Archive for the ‘Team’ Category

Women in Technology and what I have learned at Tasktop this week

Friday, June 29th, 2012

This week produced a series of subtle hints that remind me why I truly enjoy being a woman in the technology industry, especially at Tasktop. We arranged a “Ladies of Tasktop” evening out. As we were devoured our fabulous chocolate desserts, we started to dig into a host of possible product ideas – and what caught all of our attention was that many of our ideas revolved around facilitating more visual interactions with the technologies we use in our day to day jobs.

Ladies of Tasktop

We had a great time bantering back and forth about our opinions on why women (at least this group of women) seem to respond more naturally to visualizations and put greater emphasis on user interface in general.

Subtle Hint #1: Women often approach technology differently and the “ladies of Tasktop” have a great opportunity to influence next generation ALM interaction models.

The night before our dinner, I went to the Eclipse Demo Camp along with five of my fellow female Tasktopians. We saw great demos of new Eclipse technology but that is not what struck me since there are always cool demos at Demo Camp! What struck me was that multiple people mentioned how great it was that so many women worked at Tasktop – both in engineering and otherwise.

Subtle Hint #2: Tasktop has actively strived to create a culture and environment that values women throughout the organization. I am lucky to be a part of a company that values diversity and all sorts of different perspectives.

But I am not alone in my observations concerning the value and importance of women and the challenges and opportunities that they face. I recommend that you read the incredibly insightful and thought provoking Atlantic Monthly article Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, by Anne-Marie Slaughter. As I started considering the article in the context of this week, another realization struck me…

Subtle Hint #3: Having it all is largely dependent on your definition of “all” – At Tasktop, I am surrounded by an incredibly bright, innovative group of women – in a field that desperately needs more women to influence the future of our industry. And I have an amazing husband and two incredible kids at home. I think I have it “all”.

While I may not always feel at home as a woman in this predominantly male field, there are times that I feel quite lucky to have fallen into this field. This week was one of those weeks.


Tasktop Wins BC Technology Impact Award, more Tasktopians Wanted

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

And the winner for the category of Emerging Company of the Year at the British Columbia Technology Impact Awards is …. Tasktop Technologies!

Wow, just five years ago, all Tasktopians could fit into an office at the University of British Columbia, and last week, we were awarded in a very competitive category for a company that is past the startup stage and has shown outstanding performance as a technology enterprise, strong revenues, and is on track according to its business plan. Getting to this point has been possible because of the talent and passion for innovation that defines the people that are Tasktop. This group of people is able to both envision how software delivery can be done more effectively and iterate rapidly with customers to produce the products to make those visions real. It is truly a privilege to work with such a talented group! And just wait for what we will produce by the time Tasktop is six years old.

Congratulations go out to the other finalists for the Emerging Company of the Year: Recon Instruments, who makes some very cool heads-up display ski goggles, and ResponseTek, makers of mobile survey software. It is great be a part of such a strong and varied BC technology industry. Thanks also go out to the BC Technology Industry Association for hosting a wonderful gala night.

Our hiring is continuing at a rapid pace, so please contact us if you’re interested in joining a team that’s transforming how software is built.

Also see the video of the finalists in the Emerging Company of the Year category is .

Video interview with Dave West on joining Tasktop as Chief Product Officer

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

I recently sat down with Dave West and Mik Kersten in Austin, TX in order to discuss the significance of Dave joining Tasktop. I think it comes across in the video but for me personally, one of the best things about Dave joining is that we are going to have a lot of fun while we transform the world.

Read more in Dave’s post, Mik’s post and my post on the topic.

Dave West is Now a Tasktopian

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

As President & COO of Tasktop, I am thrilled to welcome Dave West to the Tasktop family.  Dave has been a friend of the company’s for a long time often staying up till all hours with Mik and I talking technology, ALM, agile, integrations, life, and making the world a better place to build software.  We’re especially excited about Dave joining because we believe it sends a strong signal to our customers, partners, and community.  Tasktop, first and foremost, is a product company with a mission that aligns neatly to Dave’s mission of helping people deliver software just a little bit better.  As the leading ALM analyst, Dave could have worked for his pick of companies and the fact that he chose Tasktop is a powerful statement about the stellar team we have built over the years. It also re-enforces the opportunity that we have a Tasktop to change the value stream of software delivery.  I’m proud of the company we’ve built that Dave chose us but also feel a responsibility to make Dave (and any Tasktopian for that matter) proud of their choice to be at Tasktop.
Dave has a unique vantage point on our customers’ challenges, hopes, desires and pain, and I look forward to watching  the evolution of our products as we incorporate that knowledge into Tasktop Sync, Tasktop Dev, and our future products.   Most of all, I am excited to be adding Dave’s voice to our stable of innovative technologists and thought leaders.  If you look at my history, I derive a great deal of personal satisfaction by working with some of the best technology companies and technologists in the world helping them get their innovations to customers who desperately need the value of those innovations.  It’ll be great to have Dave on board helping our marketing, sales, and business development groups on this front… to connect the existing and future Tasktop technologies to the customers who are in most need of them.

