Archive for February, 2013

When I contacted Ionel, he had already heard of Who is agile, (which is always nice for our team’s ego), but more importantly before we asked him about being in the book, he offered to translate it to Romanian. More, when he sent in his text, he had it already completely formatted it using Markdown, the language that Leanpub uses.

 

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

In my professional career I was mostly influenced by the books I read and by making mistakes and learning to do the right things in a hard way. And this was because when I started my career back in 1998 it was hard to have a mentor in software engineering in my town: Cluj-Napoca, Romania. There were only a couple of software companies (and all of them were doing cheap outsourcing). There were no solid mentors and coaches to learn from. So I found my way mostly by trial and error. This is the main reason I am so enthusiastic now about working with students and junior programmers, supporting internship programs, and doing all I can to make sure the students that come into our company have a coach assigned to them. Above all, they are all encouraged to find mentors and develop their network.

Only a few people know that I am in the process of polishing some of my ideas. I have discovered in me other abilities and I am fighting with the enemies I see in my life: self-sufficiency, my ego, not enough questioning of the status quo, a mindset that is not agile enough, confusion, lack of enough mentors and living in a world that continues to lose traditional values without putting anything else in place. When I started to admit and recognize these enemies, I found in me the power to win the battles and a desire to make myself available for others that might be in the same situation but do not admit they are.

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

I love medicine, especially prevention. I think I would be a good cardiologist. These days I would love to be much more involved in our church: I love theology, an emotional love not necessarily an academic one. So maybe I would become more involved in worship someday.

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

I have so far identified these 3 big challenges, all equally important:

  • I am not good at taking fast decisions and sometimes thinking fast enough. I am constantly trying to improve that. It’s good because it motivates me to measure my progress. As a side effect it’s great to see how I improve my measurement skills.
  • I am fighting with myself to welcome change more often than I do in this moment. There is a part of me that wants to change or accept change but there is also this emotional connection to the way I always did things. This is good because it allows me to understand others and to understand how to better coach this agile mindset and why agile needs to be a transformation of your mindset much more than an adoption of some techniques. So for all the readers that feel this is a challenge I recommend a recent book:“An Agile Adoption and Transformation Survival Guide” by Michael Sahota.
  • Improving my management and leadership abilities while keeping up with software development trends and my passion for code; In this moment (2012) I am more of a manager and software developer and less of a true visionary leader.

What drives you?

The purpose of our lives shall be to serve others. It’s not so easy, and I don’t want to do it always. It’s time consuming, sometimes incredibly time consuming, emotionally exhausting, mentally draining and sometimes you feel disappointed if you compare your expectations with the changes you see in those you try to serve. So it’s about a way of ‘Pay it forward’ that in my case means to help others for the love that Jesus put in me, for the blessings that he put in me. I see these blessings with the purpose to transform myself to be a blessing for the others, so not me, but God’s power continues to be recognized as the source of all the blessings. When I fail to pay it forward, I remember that around 2000 years ago there was an act on the cross that continues to pay forward and to change the lives of millions of people all over the world today. God alone offers forgiveness and real hope, which we in turn can offer to others.

What is your biggest achievement?

Understanding the purpose of my life, understanding that being successful and fulfilling the purpose of my life are not at all the same thing; so when I realized that I also understood that what I want is to be faithful, not successful, and that actually I want to do less in life by focusing on what matters most for this purpose.

What is the last book you have read?

I usually read 4-5 books in parallel, but on different days and different subjects, so I always maintain a linear progression on both software engineering and other non-technical areas that I am interested in.

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

Why do you want to continue as a development manager when there are a lot of opportunities to develop a more comfortable career as a developer or consultant?

It’s for me, for the people that I work with and at the end for any employer that wants to achieve results through motivated people. For me because as a manager I have better chances to develop my emotional intelligence and fulfill my purpose: “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”. And it’s for the people I work with because I value people, I love to understand their problems, sometimes to be that mentor that above the technical issues and company’s language tries to be that human being that the people love to talk with, to get honest feedback, a kindly encouragement, the feeling that he/she is not just an employee, a resource in a chart but a valuable person that is unique, that has abilities put in him with a purpose and that at the end no one but him needs to discover these abilities and ideally use them in a pay it forward mechanism for the others.
And it is for my employer, that will definitely have motivated people and thereby at the end extraordinary results. It’s such a good feeling to add value to your employer, at the end it’s a pay it forward again, a pay it forward for the trust and confidence an employer put in you or if this is not the case, the feeling is even greater: you were able to respond with love, passion and results to someone that appears to be totally money-oriented, stressful or ridiculous.

