Archive for August, 2011

The next (already nr 11) person in the “Who isserie is Mary Poppendieck. I have seen Mary talk already in a few occasions. I remember posting a video of a talk she did on my blog, but even I can’t find it back so I guess it must have been in my dreams. (I hope Tom won’t be mad at me that I dream of Mary ;- ) )

On a more serious base: I really met Mary for the first time at Agile Train were I enjoyed discussing with her. I was scheduled to follow her class at AgileEE 2009, but that was cancelled due to Toms illness. What amazes me most about Tom & Mary is that they are now talking all over the world talking about lean & agile in what I would call their second career.

I think many agilists consider Mary & Tom among the top agilists, and yet they stay so accessible. The last x years I have send mails to both of them on small and large questions and I always get an answer, and usually one that blows me away. And Tom deserves a mention as probably the agilist that read most books. When I walked around with my booklist at agile 2010 I think Tom was the only person who know and probably had read all books. Impressed. Oh and Tom is the un-official (or should I say official) photographer of all the agile conferences he goes to. And he was so nice to let me use one of his pictures for our New years video of 2009. (Did I mention already they are nice people? )

Brust-FamilyWhat is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?


The biggest influence on me was my mother, a math teacher who had wanted to be a doctor.  Her father – an eminent physician – told her she should become a nurse, because that’s what girls did.  Well, that was all she needed to decide that she was NOT going to be a nurse. She chose the hardest subject she could – math – and got a Master’s degree. (I also have a Master’s degree in Math.) My mother was 29 when she married; never one to do things half way, she had 11 children in 15 years. The picture (above) is my family when I was 13. My mother often talked about how she was going to write a book, and perhaps this is what kindled my interest in writing. She used to type essays for me, until I learned to type them myself. I got my first job as a programmer in part because I could type!


If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?

I was thinking of becoming a math teacher, but then I decided that teaching was the thing girls were expected to do, so being my mother’s daughter, I could hardly do that. I considered becoming an actuary, because it required a lot of math.  But there was this new thing – programming computers – that intrigued me. So I took the road less traveled, and it turned out to be a good road. But I’m sure the other roads would have been good roads also – you always take yourself with you wherever you go.


What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?

The biggest challenge for a writer/speaker is to constantly come up with new ideas. To do this, Tom and I travel a lot and learn from the many people we interact with. Tom is a voracious reader, so he is a constant source of new ideas. Often I have to propose a topic for a conference talk months in advance, so I try to pick a topic which I think is becoming important, intending to learn more about it in the next few months. The challenge is to have something meaningful to say about the topic by the time the conference arrives.  Sometimes I look at the abstract I wrote months earlier as I prepare for a talk and say to myself “What was I thinking?” But I never change the topic; instead I try to imagine why someone would come to the talk and figure out what they are interested in hearing. Some of my best ideas have come to me as I developed a particularly challenging talk.


What drives you ?

I write because I would like to do a little bit toward making it possible for people who develop software to love their job.  I always loved programming, and when I returned to the world of software development in 1999, I was appalled to find that the job has become largely one of drudgery instead of passion. This felt wrong to me.


What is your biggest achievement?

During the 1990’s I worked on developing new products based on polymers. When I left 3M in 1999, I returned to the world of software development and encountered terms I had never heard of before: “waterfall” – “maturity levels” – “earned value” – terms like that. These concepts did not make sense to me, so I decided to write a book that challenged the prevailing thinking about software development. Along with the hard work and efforts of many others, I think the book and its sequels have helped to change the way software development is thought about and managed today.


What is the last book you have read?

I’m currently reading a couple of books:

In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson, about Berlin in 1933.

Specification by Example” by Gojko Adzic

The Clean Coder” by Bob Martin

Probably my favorite, however, is Henrik Kniberg’s mini-book “Lean from the Trenches”


What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?

You should definitely ask about Tom.