To help people deliver software just a little bit better – the next chapter

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

I was told by a wise man that to succeed in life you need a mission, and mine is ‘‘to help people deliver software a little bit better.’ A simple mission that has taken me from product management at Rational Software, leading a consulting business at Ivar Jacobson Consulting, to my VP and RD role Forrester Research and now as chief product officer Tasktop. This journey has taught me many things about software delivery which can be distilled into four main tenets:

  • Autonomy – Empowered individuals and teams to solve problems and get things done.
  • Transparency – Success is enabled by clear understanding of status and progress.
  • Collaboration – Software delivery is a team sport requiring flow between managers and fans.
  • Adaptability – Flexible, Agile processes enable teams to succeed.

By focusing on these four areas software delivery professionals can not only create a much more efficient delivery value stream, but also more importantly deliver increased business value. However these concepts are not easy and some of the challenges include:


After years of corporate control and traditional manufacturing approaches being applied to knowledge workers organizations have a really hard time allowing individuals to take control of their actions. Accountable yes, but able to make choices about how they do their work, or the tools and techniques they use, no way ! But increasingly we see developers taking control of their destiny. In part this is because the rate of innovation has outstripped the speed of corporate control groups, and developers are pivotal to business value and innovation.


Separate tools, different processes, disconnected departments, and outsourced vendors all add to the complexity of trying to build a complete picture. Many organizations look to the PMO to solve this problem, spending lots of time, and money trying to compile a view of the truth. But the PMO approach is less and less likely to work with the increased cadence of software delivery where status changes frequently.


Many companies talk a good talk about teams, but the reality is that software delivery pro’s are measured as individuals, in multiple teams and have contradicting priorities. That makes collaboration difficult for teams, and even harder for external stakeholders who find interfacing with these ever changing entities complex and frustrating.Complex value streams just add to the mess.


The only time you know how to do something is when you have done it before. But most software development processes focus on sequential flow, assuming that if you spend enough time up front and apply the right techniques you can solve any problem. Agile has proven that this is not the case and has become the defacto standard for development. But the reality of is water-scrum-fall with development teams using Agile, but management and release requiring teams to still deliver in a sequential manner.

So, i hear you ask, what does this all do with my move to Tasktop.. In a word Tasktop provides the glue that enables organizations to realize these four tenets :-

  • Autonomy – Allowing individuals to use the best tools to do their job whilst ensuring those tools work together.
  • Transparency – Connecting repositories to enable one view of the truth.
  • Collaboration – Tasks enable structure, conversation and context.
  • Adaptability – Support customization of tools and flexible processes.

Modern web architectures, restful interfaces and open source development tools have created the perfect storm for building a stateless integration hub that integrates the value stream of software delivery.

My job at Tasktop is to drive the product vision in support of the four tenets. But i can not do this alone and will be working with you all, the tool vendors and the broader community to ‘help people deliver software just a little bit better’ :-)

Read more in Mik’s post and Neelan’s post.


@davidjwest and

Was it the Wine or was it Tasktop?

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Thursday was my first experience as a Tasktop employee… and it was certainly not a typical “first day”! Neelan Choksi invited me to the third annual SXSW Startup Crawl .

When I got in the car with Neelan I heard lots of clanging about — what was it? The wine for our booth. Ok… things are looking up! When we got there, the energy level was intense — on the dot of 4pm we were immediately swarmed with the beginnings of over 3900 attendees.

It was pretty impressive to hear the shear enthusiasm of each person as they said … “I work at a social media blah blah blah blah blah”. Every person’s eyes said “I am hungry, I love what I do and I am going to make it.” A great vibe.

But why was our booth so popular? Neelan and I weren’t spewing anything about social media! Tasktop doesn’t make movies and we aren’t struggling musicians looking to “make it” at SXSW. And then it dawned on me…. we were the only booth with wine instead of beer! I went about serving wine happily for another 3 hours and went home feeling good about my first Tasktop experience.

But then I woke up with a different thought… as I poured each glass of wine, I would explain how Tasktop helps people deliver better software. As soon as I would say something about how many development shops are disconnected from business analysts and QA and using lots of different tools that don’t talk to each other – the immediate reaction? Vigorous nodding of heads with some rolling of eyes and a “oh my, we feel that all the time.” One Wall St guy in from NY said “I’m on the business side but I know my head of development feels this pain daily cuz I hear about it from him all the time!” Interestingly, even the small shops that we talked to were feeling the pain — guys with 5 developers were looking for ways to keep the devs in their IDEs but still connected to the Software Development Life-Cycle (SDLC). It felt really good to realize that even at an event that wasn’t a typical software development event, people clearly feel the pain that Tasktop focuses on alleviating.

