Archive for August, 2012

A few weeks ago, I asked the organizers of #ALE2012, if I could steal 5 minutes of the intro. I wanted to do this, because I had something I wanted to share, that I felt was really in sync with the spirit of ALE

This was this speech. (This was the first time I ever did a speech on stage, that I never dry-runned out loud. You will understand why by the end.)

 

Hi,
My name is Yves Hanoulle.

Just like some of you, I’m here with my family.
I’m here with my family, because Sunday is the second of September. And in 2002, that second day of september was a special day for me and my wife Els.
It was a special day because we became parents. for the first time.

I would like my family with me on stage. We came to Barcelona with Geike who is 4., Bent who is 7 and Joppe who is 9. yet on Sunday when we will be driving back to Belgium, we will have a teenager in our car.
(Yes some of you know where this is going, please bare with me…)
I could say some things about being a teenager, but that would just be me. And for those who know me, I’m a community guy. And this a great community. So let’s show some hands:

  • Who was a teenager?
  • Who remembers being a teen-ager?

Good!
Now, on your chair, you can find a post it. I would like you to write down a word that reminds
you about being a teenager. It can be a negative feeling or a positive one. (I have extra post-its, so you can write more)
If you want, add your name or your e-mail to it.
When you are done, give it to your neighbor so Joppe can collect them in the middle of room.

And then later when he is at home, and he has a feeling, he can look at the post it’s and see he is not alone with that feeling. He might even contact you.

Now it’s not a coincidence that I brought my family to ALE2012.
Agile & Lean are about change. In a lot of cases it’s about changing a rigid organization with
rules invented by old people to the flexibility of your own decisions
(Or sometimes changing a chaotic organization without rules into less cowboy mentality.)

It’s not that different from changing from a boy into a man.

I think ALE is the perfect place to start that transition.

As a family we are still left with one challenge.
On Sunday we will be in the car almost al day. Now being in the car on your birthday, especially your tenth one, that really sucks. I’m sorry to use such a rude word, yet there is no other word for that.

That is why we leave earlier on Friday so Joppe can spend part of his Sunday at home or with
friends.
I don’t need to be on stage to tell you that. I can tell you that in person.
I asked to be on stage because of some of the most remarkable moments I had at agile
conferences. Moments where the whole audience stood up and sang.
In return for the car ride on his birthday, I would like you to sing for Joppe Happy birthday with
me.
1, 2, 3
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to Joppe
Happy Birthday to You

 

Joppe ended up with 88 post-it’s. I wrote them up in a g-spreadsheet that you can look at here.

Dhaval was invited by Naresh, this is what Naresh says about Dhaval.

I first met Dhaval when he came for an interview at one of my previous companies. I was blown away by his humble attitude, passion for craftsmanship and eagerness to learn. Since then, Dhaval has been a close friend and mentor. With the help of Dhaval, ASCI (Agile Software Community of India) organized various conferences in India. But for his support, handwork and enthusiasm, we would have not been able to spread the agile bug in India. Dhaval is an extremely hands-on technologist and coach, always bubbling with new ideas. If you are in Mumbai, don’t miss your opportunity to meet The Man in person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Life is a journey and many people have influenced me and will continue to influence me. Right from my childhood to present, from parents to teachers to co-workers and friends have played that role. However, during the formative career years, my Mom, a vigilant observer, was the key-player, she noted my inclinations and appropriately created the environment where I was able to grow and nurture myself. Further, my engineering professor, inventive by nature, was my source of inspiration. I learned that being creative requires you to be open to something higher than you to be able to receive those idea ‘dew drops’.

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

I would surely be in some creative field as I like to create things and enjoy making things ground-up, so it does not matter as long as it gives me that pleasure. However, having said that I enjoy cooking…so probably I would have been a chef. I also enjoy music, so maybe I would have been a Composer/Singer.

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

To constantly uncover myself and understand the inner currents that drive me is the biggest challenge. I believe that one has to take oneself apart, analyse each and every part, and then transform it to something different. It is a daunting task.

What drives you ?

Constant improvement and bettering my own-self – “Progressed while Progressing”

What is your biggest achievement?

I was able to discover what drives me so that I can steer my career and life in the direction I want to rather than being captive of circumstances. Having said that, it is not always that I get what I want, but that I can rise above those circumstances and be able to do what I set out to. That is my biggest achievement, much like how a chicken breaks out from egg-shell – for instance, moving from a regular job to consulting.

What is the last book you have read?

It has been quite some-time since I read a book, but my last book was: Groovy In Action.

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

IMO you should ask

  • How do you sustain yourself with what drives you?
    This according to me is a very difficult question and it does not have a straightforward answer. My answer to this is very philosophical as I subscribe to that approach: Life, just like design takes one step forward and two steps backward, only to propel ahead with greater force like a catapult.

Who do you think I should ask next?

You can talk to Conan Dalton, a good friend of mine and a very pragmatic person.