When I left 3M I had five years left before retirement income started, so I needed a way to make some money. I decided to go back into software not because I had done it before, but because Tom was a software architect in a consulting firm. He had been reading widely about the latest developments in the field and suggested that it held a lot of opportunity in a rapidly growing market. The first talk I gave – on object-oriented technology – was one Tom had prepared for a local group, but he had to travel, so I gave it for him. I had to learn a lot about object-oriented technology in a very short time! When Tom first brought home Kent Beck’sXP Explained,” I was annoyed by some of the ideas – especially pair programming. It took a long time for me to buy into TDD, and in fact, the biggest failing in my first book was that I had not yet completely bought into the idea, despite Tom’s best efforts to convince me. Tom is not so much a writer as he is a photographer and physicist (in that order), and that makes him a very deliberate thinker with an amazing ability to analyze situations and find patterns. He is probably more of a co-author than most, because he co-authored all of the ideas in our books. And he is undoubtedly the best book reviewer in the business.


Who do you think I should ask next?

Update: if you liked this, please buy the “Who is agile” book. It contains similar answers from other agilists. And Mary’s answer to the question: What is your favorite leisure activity?

This is a cool video on how to use a kinect with your wallboards.

Now as you know I am not a big fan of electronic boards, but with tools like this, you have the best of boths words.
Check out their website for more:

When will you implement this?

My ideas:

  • use this in combination with a real (paper) task board
  • use QR codes to recognise the stories.
  • Use this with a projector.
  • Use this in the teamroom to have people make changes while sitting down (wild idea that needs more thoughts..)

Agh I really want to try this out

The next person in our “Who is” serie is Chris Matts. Chris was invited by Liz Keogh.

Like Liz said, Chris is one of these guys I wonder what will he come up with next. He is also one of the people that I can (will?) ran into a bar at an agile conference and will talk with untill the morning. We will have talked for hours about all kind of subjects, and not one minute will be boring. Even ordering drinks is funny and you might learn something about agile or the financial world he lives in.
During these talks, Chris will most definitely tell you jokes about other agilists. Don’t confuse that for not respecting the people he talks about.

What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

I think most people think of me as a finance and process guy. Not surprising because of my involvement in the real option stuff.I actually come from a very artistic and teaching background which is more of who I am than the finance stuff. Finance is just something I found easy that I fell into.

My aunt and my best friend from school are both school principles. My father teaches people to paint in watercolours. My mother, a card shark, teaches people to play cards.Another friend is a puppy walker for the police.
Most of what I do at work is teach people about financial products. Most of my childhood was spent being dragged around art galleries by my father. This stuff rubs off on you eventually.

So for me the most nurturing environment is one where learning takes place and I’m surrounded by beautiful art. Conferences are great for learning, however I normally chose conferences based on the location, especially if there is an art gallery I want to visit nearby. I have very fond memories of Agile 2007 because of the trip to the Whitney and the Smithsonian Museum of Modern Art with the Accellinova crew. In Chicago, Kent MacDonald and I snuck away to see Oak Park where Frank Lloyd Wright lived and worked. Agile2009 also reminds me of the Segway tour with Mike Sutton and Lasse KoskeIa to see the Chicago Skyline which is the city’s greatest work. I spent the day in Stockholm with Agical as a means to see Carl Larsson’s pictures at the nearby Gallery. I’m looking forward to Agile Prague as I love Alphonse Mucha’s work and Berlin (ALE) to see what Norman Foster has done with the Brandenburg Gate. I was very glad to have missed a visit to a Gallery in Toronto with a friend, but that is my friend’s story to tell.

Its why I lament at the rise of the commercial side of Agile at the expense of the learning.  Also that conferences are held in Cities that do not appeal to art lovers.

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?
I would have been the greatest writer of comics in the world. A talent bigger than Frank Miller, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman combined. The only thing that stopped me was a total lack of imagination and no skill or style in the prose department. Anyone who has read the “Real Options at Agile 2009” comic would agree I think.