Ok, so for the guy who came back multiple times for wine from Australia who owns a nightclub? Or the woman who came back asking for more recommendations for Texas vineyards to visit while she was in town? Yep, for them it was likely just for the wine. But for many of the others the pain that Tasktop aims to alleviate resonated – and that is a great feeling as a brand new employee!

Tasktop at SXSW Interactive and ATX Startup Crawl

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

SXSW Startup Crawl 2012Tasktop will be participating in the ATX Startup Crawl at SXSW later today, March 8. With over 2000 RSVPs already, we are looking forward to meeting with all the talented folks from Austin, those visiting Austin for SXSW as well as the 50 fellow Austin companies that are participating in the Crawl. We will be manning the Tasktop table at the Capital Factory location at the Omni building at 701 Brazos St., 8th Floor from 4pm – 10pm.

You can meet Tasktop’s newest employee, Nicole (who technically won’t start until March 19) as well as me at the Crawl. We’re looking forward to hanging out, drinking some wine, seeing old friends and making new ones. We can chat about how it’s like to work for a company located in two of the greatest places in the world (Vancouver and Austin) or Eclipse or Mylyn or Tasktop Sync or application lifecycle management or any number of other interesting topics. So stop by, we’d love to meet you.

We are hiring in Austin so we are also looking forward to starting dialogues with people who could eventually fill some job opportunities that Tasktop either has currently or will shortly have in our Austin location:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Partner Relations and Business Development Manager
  • Sales Operations Manager

If you can’t make the crawl, contact us as we’ll also be out and about during SXSWi attending sessions as well as a party or two.

By the way, we are also looking for office space near Tarrytown / west downtown so if you have any leads on Austin office space, let us know…

Why I joined Tasktop

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

I’ve long been an admirer of Tasktop, for a number of reasons: First, as Eclipse users already know, Tasktop has built some really cool Eclipse technology, including the Mylyn task-focused interface. But many companies have built cool open source tools. It’s much harder to take those tools and build a growing, dynamic company around them. But plenty of companies have also done that, usually by following the standard open source business model: package services and a bit of value-add around a captive open-source offering, and wait for customers. Tasktop takes a far more challenging and rewarding approach: It nurtures a healthy open source eco-system around core technologies, but then re-imagines and re-purposes them, leveraging unique products that address real customer pain. That takes real vision, and to me it’s a clear signal that the Tasktop leadership is able to imagine and execute at an entirely different energy level.

So rather than admire Tasktop from a distance, I joined it! I first worked with Tasktop last year as a consultant developing the initial implementation of what has become the Mylyn Model Focusing Tools project. That was a great opportunity to get to know some of the team and the Tasktop way. Everything I saw then fit nicely with what I’d already intuited. We have a really great combination of engineering excellence, creativity and lightweight organization.

It’s nice to say “we” again — I hadn’t realized just how much I’d missed having colleagues to work together with on challenging problems. The morning I joined Tasktop, I saw a stream of emails from everyone welcoming me to the team. I must admit to some cynicism about the whole “team” thing — like so much else, it can be an empty word that doesn’t match up to reality — but in this case it feels very genuine. So heartfelt thanks to everyone.

It’s an exciting time to be building software tools. It might sound funny, but I like to think of software development as a helping profession. That’s because I think that software products really can help people live more fulfilling, interesting and even happy lives. When I tell my family and non-techie friends that I’m working on Automated Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools I get a blank look. So instead I remind them that almost everything we do relies on software and that software programs are by far the the most complex artifact that humans have ever created. And I tell them that software development communities are growing ever more diverse, distributed, interwoven and complex. So what do we do at Tasktop? We build software that embraces those complexities.

Tasktop Dev tackles the issue of software complexity. It handles a lot of the repetitive and boring stuff, simplifies and clarifies everything else, and is deeply and imaginatively integrated with other development tools. Tasktop Sync and Code2Cloud — along with other exciting tools that we’re working on — tackle the even more challenging issue of community complexity. Even a relatively small software product might involve code developed by a rich community spanning companies, technologies, continents, and even (think about the Open-Source movement) different economic models and incentive systems. And in larger projects thousands of developers might be collaborating across all of these dimensions. Software development efforts are intimately connected with customers, management, marketing, support, regulators and every other imaginable kind of stakeholder. All of these people need to talk to one another, and it seems that everyone uses different tools to manage the unique aspects of their tasks or work environments. Tasktop builds software that helps those tools to work together so that everyone can focus together on the stuff that matters. In short, we break down boundaries and help people communicate. That’s worth doing.

