Director Profile: Francis Fish

Francis is currently available for running workshops explaining and enabling Lean Adoption, Behaviour Driven Development in Ruby/PHP/Perl, Ruby on Rails development, agile consultancy work, remote pairing, database design. Contact Availability for more information.

Francis has been working in Information Technology since 1985 in a number of industries for several blue chip and consultancy companies including KPMG, Price Waterhouse, GEC, and Oracle Corporation. An experienced team leader and mentor, he has seen through the full project life cycle from "first touch" to implementation. Database designer and architect, working in senior roles with strong Ruby and database design skills developed in a range of industries.

In 2012 he ran two startup weekends at DoES Liverpool

Spoke at Ruby Manor Ruby Manor: On Discovering Joy

Spoke at Lean Agile Scotland on the subject Lean isn't lean

Spoke at Agile Cambridge giving a talk It's not your fault on why targets don't work.

All of the video content is here.

Author of Unicorns in the mist, a book on Lean, Agile and how to make them work for you

The book is about 170 pages, it has some things in there that will (I hope) make you think about how you do the business of making stuff, whether it's software or something else.

He is CTO of Cuprium CiC, an open-source company that writes software for credit unions and alternative banking. Gitub repo. This is still under development.

His consultancy company Lean Teams runs courses to help with Lean and Agile adoption, mentors, and trains in how to do Behaviour Driven Development.

Francis is a long-time proponent of "small A" agile methods and approaches and has given talks and blogs frequently sharing his experiences and ideas as widely as possible. He was one organisers of Manchester Agile Rails Conference in 2011.

Core competencies

Technical capabilities

People skills


Ruby on Rails

Behaviour-driven development

Agile methods

Web development and Architecture

Mobile Web, JQuery Mobile

Database Design

HTML, client-side JavaScript. CSS

Oracle Database: PL/SQL

OSS Databases: MySQL, Postgres



Understanding business needs

Problem Solving and Analysis

Project Estimating and Management

Performance Management


Giving training and mentoring

Good Communicator

Team Leader

Qualified level 3 kayak coach

Software as a Service E-Commerce

Online travel agent

Online gaming back end services

Legal claims management

Financial Services

Linear Asset Management




Health care


Discrete Manufacturing

Internet Banking

Technical Pre-Sales


Public Talks

Selected essays and talks


Book Reviews

Francis blogs

Warning - Francis writes poetry and short stories as well as tech stuff.

Open Source Projects

Francis has created the following Ruby plugins and gems:

Employment History

February 2012 - Now

Cuprium CIC

Technical Director

Part-time role building and designing the open source offering for Cuprium in Ruby on Rails 3.2, with a Postgres back end.

August 2009 - Now

Lean teams


Independent software and training. Some of the roles were contract and are described below in more detail. In addition to these we have:

  • Create and provide training in BDD
  • Design and build web-based scraper creation tools, including back end provisioning and control. Distributed architecture and provisioning as well as front end work.
  • Mobile app in iOS and Android for consumer electronics controlled using wireless casts to RF controller. Worked out how to get it working in Android and iOS.
  • Mobile web directory listing for schools services.
  • Created prototype mobile web apps for a house moving app, this will become a full-blown mobile app.
  • Designed, built and commissioned a site for UCLAN Dentistry department where students can enter their clinic scores.

November 2011 - Feb 2012


Development Leader

  • Introducing agile processes and methods, particularly Behaviour Driven Development, to a team of developers.
  • Liaison with clients over scope and costs of development work
  • Scoping and planning of work to turn key products into SaaS offerings, including re-architecture to Rails 3
  • Reworking projects into Rails 3 for deployment in new data centre using Chef

February 2010 - October 2011

Online Travel Agency Manchester

Agile XP Coach

Mentoring and working with developers from our Ruby Academy with Scrum and Agile. Using RSpec and Cucumber plus helping them understand the Rails and Active Record idioms needed to be productive. Pair programming to learn and pass on expertise.

Working closely with the business to create user stories and estimate the work.

The projects are listed below:

  • Building a centralised hotel database for the online website
  • Implemented data warehouse for the Deal Finder application, designed the search cache
  • Designing and implementing a Deal Finder API for partners
  • Working with the Finance department on enhancements to help cash flow
  • Helping to implement the underlying CMS that drives the main website
  • Working with the other senior developers deriving strategy and architecture
  • Reviewing and creating materials on the latest techniques and Agile practices, e.g. giving a talk on YAGNI at Agile North 2011, public blog posts on peer code review check lists and Rails 3

August 2009 - February 2010

Gala Coral Plc Woking

System review and TDD implementation

Introducing Agile way of working to the ePlatform team. Conducted initial review of the code base and generated reports and outline code review documents for use by the team and presented the results to them. Worked closely with the overall management in the setting of goals.

Designed and implemented an infrastructure to support a PHP-based Test-Driven Development methodology and trained the team in its use.

Helped with technical interviewing for new team members and contractors.

Created a continuous integration server using PHP Under Control (based on the Java-based Cruise Control) and wrote appropriate build scripts.