Whom do you think I should ask next?

  • I was inspired in my career by reading the books of Scott Ambler.
  • I was introduced to Agile by a great person and an excellent coach, actually one of my former bosses who has already been recommended for ‘Who Is agile’ by other people: his name is Fabio Armani.

August 2012

Cluj-Napoca, Cluj, Romania

Agustin Villena was suggested by Gustavo Quiroz. Here is what Gustavo has to say about Agustin.

I met Agustin briefly in Buenos Aires during Ágiles 2008 but we really had the chance to talk during Ágiles 2010 in Lima and also in Agile 2011, where he did a great talk about the wonderful work he had done helping the victims of the 2010 Chilean earthquake using Agile & Lean principles. He has done a lot to grow the Agile community in Chile and I always look forward to having great conversations with him whenever our paths cross.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

I was active member of the Scout Movement for 15 years, first as Boy Scouts and next Rover Scout from 1986 to 1990 and Scout Leader from 1990 to 2001. These 10 years in a slum at Santiago de Chile (in La Pintana neighbourhood). That experience in teamwork, social innovation and practical enterpreneurship was the base to my search for real collaboration, creation of value and wellness through new technologies.

Inspired by that experience, one of my greatest dreams is to run a Software Studio for young people in slums, as a way to help them to integrate and thrive in knowledge society.

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

I’m not an “IT guy”. IT is one of my hobbies and an enabler to explore many things. Since I was a kid, my greatest hero in history is Leonardo da Vinci, who excelled in every field that he explored. In our days, with today’s enormous body of knowledge is very difficult to be like Leonardo as an individual, therefore my current approach is to collaborate with experts in education, creativity, design thinking, etc., to form multidisciplinary teams, in some sort a “Da Vinci team”

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

In Chile we have a saying: In house of the smith, knife of wood, saying that many times you don’t apply to yourself what you are other helping others to do. I help others to make some order and insight on their everyday workflow using approaches like GTD or Personal Kanban, but since I’m so interested in several topics, is very difficult to me to do so. 🙂 In short, my biggest challenge is and will be applying to myself the same practices that I recommend to others. I’m really convinced of their value, but is very hard to be objective with oneself and make improvements without external feedback.

I really need an agile coach for me!

What drives you ?

As I learned in the Scout Movement, to leave the world a bit better that when we enter it

What is your biggest achievement?

That depends on what you understand “to be big”. In numbers, it was the agile solidarity project known as chileyuda where hundreds of volunteers from many disciplines (developers, designers, social media experts, public relations experts, etc) built a website to organize the information about the effects of the Chilean earthquake of 2010 in only 6 days. We presented that experience at Agile2011 conference

If you are referring to my most important achievement for me, is my family (wife and kids).

What is the last book you have read?

In the fiction field, the book was Anathem by Neal Stepehson. In the technical field, currently I have three bedside books:

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

  • What are you pursuing now

My current effort is to strengthen the agile community in Chile, of which I am founder, to become a self-organized force for the continuous improvement of how to work in Chile, not only in IT but in all knowledge related professions, and through that, make our country a better and fairer place for everyone.

  • What do you think the current state of the agile movement?

In Chile we are far from the center of the agile movement. On the one hand this has led to a delay in several years of influence in our software and knowledge industry; but, on the other hand, we have the chance to learn from the mistakes of other communities and have a broad view of what comes from the first world.

I watch a lot of Cargo Cult in the agile practice, repeating patterns of the methods we criticized before, as professional certifications with no real value (like the ill-fated CSM), imposing “agile” processes on people, and not opening our eyes to the sister disciplines of which we have much to learn, such as Design Thinking, the Open Source movement, Sociocracy and many others.

In our community we are convinced that Agile is not just a way to make better software. It is a culture that goes far beyond the field of IT, fostering respect for people and self-organization towards the benefit of society.

Whom do you think I should ask next?

  • Luiz Parzianello: Brazilian agile coach, one of the guys that I’m always following to get his breakthroughs
  • Juan Palacio: An Spanish agile though leader, author of www.navegapolis.net and creator of the open certification
  • David Alfaro: Founder of the “Costa Rica Agil” agile community

 

If you like these answers: please check out our Who is agile book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1998 I became independent. As I work usually at my clients side, I have invested a lot in computers, yet almost nothing in my local office. I bought a desk from IKEA and used some second hand desk I got from friends & family.