The reality is I never chose to be in IT, I kind of drifted into it. I was good at maths at secondary school but found electronics more interesting at A-Level. I did a degree in electronics and computing but found that electronics was hard so went the software way. When I started working I found software was hard because of all the testing and moved towards the business. So I suppose if not for IT I would have become an electronics engineer. I would have been designing control systems for air conditioning units in some portacabin off the M1. I would be dreaming of designing the air conditioning unit for a Formula 1 racing car.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?

Several years ago I was very ill. I was off work for six months and it took me several years to fully recover. Getting myself better was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I had to seek out new sources of knowledge and find out about things I knew nothing about in order to heal myself. I was very fortunate to have the support of my family and some very very good friend. It is not something I would wish on anyone.

I learned a huge amount about myself and about other people as a result of the exercise. It also made me human as before I was ill I was a really annoying duracell bunny. I addressed my mortality and tried to sort out my life. I worked out what was important to me which was my family and my friends… and comics. Now every day I ring my father on the way to work and I ring my children on the way home. Every day I go on eBay to look at comics. If I had not been ill I would probably be flying around the world and living in hotels as I promoted real options or feature injection. Now I go out once or twice a week at most. I’m a bit of a home bird really.

What drives you ?

I LOVE to learn new things. Actually I love to learn new things from other people rather than books. And I love solving problems with people. I try to do everything as a collaboration and I’ve been lucky to work with some great people… Andy Pols, Steve Freeman, Dan North, Kent MacDonald, Todd Little, Niel Nickeliesen and of course Olav Maassen… as well as this really annoying little woman from Salt Lake City who allways wears black.
With those things I’ve learned I am driven to use them to improve things. I particularly get a kick out of helping someone do something.

What is your biggest achievement?
A few years ago I used to go drinking in London’s West end and at the end of the night I would get a taxi home from the same firm. One night, one of the drivers told me he was afraid of losing his house because he could not afford the mortgage payments. Things were serious and he was being threatened with court proceedings. With half slurred speech I asked if he was paying an interest only or repayment mortgage. He said he had a repayment mortgage. I told him to pay what he could as he wasn’t paying anything because he thought he had to pay it all or pay nothing at all. I also explained he could contact his mortgage company and ask if he could switch to an interest only mortgage until he could afford to move back to a repayment mortgage.

A month or so later the same cabbie took me home. “They called me Sir!” he said. I rang them and asked to switch to an interest only. They said sure. “Would you like us to send you the forms Sir?”. It’s sorted he said.

He still did not give me a discount on the cab fare home.

All the other stuff I’ve done, helping to get the band on stage at Agile 2009 in less than 24 hours… all that other stuff means nothing compared to helping a cabbie from being kicked out of his home. Makes you wonder what Doctors and Nurses and all the people in the caring professions would say. By comparison, my achievement is nothing.

What is the last book you have read?

Just finished Gojko Adzic‘s “Specification by Example“. It is a must read. The state of the art in Agile thinking. I’m also reading “Reality is Broken” by Jane McGonigal. A book about why games are better than reality and what we can learn from games to make reality better. It was recommended to me by Steve “Doc” List who is trying to use games to improve the way we learn. The book inspired me to do the #myDailyThankYou tweets. The idea is to write a daily tweet genuinely thanking someone for something. the intent is to make twitter a nicer place, to increase the “Jen” of the environment as the book would call it.

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?
Why are you such an arse? Why do you keep asking snarky questions and complaining about the state of Agile?

The easy answer is “because I am an arse and because normally I am drunk when I do it”.

The harder answer is…because I care enough to make myself unpopular. I do not make my living as an Agile consultant. I use Agile techniques to improve the projects I work with. This makes it easier for me to be critical about the Agile community. The early days saw an explosion in learning which seems to have slowed down almost to a halt. There is learning in pockets all over the community but the majority of Agile is now about teaching rather than learning. As a result I’ve seen a number of great thinkers leave the community. They no longer attend the conferences and we are missing out on their cutting edge insight and experience. Some of the things I hear experts say make me laugh. It is no longer a community based on experiential learning. Europe is very different to the USA. In Europe we do not really have these theoretical thought leaders. Most European thought leaders also work on client sites for extended periods.