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When I went to AgileEE2009 in TargetProcess was one of the major sponsors. It was a bigger sponsor then VersionOne and Rally was not even a sponsor. (Although they were both top sponsors at the large US conference.) I knew that in Eastern Europe they had a few scrum software packages but I was not aware that there was such a rather big player. As one of my recent clients are using TP(decision taken before I helped them), I learned more about them. I was impressed by their release process. They do have frequent releases. They offer upgrades on a bi-weekly basis. Started to read Michaels blog and twitter feed. He writes very open. f ex, on the day I write this, he blogged a post about their journey with regarding their proces. A few months back he blogged about a set of books he bought for his team.

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

Funny enough, but Jarred Spool’s keynote about UX at Agile Conference 2009 in Chicago was a real epiphany to me. Somehow he managed to trigger important chords in me whole company switch was initiated by this single keynote. We’ve set new goals, changed environment, changed culture. Jarred spoke about importance of UX, why companies successes depend on it, why Microsoft and Apple are different. In general, nothing new, but the wording, the presentation hit the nail in the head.

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

That’s an easy one, I’d be a scientist. I studied Biophysics in university (neuroscience) and wanted to continue my education. But circumstances changed and I had to look for a good job. That is how I started as a web developer almost 12 years ago. Science still interests me, though.

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

I’m an introvert, yet I’m a CEO. It means I should talk a lot with various people and many of them are new to me. It is a real challenge for any introvert 🙂 Somedays I have several meetings in a row, totaling 6 hours. It is hard. Many years ago I was very shy. Now it is far from that. I had to change and definitely it was a good change. I still like to be alone, but somehow I like to be a part of living communities and to talk to people.

What drives you ?

I want to create the best agile project management software. This goal is quite significant at the moment and I’m sure we can do it. The true new vision came about 2 years ago and we are following it now. Not as fast as I want, for sure, but we are speeding up 🙂

Personally I love to create new things, to invent behavior pattern and help people do their job faster and better. It is a great feeling when you receive “thank you so much” type of feedback. It really helps to stay focused. I’m hungry for novelty, I like to mix various things together and see how software development can benefit from it.

What is your biggest achievement?

I am personally proud about company we are building. We managed to create an outstanding environment where people can learn, grow and have fun. It was a real challenge and so far I think it is the best thing I to did in my life.

What is the last book you have read?

The last book is Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter. It is about Math, AI and cross-linkage of various aspects of music, arts and science. The book is very clever and insightful. Not an easy read for sure, but very deep.

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

Q: Can an introvert be a good CEO? A: That is the question I ask myself quite often. There are some advantages. For example, it is easier to be calm and focused, to think about strategy and future. On the other side, it is hard to build networks around company, attract great people, be in public. I like to help people, but rarely force that on myself. I expect they will ask for help, but quite often that does not happen. Well, I don’t have an answer to this question, will keep thinking 🙂

Who do you think I should ask next?

Alistair Cockburn is the cleverest man in agile community I know.) His books are the best and really show quite deep processes behind software development. So he should be [#1](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEezSTr0Hmk in the list. [Note from editors: The book does not claim to have any implied ranking, nor is it an exclusive list of agilists or best agilists. The order has no meaning in this book]

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When I started the “Who is” series on my blog, Maritza was among the first people I invited. I did that because I was curious about the women behind the blog Becoming an Agile Family It was only when she answered the questions that I learned that she currently is triple-authoring a collection of real-life stories on continuous improvement with Jim Benson and Corey Ladas, among others. I don’t know much more about her, except that she is living in South-Africa. (Did you know that Dutch and South-Afrikaans, are similar?)

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

With a surname like Van den Heuvel, many people assume that I am Dutch. I am, however, a born and bred South African. My husband’s grandfather emigrated to South Africa in the 1950’s and my husband is therefore a 3rd generation Dutch immigrant. The irony here, however, is that I did live in The Netherlands for a full year when I was just 18. I was a Rotary International exchange student and I spent the year after completing my secondary education repeating a year at a Dutch school in Horn, in Limburg, and living with different Rotary families.

This single year of my life has played a critical defining role in my life. It has set the tone for my future in many ways, from my ability to deal with whatever comes my way right through to my active interest in politics, my thirst for travel and my love of cathedrals and carillon music. To this day, I also bake speculaas during December using a traditional wooden windmill cookie mold. I suspect it even influenced my choice of life partner, ultimately! And yes, I still speak and write Dutch fairly decently.

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

After returning from The Netherlands, I studied Linguistics. I had always had an affinity for languages, one of the reasons Rotary chose me for a European location, rather than an English-speaking country. I firmly planned on becoming a translator, and I did in fact practise as a translator and simultaneous interpreter for a few years before I migrated to the world of software development via technical writing. If I had not moved to IT, I would most likely be working in a language-related field – or writing for a living! I still plan to write my own book (or two) once my current book collaboration project is complete. Better yet – if somebody would pay me (a decent amount!) just to read books all day and review them, I would seriously reconsider my current career path

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

My children are both my biggest challenge and the greatest gift life has given me. I think there is no learning experience that molds you quite as much as being a parent. If I were not a parent, I would be a much more selfish and less patient person. And being part of their learning journey – discovering life through their eyes all over – is a tremendous education in itself.