About the time we first started talking about changing our house, I read about a standing desk. For someone who was a former DJ  and now sitting most of the time, that appealed to me. As a DJ I had a standing desk 😉

I was not sure about standing, I’m not as young as I was when I was DJ-ing all night.
Then I came across the idea of a walking desk.

The idea, is that you walk about 1.6 miles (2.4 km) an hour, while working. The theory behind, is that our body is more made to walk then to sit still. The minute I saw this, I was immediately sold. That is what I wanted in my home office.

When we started to discuss the plans of new house, I mentioned that to my architect. At that moment I was convinced that I should first have my new office and only then invest in a walking desk. Fast forward to the moment I saw the blog post from Peter. Peter is the ceo of Leanpub, the company behind the tools we used to produce our book: who is agile.

When I saw the video, it struck me. I was doing BDUF. I was designing an office for a walking desk, without knowing how it worked. I told Els (my wife) the same day, I’m going to buy the walking desk now. With that experience I will know how I should arrange my new office.

At the start of the x-mas holiday I went looking for a treadmill in Belgium that I could use in my office. In the US, there is treaddesk. Unfortunately no information to buy it in Belgium.

I finally ended up on a website with lots of treadmill and prices. (Tip for websites of shops: If you don’t show your prices online I don’t consider you a serious choice.)

As I had never run on a treadmill (yes, I am ashamed to say, that in all my staying in hotels, I never made use of these facilities.) I did want to go to shop to try out the different types.
I explained what I wanted to do, the shop owners had never heard of a walking desk. Yet they were very helpful. They explained what parts I had to de-assemble (or better not assemble when setting up the treadmill.)

I selected the T830 treadmill from DKN technology

Peter his second video, convinced me I also wanted an adjustable desk. I wanted such a desk, so that I can both walk and sit at the same desk, without having to touch my setup.
I only found one company (Steelcase) that delivers such a desk in Belgium.

After almost 2 months of working on my initial setup (2 normal tables on top of each other) my adjustable desk arrived. Already now, I know that this is how I want to work.

What about typing and mouse movements?

A lot of people ask me if I can really type or work with a mouse that way.

Check out our 2013 new years video. I finished the last 2 minutes while walking. And that was in the first week of having my treadmill.

This text has been typed while walking. If you might see spelling mistakes, this has more to do with my knowledge of English then the walking desk.

Actually, the last month I sometimes felt I had a problem standing. And then I realize I had been standing for 10 minutes and I had forgotten to turn on the treadmill.

Remember these “I will be 5 minutes at my computer and then you look up 3 hours later” moments?  I typically don’t turn on my treadmill for that. Now after 10 minutes I realize it’s taking longer. And then I make a conscious decision: stay on my desk and turn on my treadmill or actually stop working.

Other advantages?

I can focus on work much longer as before. (25 min VS 3 hours)

Want to know more?

Here is a video I shot from my computer, while walking

Here are some pictures of the walking desk in multiple setup’s.

Do you really move more?

I have a Fitbit One stepcounter since the 24 December.

Since then I stepped 800.858 steps.

That is 588 KM in 55 Days. (Remember most of day I am working at client side)
Yes not all these steps our on my treadmill desk. I still walk while waiting for my train.

Yet I know that before I had a walking desk. I NEVER arrived at 10.000 steps a day. Now I am almost never below 10.000.

Side effect: I never was a runner. I never had either: the energy, the courage and the times I tried it, I never had the physical condition. Since I have my walking desk, my condition has improved so much that it’s actually possible for me to go for a run.

Why do you do it?
It’s NOT  my intention to loose weight.
As a child I was always very very very thin (I weighted 27 KG – yes 27- when I was 11)
As a adult I’m weighting +80 KG.
In both occasion, people were telling me I should watch my weight.  They told me I had an unhealthy weight. In both occasion they had reasons. I have stopped listening to these people. I don’t care about my weight.
(When I burned down my parents house, I have learned that what people think of me, does not matter.)

So why do I walk while working?
I walk at my desk, because I’m convinced that my human body is not made to sit, at least not for + 8 hours a day.
Articles like this one confirm my bias.