The problem comes when people hear laughable stuff and use it as a justification to ignore the rest of the message. Even worse when they try out someone else’s theory and it fails. Rather than chosing between a commercial and learning community, we should strive hard to do both. The commercial side will look after itself, so we need to make sure we nurture the learning. The new learning is unlikely to come from the established big names. It will come from the grass roots. That is why the ALE Network and conferences are so important that Jurgen, Olaf and a bunch of layabouts on sofas are organising.

Who do you think I should ask next?

Tricky. There are soooo many good people to chose from. That said, Julian Everett’s work is amazing and really should be seen by more people. His work on memes is an act of genius. Its not theory, he’s actually using it. He is using it to change the way his client invests in IT.

Update: if you like Chris answers, you might want to buy the Who is agile book, it contains answers from more people and one extra question for everyone.

About 2 months ago I started my “Who Is” serie. The idea was to ask a a bunch of diverse people some questions and publish one set of answer every week.

The first mail I send out, I did not got any answer for a few days. I was not sure if it was a good idea or not, so I send the questions out to a few more people. Then I thought it is almost holiday. I will be gone for a few weeks, and I wants to be sure I can schedule answers while I am gone. (And I don’t want to take the risk that I don’t get any answers for the rest of the holiday period.) So I started to send out my questions to some more people.

When people replied, I started looking at the last answer (who should I ask next) and send out questions to these people. When people told me, I need some time to think about these people I asked hem, could you already give me new name(s).

I published the first set of answers from Lisa Crispin 10 days before my holiday. During my holiday I started to get lots and lots of answers. I needed a tool to keep track of who I invited and who accepted. I created a spreadsheet to write down all the names of people I invited. When I started to record them, I quickly realized I had already invited lots of people.

By the time my holiday was over, I had 76 people invited, 52 people had said yes (2 said no) and + 30 had written an answer. I started to add a publication date to my spreadsheet.

Somewhere along the way I had decided that I would schedule answers “in a first answer, first published” order. I communicated that to the next people I invited. (I did not do that to the first people I invited.)

When I received a new set of answers, I read the answers (I just love what people are doing with the questions.) Then I thank the person for his time (as I know that answering these questions takes a lot of time for most people.) And I tell them when their answers will be scheduled. More and more I started to feel guilty, as I had to tell people in July that they would be published in October, November etc…

Last week I received an answer from a person I admire a lot. I invited her before my holiday. I had told that person it was ok to answer after my holiday as I already had answers for the next weeks. I forgot to tell her about my “first come first serve policy”. By the time she answered, I had people scheduled until February 2012. I told her, the probably publication date. She was mad. Really mad. She had spend part of her holidays writing the answers, rewriting it a few times. The result was one of the most touching answers I received, very personal. She was mad because she found my release schedule ridiculous for an agile coach. She was right.

Lets look at this project:

  • I had a weekly release schedule.
  • A large project backlog of people (76)
  • A velocity of one

I realized I treated my project backlog all the same way: from the moment a name got added to my backlog I started to work on it: that is I send an e-mail asking that person to start working on it. In my defense I had an almost unlimited team for working on the backlog (one person a story feels unlimited for me.)

Start to see some links with agile projects? Wait it get’s better.

Not only did I have an unlimited team, they also started to deliver very fast. (That’s is why I now have 39 answers.)

I said I had a velocity of one, but I have 39 answers in a couple of weeks, shouldn’t my velocity be 39/nr of weeks? Aha great question mr Watson. To answer this question we have to look at my definition of done. When is a story done? It’s done when it is delivered to the customer. When is it delivered to my customer. Well the customers of this blog are my readers, yes I ‘m talking about you. The stories are delivered when they are published on my blog.  Aha that shows a a glitch in my explanation. I don’t have an unlimited team. I actually have a bottleneck. Remember TOC, there always is a bottleneck. Find it. And eliminate… Oh wait I am the bottleneck.