Eclipse Platform Improvements for Microsoft Windows

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

In Eclipse 3.6 we worked with the Microsoft interoperability team to bring some major improvements for Microsoft Windows users, such as Jump Lists, taskbar progress indicator and taskbar overlay text and images. As part of Tasktop’s ongoing partnership with Microsoft, we’ve been working hard to bring you two more improvements this year: Desktop Search, and Glass.

Desktop Search

The idea behind Desktop Search is simple: enable developers to search for resources outside of the current workspace. Until now Eclipse developers have only been able to search for resources within their workspace. First requested in 2007, this feature will help developers using multiple workspaces or those who regularly work with non-workspace files or documents.

Integrated Desktop Search

While Desktop Search works for users on any OS, Windows users will experience a much faster search as a result of tight platform integration with Windows Search. Windows Search provides a full-text search index over a user’s files. The powerful Windows Search “SELECT TOP” syntax is used to find the most relevant matches.

Desktop Search Results

Workspace and non-workspace resources are displayed side-by-side in the search result.

We hope to have Desktop Search integrated as a Platform feature for Eclipse 3.8. In the meantime, Desktop Search is available from the Mylyn Incubator update site. To install select “Help -> Install New Software” from the Eclipse menu. Using the following site select “Mylyn Desktop Search (Incubation)”. If this is something that you’d like to see as an Eclipse Platform feature, please vote for it on bug 192767.

Aero Glass for SWT

Modern Windows applications can have transparency, commonly known as Glass. For the first time, with this latest improvement to SWT on Windows, both Eclipse workbench and Eclipse RCP applications will be able to look like modern Windows 7 applications.

As an example here is the Glass look applied to the Tasktop RCP application, which only took a few hours of effort:

Tasktop RCP with Glass

In this screenshot we’ve updated Tasktop RCP to use Glass for the shell, toolbar and search widget.

RCP and Eclipse platform developers will be able to use Glass with the new TRIM_FILL style bit:

	Shell uiShell = new Shell(display, SWT.SHELL_TRIM | SWT.TRIM_FILL);
	uiShell.setText("Glassy World");

	Composite uiRoot = new Composite(uiShell, SWT.TRIM_FILL);

Looking forward we would like to see this new Glass support adopted by the workbench modernization effort in e4.

Glass support in SWT is nearing completion, under development on bug 325795: support Windows Vista and 7 Aero Glass shells.

Eclipse And Windows – Looking To The Future

Through our partnership with Microsoft, Tasktop is continuing our efforts to keep Eclipse looking fresh and modern on Windows. We are currently discussing the next round of improvements, so if you have any ideas or feedback about what you’d like to see next, please drop me a note at

You can read more about these and related efforts from the Microsoft perspective:


Many thanks go out to Felipe Heidrich, Scott Kovatch, Mike Wilson, Steve Northover, Silenio Quarti, Bogdan Gheorghe, Raymond Lam, and Shawn Minto for helping to make Glass with SWT a reality, and to Łukasz Milewski for his prototype. Thanks also go out to Raymond Lam, Shawn Minto, Steffen Pingel and David Green for creating the desktop search integration, and to Dani Megert for supporting integration into the Eclipse core platform. Also I’d like to give a special thank you to the Microsoft Interop team who have been driving a better experience for Eclipse users on Windows.

Tasktop hosts Eclipse Indigo DemoCamp

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

This year, Tasktop Technologies and VMware co-hosted the Eclipse Indigo DemoCamp in Vancouver. The event was a smashing success with some 60 developers in attendance, awesome networking and even cooler talks including:

greenbullet_icon Presentation by Ralph Muller from the Eclipse Foundation
greenbullet_icon Benjamin Cabé from Sierra Wireless presenting on Koneki
greenbullet_icon Rafael Chaves from Abstratt Technologies presenting: “Full code generation with AlphaSimple” (AlphaSimple is an online modeling tool built on Eclipse technology)
greenbullet_icon Kris De Volder from VMware presenting on Cloud Foundry
greenbullet_icon Presentation by Ed Merks, project lead of the Eclipse Modeling Framework project
greenbullet_icon David Green of Tasktop Technologies presenting the latest Mylyn integrations for Git, Gerrit and Hudson (see photo below)

To get a sense for what Demo Camps are all about, watch the video of the opening talks from VMware’s Andrew Eisenberg, Eclipse’s Ralph Mueller, and Tasktop’s David Green available here: We were not able to capture the sessions, but hope to do so next time.

After the event, we all headed out to a nearby Lennox Pub for more fun and networking…

In this picture, Ralph Muller of the Eclipse Foundation, as well as Andrew Eisenberg of VMware and other developers networking in the background.

See More Photos from the event…

For more information about the DemoCamp please see the Vancouver Eclipse Indigo DemoCamp wiki

Hope to see you all there next year!