Holistic Software Development is a free business process framework supporting simple, complicated and complex organistions involved in software develpoment. Visualized as a number of maps (the small picture and big picture), HSD combines Lean Portfolio, Programme and Project Management practices with agility, complex software practices and soft practices into the H-Model, HSD provides a standard proven framework that can be used to run diverse software enterprises.

HSD is about the business of doing software development, from strategy to architectureteam forming to business change. HSD achieves the scaling of lean and agile philosophy to the entire organisation..


The best way to navigate Holistic Software Engineering is from the Big Picture that shows how it all hangs together and describes flows through decomposition and integration indicating key activities and pieces of information. Parts of the image link to articles providing detail and recommendations.

Each article is tagged. By clicking on the tags at the bottom of the page you can find related articles or you can use the Search function to find articles by keyword. We also provide an index of all articles, note that sometimes articles are composites (or partial composites) of other articles.

Alternatively the Views (also available from the menu at the top of the page) provide specific vertical, horizontal and ad hoc descriptions of related material.

Explore the model by following what interests you.


Adoption of Holistic Software Development, or some of the practices or structures inside it, can be managed in a number of ways depending on the requirements of a specific organization, its current practices and constraints. We recommend adopting the principles and manifesto, rather than a step by step formal adoption, and using elements of  HSD to adopt itself, both to ensure return on investment and provide an example to the organization.

We recommend adoption from three points of view, which can be adopted in isolation but work best when adopted together:

  1. Top-down Strategic Adoption
  2. Middle-out Portfolio and Programme Adoption
  3. Bottom-up Team Adoption

Further refined by:

  1. Systemic analysis
  2. Establishing Continuous Improvement

Optionally, when a business is suffering problems:

  1. Assessment and Intervention

The core of HSD adoption is the creation of working, congruent feedback loops at every level of the business enabled by Integration StreamsReleasesRetrospectivesBubble Up and Go-See.

Adopting Holistic Software Development involves working with teams, managers and leaders on Day 1 of adoption. There’s no need to spend months assessing an organization before linking parts of it together. Our deeply experienced consultants and partners provide mentoring and coaching – they can rapidly adapt to existing structures and behaviors. All of our adoption practices are aligned to our Psychology-based Business Change techniques.

You don’t need us to adopt HSD but we, and our partners, will accelerate your adoption.


Mike MacDonagh
Technical Director – Holistic Software Consulting Ltd.

Known as a practical portfolio, programme, project and software expert with extensive experience in iterative and agile development in both small and very large teams backed up with deep architectural experience. Mike is one of the founders and authors of Holistic Software Development.

Mike is a developer, working in C#, Java, Javascript, Lazarus, PHP, Python and a variety of other languages.

Mike blogs on topics such as software development practices, scaling agile principles in complex team of teams projects and organizations, psychology based business change, holistic communication and many other topics.

Steve Handy
Technical Director – Holistic Software Consulting Ltd.

Steve has worked in the IT industry for over 25 years, starting out as a C++ developer, during his career has performed most of the roles involved in building software.

With wide experience in many different business sectors from energy management and distribution, finance, motor and aviation, law enforcement, to telecommunications and  extensive experience in both public and private sectors Steve is driven by a desire to help software development organisations, teams and individuals become more effective.

Having observed the evidence of the power in self-organising teams Steve is an advocate of agile methods, but is also mindful of the challenges that agile raises in large organisations as they struggle to adopt and reap the benefits of modern iterative methods.

HSD is completely independent from any other companies, individuals or groups. The copyright to HSD is held by Holistic Software Consulting Ltd.

We specialize in the application and implementation of modern business management, systems and software development practices in all types of organization large, small simple and complex. We are experts in transformational programs and the business change practices required to make your organization successful.

We work directly with clients and through our accredited partners.

Accredited Partners

Anyone can use Holistic Software Development for free but only our HSD Accredited Partners are recommended by us. They have passed our in depth behavioral accreditation process and so have proven knowledge of HSD and adoption best practices. Our partners have a proven track record in successful technical business change and software process improvement.

HSD Accredited Partner status cannot be simply bought and is not based on a multiple choice quiz after a few days of a course. Our Accredited Partners can be trusted to be HSD Experts.

Could you be the next HSD Accredited Partner?

Contact us to find out more about being an Accredited Partner. Our partner benefits include:

  • Valuable HSD Accreditation status
  • No risk, high value non-traditional partnership and collaboration model
  • A profile with logo, links and social media links on the HSD website
  • HSD Adoption Sales Leads – you own your leads and some of ours!
  • Unlimted access to official HSD training material, workshop materials and positioning materials
  • Unlimited access to official HSD marketing material
  • Access to our partners only areas for expert discussion, co-partnering opportunities and lead exchange

The details on the non-traditional HSD Accredited Partner program are publicly available on the Holistic Software Consulting Ltd. website.

HSD Partners

Our first candidate partners are currently going through accreditation – do you have the skills and experience to join them?

Markus Wagner

Markus has been in IT for 22 years. He was one of the early adopters of UML and OO programming in Germany. He became an expert on the Rational Tool Suite and went on to become a methodology consultant for RUP.

Markus is passionate about making software engineering more efficient. As of about 10 years ago, he has been working with a diverse range of agile approaches for different customers, alternating between the role of a methodology mentor and a manager and software architect. Markus believes that in order to become more efficient as a mentor, one has to constantly try out and improve the models and approaches a mentor follows. This is why he is programming in Java and Objective-C/Cocoa.

Markus believes that a big source of efficiency in engineering is the bridging of the ways people express their thoughts and understand each other, and that agile approaches like Scrum, but especially HSD help in that area.