Worked with other teams introducing TDD concepts and also wrote some code interfacing with external web services.

Mentored team members in database coding and design issues, as well as basic class and layer architecture.

June 2007 - June 2009

Marketrix Ltd Chester

Senior Web Applications Architect

Agile, test-driven development in a challenging environment using Ruby on Rails. Wrote 3 Rails plugins that were put out as OSS for lookup codes, text searching and interacting with external bank account details lookup service to avoid duplication of effort and standardise the approach to these problems.

Technical liaison with partner companies over interfaces and documentation.

Business of automated Finance lead buying and selling. Interface with other companies in the marketplace using SOAP/XML/HTTPS/Email.

Portal style interface using AJAX and Rails libraries.

Credit card claims management for solicitors to allow them to provide a low-cost service. Designed and implemented key parts of claim life cycle process management.

Integrating with PHP sites using XML APIs and maintaining older PHP software.

Jan 2007 - June 2007

Tyco Electronics North Wales

Senior Java Developer

SNMP-based system for monitoring test equipment in telephone exchanges for BT. Requirements specification and delivery of new modules in the system.

Refactoring for maintenance and bug fixing on existing J2EE code base, web-based application using struts, tiles and the Oracle database as a back-end.

Database design and implementation

Configuration Manager for the product

May 2004-Jan-2007

Exor Corporation Warrington

Systems Analyst

Web services and Java guru for the company. Creating and extending existing PL/SQL APIs into web services.

Linear asset management for Highways using the linear networking capabilities of Oracle Spatial. Responsible for the design of the next release of the software.

Produce templates for specifications. Consult on processes. Supervise liaison work with partners.

Create prototype using Oracle Application server 10g portal. Using Java J2EE portlets and PL/SQL and JDeveloper. Wrapping Oracle Map Viewer into a portlet.

Partnering with Oracle on making EAM work spatially.

Investigating using Struts with JBOSS for deployment of web-based applications.


Powergen Nottingham

Contract Architect and Developer

Architect, design, build and implement solution to move an entire customer data set between to call centre databases. Using Oracle queues and objects, as well as the XML parser and related software.

Using Geneva APIs to move information between Geneva instances

Oversee and derive work plan for splitting data warehouse to serve the two new databases.


Adis International Tattenhall, Cheshire

Senior Software Developer

Technical team-lead for a global evidence-based marketing product used by pharmaceutical companies. Designed and built the database, the major components and planned their construction. Acted as a mentor to the less experienced members of the team. Architecture based on Oracle Portal, web forms and custom Java and PL/SQL rendering.

Developed full 3 way orthogonal model of packaged web site solution (to sell content to existing customers) in UML using Rational Rose to consolidate existing use of the tool.

Acted as a consultant on the re-architecture of the product into web services and J2EE, with a Portal front-end.

Used XML message passing to get round firewall problems.


Oracle UK Manchester

Senior Consultant 2

Engaged as a consultant in a range of industries on a variety of projects. Final project was the technical team lead building the Adis product, from which I was head hunted. I worked mostly on long term projects from inception to conclusion. I also gave training in PL/SQL and JDeveloper when required.

Part-time role (fitted in around engagements) as a Staff team leader, looking after the career development and review of 6 other consultants. Was also involved in interviewing and recruiting for Oracle UK.

2 years technical pre-sales for Oracle Financial Services group, working in the City and major Financial Services institutions, helping them build Oracle-based solutions. Had particular responsibility for the Oracle tools, in particular JDeveloper and Designer.

3 years with the Enterprise group. Including implementing Oracle manufacturing at Leyland Trucks; Database back-end for Java-based system for Halifax estate agency; call-centre directory systems at Barclays Bank.


Freelance Various

Freelance Consultant

  • Cincinnati Bell (CiBIS): Software configuration management for an on-line credit checking system. Wrote operator interface for the system using Oracle Forms and C.
  • GEC. Long term project supporting the maintenance and enhancement of their Computer-Based Project Management System. System tracked technical drawings, bills of material through the life-cycle of building power stations. Wrote data migration tools in C, updated the bill of materials software performed ongoing changes and enhancements to large base of Oracle Forms.
  • Price Waterhouse Dublin. Upgrading and writing new subsystems of the international cross-billing system used by Telecom Erin. Used C and Oracle Forms.


Consultant Manchester

KPMG Health Systems

  • Worked in a team designing and developing the CIS/X System used by large hospitals to track their use of resources. Designed and built the data import subsystem.


Programmer/Analyst Liverpool

University of Liverpool

  • Analyst programmer for the Computer Services. Worked on finance and student services.

    Hobbies and Interests

  • I am a fully-qualified Level 3 kayak coach, which means that I can teach on white water. I read a lot, particularly technical books, and listen to music. I also write short stories and play the guitar.


1983 - 1986 Liverpool Polytechnic

  • B Sc. (Hon) Applied Statistics and Computing
Design downloaded from free website templates. Content created using Jekyll and some extra coding on the side
Pharmarketeer is incorporated and registered in England and Wales with company number 06940361, whose registered office is at 64 Westbank Road, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH42 7JP