Here is today’s episode of the “Campfire Talks with Herbie”.

Guest: J. B. Rainsberger

J. B. Rainsberger A

Name (and Company/Affiliation if desired)

J. B. Rainsberger, jbrains.ca

Who are you?

I’m an old XP person. I’m an Agile Coach, but actually Agile and actually a Coach. I’m an Employment Addiction Counselor.

How did you get involved with Agile, Coaching, Organizational Performance - and in particular with TameFlow?

I was a bright programmer with terrible habits. I learned about test-first programming, then TDD/programmer testing, then XP, then Agile, then realized that the bottleneck often lay outside programming. This led me to take a wider view of organizational performance, while maintaining a connexion to the programmer’s perspective.

Are you currently (or do you intend) making a living in this sector?

I accidentally spent a year as a classroom trainer for topics I didn’t love. This led me to discover training as a career. Later, I discovered consulting as a bigger career. I’ve traveled Europe speaking, teaching, and helping. I hope to get back to that in 2021 and beyond.

J. B. Rainsberger F

Give us a typical day in your life!

I wake with espresso, a glimpse at what’s happening in the world, and then decide how to spend the day.

Some days call for administrative work, some for writing, some for reading, and some for programming.

I’m a competitive 5-pin bowler (that’s a Canadian variant of the game), so most days include some practice, either mental or physical.

Our one big meal comes in the early afternoon, which means cooking, followed by cappuccino, then often a bit more work.

Evenings are for unwinding, followed by a podcast to fall asleep to. Many days include some time set aside for learning more Swedish.

J. B. Rainsberger D

What makes you happy at the end of a day?

I like to think of the One Thing That Must Be Finished Today. If I do that, then I’m happy. If I don’t do that, then if I otherwise felt good about something I did, then that suffices.

What’s the most important skill or insight you’ve developed while getting involved with this industry?

I heed the advice of the Responsibility Virus. I recognize what I can control and what I can’t. I refuse to take responsibility for the things I can’t control.

What are the greatest challenges on your path to using/improving the techniques you favor in this sector?

J. B. Rainsberger H

Many clients don’t see the value of what I can offer them until they’ve experienced it.

This creates a significant obstacle to sales!

I end up selling them something they don’t need in order to open the door, so that I can then give them something that might truly help.

I hope that they end up benefiting commensurate with their investment, but I can’t guarantee it. I do my best.

What are the greatest rewards you’ve had (personally or professionally) or would like to receive in this industry?

J. B. Rainsberger B

I’ve helped a few dozen employees escape stifling work environments. I don’t particularly like how that affects their employers, but I recognize the positive impact I’ve had on their lives and I feel good about that.

I’m happy that I got to be part of the Second Wave of Agile leaders—I don’t see “thought leader” as a pejorative, but rather as a responsibility.

Every time a coaching client tells me that I’ve helped them feel comfortable making a significant decision in their lives, I consider that a win. I want to help people work with less stress and I occasionally get to do that.

What do you want to learn from a community of peers, like the one here TameFlow Community site?

My formative years were about 1998-2002. Things have changed. I’ve lost some touch with the concerns that the average programmer faces. It’s not clear to me what’s changed and what hasn’t. I would especially like to know if there is any advice I’m offering that has gone out of date.

J. B. Rainsberger E

If other TameFlow enthusiasts want to reach out to you, where do they find you? And what is your TameFlow Community handle?

My TameFlow Community handle is: jbrains! :-)

What question(s) would you like to ask Steve, or what topics would you like him to develop ( in relation to the TameFlow Approach)?

Which aspects of TameFlow might one consider a natural evolution of XP and which aspects come from “outside”?

Herbie talks about… eXtreme Programming and TameFlow

The topic of how eXtreme Programing relates to the TameFlow Approach merits a deeper discussion. You will read my thoughts about it in this post: eXtreme Programming and the TameFlow Approach.


If you found the topics in the “Campfire Talks with Herbie” interesting, there is much more to learn about them in the Tame your Work Flow, How Dr. Goldratt of “The Goal” would apply the Theory of Constraints to rethink knowledge-work management book.

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