I’m publishing only once a week. That is a choice I made. Publishing more would be lot of work for me. Mmm when I coach teams I tell them, when it’s hard do it more often. Ok maybe I should publish more often. So I asked my agile friends on twitter (and in person)

Turns out that my customers liked my publishing limit and actually asked me to keep it.

Ok. That is a dead end. What else can I do to solve this problem?

Let’s see what is the problem again? The time between the receiving of the answers and the publication is too big.

Let’s have a visual look at the work:

Todo Asked Said yes Answered Published Total
46 24 13 30 9 117

I wrote this table as in Kanban. Every column represents the Work In Progress.

(Except that I added the total at the end)

Aha Visual Management helps again. Clearly the biggest block is in publishing.(Tell me something I did not know.) I already know that publishing faster is not an option.

Ok so now you are doing Kanban, so what would David Anderson do? He would limit the work in progress.

I can’t stop people from saying yes.

I can’t stop people from being added to the TODO list (really I can’t because it is part of how the answer that I expect people to give.)

The only place where I can limit the work in progress is Stop asking people to answer questions. (For clarity I did not write: ask people to stop answering questions.)

As you can see I have already 46 more stories ready on my backlog (they are ready when I have a name and an e-mail adres.)

For all the people that have answered the questions, I’m sorry the time between your answers and my publication is so long. This was in no way my intention to disrespect the work you did to answer the questions.

If I already asked you, and you haven’t answered, what should you do?

Today (2011/08/18) I have a publishing schedule until 2012/04/10. This means I ‘m not urgently waiting on your answers.

You can answer at your own pace, write the answers when you have time.(I do keep my scheduling based on first come first served.)

A big thank you for the person being mad at me at pushing me to blog about it.

(You know who you are)


The next person in our Who is series, is Johanna Rothman. Johanna coached me a few months ago to help me find sustainable pace back. I asked her to coach me, because I loved her book managing your project portfolio. She maintains a few very interesting blogs: managing project development, hiring technical people, create an adaptable life. Multiple people in the who is series have mentioned her as a person to invite. That was too late, she was amongst the first I invited. (I only publish her today because she was so yentle to swap places with someone who had good reasons to be published earlier.)


What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

I worked in a factory between my junior and senior years in high school. It was horrible. Not the heat, although that was bad. Not the work, although that was mind-numbingly boring. It was the inefficiencies of the office work that made me nuts. I alphabetized and chronologized paperwork for six weeks. I thought I would go out of my mind. It was relief to go onto the factory floor. That’s when I realized I had to do something about the office work, if I ever worked in an office.

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?
I would have done some form of engineering. I started school as pre-med, but that lasted only six weeks. I only got B’s on my first exams, so clearly med school was not in my future. When I discovered computer science, I knew I had found my home.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?
Patience. I have more patience than I had years ago. I need more patience now to manage my physical issues, and to be more human with my clients. Practicing patience is good for me.

What drives you ?
I need to see what the next step is in my career, get there, excel at it, and repeat. Again and again and again…

What is your biggest achievement?
I don’t know how to answer “biggest,” so I’ll change the question to something I can answer. I’m proud of these professional achievements: that I’ve written several books and that I’m working on several more. I’m proud of starting and maintaining the AYE conference with my fellow hosts, which has added experiential sessions to conferences worldwide. I’m proud that I have learned to collaborate professionally, with Esther Derby, Gil Broza, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, Shane Hastie, Don Gray, and Jerry Weinberg.

Personally, I’m delighted that my daughters have grown up as two fabulous people and that I’m still married to a great guy.

All of these is my “biggest” achievement.

What is the last book you have read?
I’ve read a plethora of books recently. I wrote the foreword for Dan Rawsthorne’s *Exploring Scrum*, I’m about to write a review for Naomi Karten’s *Presentation Skills for Technical Professionals*, and I’m in the middle of Chris Sterling’s *Managing Software Debt*, and those are just the technical books. I’m rereading some of the Lois McMaster Bujold and Heinlein books on my Kindle, and I just finished Nora Roberts‘s *Search*.

And, I just read Larry Constantine’s nom-de-plume’s Lior Samson’s Bashert. I really enjoyed that too, and need to write a review.