 

What do I have on my desk:

 

Thinks to improve

  • a real Laptop stand
  • Docking station
  • a monitor arm to easier position my screen.
  • a huge powered USB Hub
  • Move the lift buttons to the middle of the table. Now I can’t reach them from the other side (Done)
  • More light around my screens, to give me eyes more rest
  • a small network hub for extra pc
  • I know that DKN has an tablet app. It would be nice to find one that supports the T830. Now the treadmill display is below my desk. Not a big problem, yet a little annoying.
  • a better piece of wood to put on my treadmill and below my chair. (I never use my chair)

 

Ideas for the new home-office

Install the treadmill in the ground

Articles that mention walking desk

 

 

 

 

 

 Examples of people on treadmills

 

People who disagree

Other related topics

Where to buy one

 UPDATES :

  •  69  days  > 1.029.401 steps     755 KM.   +/- 14.919 steps a  day
  • 104 days > 1.563.040 steps  1.148 KM.   +/- 15.029 steps a day
  • 188 days > 2.841.964  steps  2.092 KM.  +/- 15.117 steps a day
  • 202 days > 3.118.535  steps  2.294 KM.  +/- 15.438 steps a day
  • 279 days > 4.125.382 steps 3.048 KM.  +/- 14.786 steps a day
  • 342 days > 5.059.533 steps 3.730 KM.    +/- 14.794 steps a day
  • 363 days > 5.433.411 steps 4.004 KM       +/- 14.968 steps a day
  • 497 days > 7.250.225 steps 5.332 KM       +/-  14.588 steps a day
  • 903 days > 12.352.475 steps 8.996 KM +/- 13.679 steps a day 15.267 floors
  • 1106 days  > 15.398.485 steps 11.221 KM +/- 13.923 steps a day 18.820 floors

 

No wonder I’m much fitter. As I don’t care about my weight, I don’t track that. (Although my wife says I lost some weight.)

If you have a fitbit yourself, you can connect with me, and we can encouraging, stimulate, push eachother to keep stepping.

 

 

 

Martin was invited by Israel and Gustavo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Back in the ’90s when I finished my high school I wanted to be an airplane pilot, but for some reason I still don’t know, I studied Architecture at the university. After five years of architecture, with an average score of 8.7, I found myself getting bored. I decided to drop it and start Information Systems Analysis, which looked like the biggest challenge for me. I graduated from the university and specialized in Agile Development. A few years later I studied and graduated as a private airplane pilot.

Architecture gave me a lot of experience in the building industry and helped me incorporate a lot of design concepts while being a pilot helped me taste the feeling of freedom and happiness that I would like all knowledge workers to feel in their own jobs.

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

I would have been either an architect or a commercial pilot.

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

I’m currently going through a deep dive training and personal transformation to become a life and organizational coach. My biggest challenge right now for me is to jump over, not only the fence that takes me out of my comfort zone, but also the fence that is right at the end of my un-comfort zone, where my horror zone starts.

What drives you ?

I’m convinced that the world of work can be changed, I’m convinced that it actually need to be changed. But my feeling is that agile is not enough. There’s a lot of work in people relations area that has to be done – and in a lot of industries other than software. Only when people build better relationships between themselves and within themselves will we be able to say that we might produce deep changes in the way people work, turning their work into more fun-and-committed, happy-and-professional environments that would produce astonishing results.

What is your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement was to get married with the most lovely woman in earth, Daniela, my wife. My second biggest achievement was to fund Kleer, a participatory and open-minded Agile Training and Coaching company.

What is the last book you have read?

The last book I’ve read is The tree of knowledge: biological roots of human understanding. by Humberto Maturana.

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

I would like you to ask “How would you take agility out of the software industry?” That is a great question, thanks for asking me. 🙂 Well, as I said before, everything is about human relations. I truly think that the results that the teams produce is directly linked to the relationships among the team members (individuals and interactions). Bad relations, bad results; great relations, great results. In order to move agility out of the software industry I’m helping as many people as possible to build solid and respectful relationships with themselves and others. Having solid relationships helps teams embrace change, fail fast, trust each other, respect commitments and share success.

Whom do you think I should ask next?

I think you should ask Juan Gabardini.

If you like this post: please check out our book: who is agile or check out the agile bundle: 10 agile books for 50 dollar

This year we celebrated the 10 anniversary of  XP Days Benelux.

