot Bristol meetings that take place at the Pervasive Media Studio.

Collaborator, workshops - TCS Extremadura

April 2007

Image of me teaching school children about satellite Internet access The geodesic dome at TCS Extremadura

Following on from my previous work at Fadaiat, I was invited back with my colleagues from Psand to collaborate in 2007's project that took place near an abandoned Nuclear Power Station in the heart of rural Extremadura, Spain's poorest province. I was involved in helping with the co-production and technical planning for the event as well as presenting a series of workshops tacking the topic of satellite for internet access to groups of local primary school children.

Production and site internet infrastructure - Big Green Gathering

2003 to 2008

Schematic of network as used at BGG 2007 Satellite dish and wireless antenna mounted on outside communications vehicle

Working with Psand.net and Bristol Wireless, I was involved in providing on-site internet access via wired and wireless networks using satellite technology for public and production purposes since 2003. In 2007 I helped plan and implement a large-scale network (for a farm in the Mendip Hills that is) that facilitated connectivity for approximately 50 production staff, as well as public wireless internet access over the main areas of the 50 acre festival site of the Big Green Gathering.

Read this article about the satellite solar powered cybercafé at the Big Green Gathering 2003

Event production - HesFes 2005 with Bristol Wireless

May 2005

image of Hes Fes cybertent from May 2005

As a founder member of both Psand and Bristol Wireless, it was a pleasure to bring two projects together to collaborate at the HesFes home education festival in 2005. I coordinated the development of a twenty terminal suite of recycled computers to facilitate a cybertent that was used to run workshops about free software and the internet for educational purposes for children and parents.

There is a video of the HesFes cybertent on YouTube.

For more details, refer to this article that I wrote about the HesFes cybertent.

Collaborator, workshops - Transacciones - Fadaiat

Spring/Summer 2004

Network schematic for Fadaiat 2004 Parabolic antena with the Andalusian sunset in the background pointing at Tangiers

I was one of many invited to collaborate in this ambitious project that focussed on producing an event using a completely horizontal structure. My rôle in the project was to be jointly responsible for the design and implementation of the on-site network for a temporary media lab as well as coordinating a wireless link across the Gibraltar Strait, and the co-production of the technical set-up during the event.

For more details, refer to this article that I wrote about Fadaiat.

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