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?
What is the next book about? Agile program management. And no, there is no One Right Way, but there are several guidelines and suggestions I have about ways that you can be successful.
And, because my older daughter is in the midst of a job search, I’m writing a short handbook, tentatively called, “An Agile Approach to Your Job Search.” It’s too easy to get bogged down and depressed by the bigness of your job search. Agile can make that easier. So she’s trying out what I’m suggesting and reviewing the book for me.

Who do you think I should ask next?
Esther Derby and Don Gray

Update: if you liked this, please buy the “Who is agile” book. It contains similar answers from other agilists. And Johanna’s answer to the question: What are you looking forward to most in the next few months?

The next person in the Who Is serie is David Harvey. David was invited by Ralph Miarka. I personally followed several sessions of David at conferences like XPday London & Xp2010 and remember him from some great (and sometimes funny) discussions. He was one of the first people in the agile community to talk about Lean’s Value stream. He is also one of the people from CATeams. (I’m happy to say that you can find some of his humor back in his answers.)


What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

I think enough people know about my musical background for it not to be something that people usually don’t know about me… I’m a frustrated actor/improviser, and when I’m in one place for long enough I will add that to the list of goals…

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?

Hard one. Something in music and academia, maybe (but – apart from the paucity of opportunity, I really didn’t enjoy that life. Most of my contemporaries who took that root are still in their first positions, twenty+ years on). Maybe teaching and playing guitar.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?

At the moment, finding time for everything. I’m involved in one long-term development project, three start-ups at various points, and from time to time coaching and consulting. I’m a big fan of pomodoro, especially when I have admin to do. It’s not a good thing for me!

What drives you ?

Curiosity, and the pleasure of practice.

What is your biggest achievement?

  • In life? My children (though their achievement is all their own).
  • In music? Performing in many world premieres.
  • In Software? Seeing two ground-breaking versions of Sibelius to market when I was CTO. Courtesy of a great team – it was an exhilarating four years.

What is the last book you have read?

Again, three answers!

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?

You should ask: "what question do you think I should also ask, and what is the answer?" To which the answer is: ("You should ask: "what question do you think I should also ask, and what is the answer?" To which the answer is: ("You should ask: "what question …   …)))))))))))

Serious answer – "What are your hopes and fears for software development in the next ten years?" Hopes – that between small-a agile and small-s-c software craftsmanship, we’ll continue to improve the practice and outcome of making software in our teams and organisations. Fears – that despite the best efforts of those who care, nothing much will change, and the profession of software will increasingly lose what pride in itself and respect from others it has.

Who do you think I should ask next?

I’m sure you’ve got Europe covered 🙂 Avoiding the usual suspects: in the UK, there are two people who are pretty much elders of the software community here. Bruce Anderson and John Daniels have both been very influential on me, and many others. I like Jason Gorman‘s anger and passion for action, he is well worth talking to. If you haven’t spoken to Joseph Pelrine, you definitely need to. And John Nolan is the best person I know for cutting through the crap and nonsense that surrounds a lot of what’s done in the name of agile – we need our controversialists, especially when they’ve delivered as much over the years as John has.

Last year at Agile 2011 I walked around and created a booklist together with lots of people. Although this year I decided not to go to the conference, I still want to create a similar list. Last year I had 2 rules:

  • Only one book
  • It can’t be on the list already

This year I add a third one:

Last year their was an implicit rule:

  • You had to be at Agile 2010 to be on the list. (As I walked around)

This year I’m changing that rule to

  • You can only recommend a book until the end of Agile 2011. Meaning you don’t have to be present at Agile 2011 to recommended a book.

I will be building this list online, so you can see it grow. If you want to add a book, just tweet it to me. Here is the list:

Here is the Cover list

If this is not enough, check out Jurgen’s Top 100 list of Agile books based on sales.

The next person for the “Who Is” series is Oana Juncu. I invited Oana because of her always present energy. I only “met” here recently, but already it looks like she is(was) always present.