I know that being from Belgium and the fact that this was my first agile conference makes me biased. And one thing I know about being biased, is that knowing you are biased, does not help …

Let me tell you a bit about one of the aspects that makes XP days benelux so unique.

OOMPS, or fully “Official One Minute Presentation” (sometimes replaced by OHMP, I let you figure out the difference on your own)

I have no idea who came up with the idea and only a small idea from where she or he stole it. I vaguely think it was a Dutch person, yet does it really matter? (It’s probably a person that will refuse a statue anyway.)

At the start of a day, the organizers ask all participants of the day to come forward an do a one minute sketch. A sketch to promote their session of the day.

Now over the years, at XPday benelux, this has turned into an art itself.

What else can you say about people that:

 

Crazy? probably, so what?

Informative? Year after year, the sessions with the best OOMPs, are sessions I love. (remember I said I was biased)

Serious? Yes, distilling a 1 hour session in 30 seconds of fun is hard work. And yet is wurth it.

Fun? oh yes

If you help organizing a conference, come have a look at xpdays and steal their OOMPS. If you can manage to recreate a similar atmosphere around it, you have just made your conference X times better.

Masa Maeda was suggested by Gustavo Quiroz. Here is what Gustavo has to say about Masa.

I met Masa in Lima during Ágiles 2010, the 3rd Latin American Agile Conference, but it wasn’t until the next year, when I took his Kanban workshop that I got the opportunity to talk to him at length. He really struck me as an incredibly experienced guy with a diverse and extensive background in topics like software development, artificial intelligence, leadership, start ups, big companies, even NLP! I’m really looking forward to his new book on Lean Value Innovation.

 

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

I have actually had a myriad of influences, all of them with one common denominator. I am of Japanese-Hispanic descendant and even though I grew up in Mexico City education at home was primarily Japanese style. Just imagine, I learned to use chopsticks before silverware. I did my graduate years in Japan for a total of 6 years and have lived in the USA, whose culture I have absorbed intensely, since 1995. So I have the influence of three orthogonal cultures. This has given me openness towards diverse cultures.

From the academic standpoint I have studied and mixed applied, formal, natural, and social sciences as well as humanistic so my approach to what I do as a coach, consultant, and trainer is a combination of all of them. This has give me a broader perspective towards problems and solutions.

Although I was raised catholic my curiosity took me to lear about other religions and practice diverse meditation techniques. As result I am not religious but I definitely have a well-rounded set of values and principles that I live by.

Another main influence in my life has been the outdoors and martial arts. I have done almost anything when it comes to outdoor activities since very early age. From high-altitude mountaineering to rock climbing, cave exploration, white-ater rafting and other, I even went on a winter expedition to the Arctic and was invited to climb Mount Everest but that I couldn’t do because I got injured prior to the climb. Regarding martial arts I should probably practice Japanese style (I actually did a bit of Judo and Kendo) but what I enjoy is the chinese style and what I practice the most is an internal martial art known as Yi Chuan. This is important because it has given me a better understanding of systems thinking and lean.

I think all that gives me a very unique perspective to help my customers and their customers more effectively.

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

I am actually not in IT only! (laugh) I actually help customers outside IT as well. But yes, my main activity has to do with computers. I have three other choices: Medicine, Psychology, and Mountain guide. The first two I can still pursue and who knows, maybe someday I will; but my time to do the third one is gone and the outdoors are just a way for me to relax and recharge.

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

My biggest challenge these days is to make my company successful. Bringing lean and agile to many countries (Ibero-America, Northamerica and Asia) is not for the faint of hart, spirit, and both physical and mental energy. I am confident I can do it.

What drives you ?

Passion. I am very passionate of what I do because I want to help people, organizations, and economies improve, and what I do now is a great way to accomplish it.

What is your biggest achievement?

hummm… I don’t have one biggest achievement that stands out. I have been founding team member of companies that are successful and I am very proud of. I have helped change people’s lives for the better.

What is the last book you have read?

I read all the time and don’t keep track of it. Also, I don’t read linearly. Nonetheless the last linear reading I did was during my last trip to Waterloo and during the fights I read Ackoff’s F/Laws.

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

Q: What’s next? A: I am writing a book on Lean Value Innovation and am working hard to get it done and publish it. This book combines diverse aspects necessary to make an organization successful and has to do with a balance between people, environment, methods, and tools through innovation to create great, successful products and services.

Whom do you think I should ask next?

  • Donald Reinertsen

August 2012

Splitting time between: