Hello, my name is Charles Durfee, and welcome to my site! I go by Chuck.
I started my IT career as a systems administrator, and then as a support engineer. I loved scripting, so I decided to program computer full time.
Fast forward twelve years. I’ve transitioned from implementing software into doing coaching work in the area of agile adoption, as well as in management as I complete my MBA this spring. You can view my LinkedIn profile for more details.
I excel at and enjoy creating teams and communities of practice. I lead book clubs, facilitate open space events, reduce team dysfunctions alongside scrum masters, teach code katas, organize brown bag lunch sessions, hold lean coffee talks, help programmers apply design patterns to problems, conduct agile retrospectives, and mentor programmers and scrum masters. I also teach directors, operations teams, executives, project managers and other stakeholders to foster growth and productivity in their agile teams, to everyone’s mutual benefit. This work sometimes extends beyond the borders my job, for example when I hosted a 40-episode podcast called the Agile Chuck Wagon in 2015.
I thrive best in an agile delivery environment. I have catalyzed the adoption and dispersion of Scrum and Lean practices including Kanban at a number of companies. I am a Certified Scrum Master, if certifications are important to you. The people I work with and manage tend to be geographically distributed. When you are eight time zones away from your colleagues, it adds complexity that is sometimes worth it.
I’m still active in the Agile Denver user group. I served as a board member, and helped organize their Mile High Agile conference for the past six years (once as chairperson). I’ve spoken at three of those conferences on technical topics of interest to agile practitioners and got good marks. I’ve done a number of private presentations on diverse topics such as design patterns, the psychology of change, and kanban metrics.
I’m happily married and enjoy our seven children, all teenagers and young adults. We live with our two dogs on the outskirts of the Denver area. I am a Christian.
Over the course of my life, I have studied several languages: German, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, Esperanto, to name a few. Maybe it’s my mathematics bent, but I’m continually fascinated by the whole idea that I can smack some plastic blocks with my fingers, then the hammering forms glyphs, and then you – who might be half a world away – can discover something about what I’m thinking. Or, that I can whisper and be heard a thousand miles away. Language is so powerful, and technology just magnifies its effect a thousandfold. A googlefold.
I enjoy hiking, geocaching, walking the dogs, and playing backyard sports with the kids. I do hold a second degree black belt (II Dan) with the United States Taekwon-Do Federation, though I don’t train actively these days.
I read a lot of books. I try to read 30 minutes every night. I alternate between fiction and non-fiction. As of the month of this writing, I have read Leviathan Wakes in the Expanse series by James S. A. Corey, The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, and Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson. My men’s group from church is working through Ephesians.
Let me let my geek flag fly for a moment. I play many board and card games. Among my favorites are Power Grid, 7 Wonders, Caverna, Dominion, Settlers of Catan, Forbidden Island, Small World and Pandemic. I got into board gaming by becoming a demo rabbit for Looney Labs games at local conventions.
I enjoy tabletop roleplaying games, too. I have been a gamemaster for over 30 years. Google+ Hangouts have revitalized my interest in the hobby. These days, I prefer story games like Dungeon World, Monsterhearts and FATE though I’ve played my fair share of crunchier systems including Doctor Who RPG, Star Trek RPG and yes, Dungeons & Dragons.
The nickname “neon tapir” came from a meme game on LiveJournal a long time ago when I was tiring of my previous nickname. While I adore tapirs and think the nickname evokes a bit of a cyberpunk feel, I wondered if the moniker would represent me. “Neontapir” endures, it’s catchy and starts conversations.
Please toss a comment into a post and say hi! Do let me know who you are, what you liked, and what you’d like to see! You can also get a hold of me on Twitter, where I am @ChuckDurfee. My email address is neon.tapir+blog at gmail.com.