What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

I’m a fan of books for children, British humor, and fairytale. One of my favorites is ” Through the Looking Glass“, by Lewis Caroll, that combines all these. I’m so found of that book that I nearly believe I was Alice in a  former life. Respectful curiosity, fresh humor, and unconditional tolerance allow you to think out of the box and accomplish amazing things. That’s what’s all about. I read it when I was 12 years old. I’m afraid I never grew older since. Let me give you a quote from the book so you’ll know why :
Alice laughed. `There’s no use trying,’ she said `one ca’n’tbelieve impossible things.’

`I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. `When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!’

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?

One of my  great love is about  languages and semantics. As for example, I’m fascinated by German as a self-generating new concepts language my merging different words. I’m quite sure that’s why they have such great philosophers. I can bet that if you have notions of German you can easier understand Martin Heidegger in German that your mother tongue.  Take a look at “Sein und Zeit“. It’s not translatable.
Actually that’s also why become a passionate IT : the day I learned about N. Chomsky’s theory of grammars that was the foundation of language compilers, I decided to go for IT.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?

My biggest challenge is to keep all my engagements and have a good balance between personal and professional life. Being aware of this, as a challenge made me realize that personal and professional activities aren’t and shouldn’t be conflicting. If that’s the case , it can be a source of continuous unhappiness.
Taking several engagements is a challenge I take and taking challenges  is making me moving forward.

What drives you ?

Curiosity : looking behind the curtain. Sharing. Learning.

What is your biggest achievement?

I’m not sure having any big achievement. I had a lot of tiny achievements that I think useful. For example making teams with different goals work together by creating empathy. So an useful achievement is that I’m a rather good facilitator. But that’s only my opinion. Maybe other people think I’m the worst facilitator they ever encountered.  The major achievement that I would like to have is helping my children be happy. No guarantee I’ll ever make it.

What is the last book you have read?

I’m copying from Lisa’s answer, I’m a too multi-tasking  book reader. I’m currently reading a book about the Romanian Revolution back in 1989, and I finisher “Private Angelo” by Erik Linklater. I’m also traveling through the kindle version (so handy!) of Management 3.0.

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?

“What are the insights that guide your behavior?”
Those I learned from my grand-parents. Mainly from my grand-father that a good part of his  youth being a refugee during the World War II.
One is to take advantage of the every day routine, we should see it at a privilege. Put your problems on a scale from minor to life threaten and see how you feel about them after doing so.
Help people if you can and if you want, but  don’t organize your life around the recognition you would like to have.  That is another huge source of unhappiness.

Who should be the next person to answer these questions?

I could have a lot of proposals . Let me mention just a few. One is Marcin Floryan that is one of the co-organisers of ALE2011. I didn’t know him well before. I appreciate his way to care about other people opinions, and spend some time to understand what the “damn’ they are talking about”.
Another is a full bunch of list of Italian Agilists that I discovered lately, like Fabio Armani an Agile Coach and Jazz composer, Carlo Breschian IT Agile guy that made a master in semiotics and had Umerto Ecco as one of professors, and then thought that developing software would be cool. And there a couple more, I was very impressed by their thoughtfulness and their modesty.Finally, Yves, I think you should answer your questions. You’re such a wonderful coach, asking these questions proves it.  So why don’t you let us know who you are from this perspective?

La version Français peut etre trouver ici.


Tonight I’m having a party at my house where I am giving away French Fries. I’m doing this because 20 years ago I burned down my parents house while making French Fries.




















No I’m not joking. I do celebrate this event. Not that it was a good thing that I burned my parents house down. It was not. I celebrate it, because that event had next to the bad results also good results. And over the years I came to value the good effects over the bad ones.

For me the most important reason why I could see this as a positive event was the way my parents reacted when I first saw them back.

They hugged me, instead of being mad at me.
I hope that if my kids ever screw up in their life, I have the energy to do the same.
The hug told me: I had failed, yet I was not a failure.

The second most important reason: I learned to not worry about what people think of me. My life is about me, not about them.

Update: Here are some more pictures