What drives you ?

An unquenchable thirst for knowledge, backed by a compulsion to do anything I do to the best of my abilities. There is also a bit of a restless spirit there – something that drives me to keep moving, never standing still in one place too long, whether that’s a physical place or a pit stop on my career path. As a result, I have migrated through a number of IT disciplines since first becoming a technical writer. I’ve been a tester, managed a Support desk and most recently spent the last few years in product development as a Product Owner and/or Product Manager. If there ever were a poster child for the concept of a Lifelong Learner – that’s probably me. As long as there is some new concept I can wrestle with and turn over in my head or hands, I’m happy.

What is your biggest achievement?

There are many achievements that I’m proud of in my life, both personally and professionally, big and small. But the one that I’m currently most delighted about is achieving my green belt in Shotokan karate this past December. It’s been hard work, physically but especially mentally. Nothing teaches you humility quite like attempting to perfect the subtleties of some of the more challenging kata combinations – especially as a “late starter” in martial arts. Right now, achieving a black belt seems like a remote possibility, but as my sensei recently impressed on me there is nothing that stands in my way of getting there – except possibly myself.

What is the last book you have read?

The Litigators, by John Grisham. Nothing spells holiday to me like racing through a fun read.

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

How does your family really feel about the fact that you practise your agile and lean techniques on them at home? My husband sometimes teases me, especially when I get super-excited about seeing a particularly shining example of self-organization emerging in our children as a result of my experiments. But I believe everybody sees and feels the tremendous.wiktionary.org/wiki/tremendous) positive impact these experiments have had on how we share responsibilities at home, and more importantly, on how we communicate with each other, instead of keeping all our ideas, plans and ToDo lists hidden away inside our heads.

Who do you think I should ask next?

Aslam Khan of Factor10. He frequently blows my mind with his views on software development and reminds me of how much I still have to learn.

Jez was invited by Elisabeth. As I don’t know anything about Jez. I asked Julian Simpson to write the intro for Jez.

Jez Humble sauntered into his interview for ThoughtWorks in early 2005. He was interviewing for a role as what we then called Environment Managers: someone to represent the Operations team and make sure that test systems accurately reflected the reality of production. Jez was a compelling candidate for the role as he had been working as a freelance developer, handing any and all phases of the product lifecycle, with nobody to fall back on.

Jez seemed to know enough Unix Administration to continue the interview process, so I wrote up my notes, giving him extra marks for “general affability” and moved on. Jez got the job, and I worked with him on a disastrous project in London. We delivered that project, taking applications that were literally undeployable and delivering new releases with zero downtime. I didn’t see Jez for a while, but I did know that he was writing a book on how to deliver this kind of thing properly. When Dave Farley sent me some writings he’d done on the metaphor of the Build Pipeline, I told them they were working on the same thing. That was in 2007. In 2010, they published Continuous Delivery, and there were no longer valid excuses for getting this stuff wrong. That’s what Jez (and Dave) have done for you.

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

I was a choirboy at Bath Abbey – in fact I became head chorister, and then my voice broke. I learned a bunch of lessons: your hard-earned skills have a limited shelf-life; when you’re in charge you primarily have a duty to help the people who are supporting you; and that nobody likes a smart-arse. I am still trying to put those lessons into action.

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

Maybe I would have stayed in academia. I have always been fascinated by philosophy, language and music – I studied Physics and Philosophy for my BA and Musicology as a postgraduate – but I was having fun and making decent money in IT. I was obsessed with computers as a teenager, and so I was initially quite surprised that people would pay me good money to work with them for a living. Then I encountered “enterprise” IT and asked for a pay raise.

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

My biggest challenge is my highly developed guilt complex. Unless I’m doing obviously productive things I feel tremendously guilty. I don’t consider writing and speaking obviously productive (especially writing which is 80% procrastination) and so I spend much of my time feeling guilty these days. At some point soon this will force me to go back to doing something more hands-on, which I think will be a good thing.

What drives you ?

It used to be a combination of a couple of things that made IT a good choice for me: I am a naturally curious person, and I need to be busy (I always have several things on the go). I am also pretty organized and have a strong desire to get things done – I have a prioritized to-do list in my head – which is one of the key personality traits that drove me to continuous delivery. It annoys and frustrates me that there is so much waste and poor quality in IT. But these days things are a lot simpler – I just want to provide for my family and make them happy.

What is your biggest achievement?

Writing Continuous Delivery with Dave Farley.

What is the last book you have read?

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

Q: What’s next for you? A: I’m working on another book with two of my colleagues. This one is going to be focussed on helping managers and executives implement continuous delivery.

Who do you think I should ask next?

John Allspaw.

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