In our new series, we talk to our experts about how to navigate what’s next in their industries or fields.
Today we’re talking to Jim Holmes, a Migration Strategist and Coach for our Modern Software Delivery practice. He shares his predictions and expectations for the future of business and technology.
What’s your story?
I grew up in rural farming, California, then enlisted in the US Air Force. I spent 11 years running and repairing radar inflight on E3 AWACS aircraft. After leaving the military, I moved to the IT sector, where I have served in all kinds of roles, from customer relations manager to executive consulting.
What’s the best feedback you’ve ever received?
“Even your short answers are long.” I was a work-from-home dad while my wife was in the military and government contracting, and I’m still struggling with dialing down my excitement when I get to speak to adults. Both kids have been out of the house for some years, so it’s taking me longer to fix this than I’d like. Hence, this extended response.
Why did you decide to become part of your field?
At heart, I’m a little kid who likes hooking two wires together and seeing lights come on. Working in the technology field gives me that same satisfaction regularly.
How are you guiding clients right now?
Even before joining Centric in September 2020, my focus for the last several years has been on helping clients modernize their practices and culture, not just in testing but also in more extensive software delivery approaches.
What, in your opinion, do companies need the most help with right now?
Breaking out of the ruts they’re in — it’s a very human thing to fear change while simultaneously talking about how badly change is needed. It’s hard, but helping organizations focus on addressing culture before technology is a critical path to success.
What do you think they should be thinking about next?
Worry less about the technology and more about clear business goals and good culture. Only a tiny fraction of teams work on flight control systems, pacemakers or autonomous vehicle software. We generally don’t do rocket science. Technology isn’t the hard part of our work—the human element is.
What are you looking forward to in your industry?
Advancements in the testing field lag those in development by a decade or more. On the software craftsmanship side, I’ve been in the middle of the 15- or 20-year struggle to get organizations to adopt critical practices like pair programming and test-driven development. I’d like to see the testing field get with the program about similar watershed advancements. It’s an exhausting struggle but worthwhile.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and why?
I’d be at a small bed and breakfast in the Rosengarten area of the Italian Dolomites. It’s an extraordinary place for hiking, with a lot of great, simple food. Plus, small restaurants are scattered across remote hiking and climbing trails, which means you can stop for a great meal and a beer along your way.
Keep up with our series to meet your guide on how to navigate what’s next for other service areas and industries.