GordonPask award 2010.

After last years GordonPask award there was a lot of discussion that yet again no women had won. JB who announced them has clearly said  last year that last year in the proposed people the few women had not done anything more remarking then the people who won. I trust JB enough to believe him.

Last year I had the pleasure to follow a coaching course with David Hussman (one of the winners of last year) and I agree his teaching style is really remarkable.

This year two women were selected. Was this a reversing, were these people selected only because they were women? I don’t think so. I think the only difference that the discussions of last year made, was that now more people were aware of the award and also thought about proposing women. I don’t think the selection process was any different. (Although I am not on the committee, I know I am biased as I know and at least trust 4 people on the committy)
When Rachel and JB talked about the winners at the agile alliance meeting, they explained why they had chosen the two liz’es. Unfortunately they did not do this Friday morning.

I had the pleasure to got to know both ladies the last year. (Although only one in person) As I don’t know what are the committee reasons I will write why I personally appreciate them.

When I was working in Londen last year, I went to one extreme tuesday club. I had no idea who that I would meet, I ended up talking a lot with a smart women, who had some strong opinions on the Software Craftmenship. That movement had me confused a lot the months before. The discussions that lunivore did that night helped me form my opinion.  We also talked about agile2010 submissions. When I contacted her later she was very clear why she could not help me. Her answer made me understand a lot fuzzier answers(from other people).
When the timeline was enlarged, she did help me on two of my proposals. I even used her feedback to make my third proposal better.  If I got a session accepted it is partly because of her. From that evening I started following her on twitter and started reading her blog. Her agile 2010 session proposal about bdd for life was something I loved.
I use agile ideas to raise my kids. Applying something like bdd outside work, I love it. When Dan (North) first talked about bdd I did not understand nor saw much difference with TDD. I’m not sure if Elisabeth was a first follower, but she sure made BDD visible to me. (and I only met her briefly).
It takes a real leader to recognize something great and to make it grow without having the need to sell it as your own.

I was already following testobsessed on twitter when Alan Cooper posted a blogpost about a strange kind of course. I’m tempted to call it a simulation as in one week a team created a website doing everything the agile way. It’s not a simulation as it was a real website and went really Live after that period. When I read who had been there that week. I was jealous. (Those who know me, know I rarely get jealous.) It must have been awsome and hard to be amoung such a crowd. I subscribed to Elisabeths blog right away. Jb said about this that Elisabeth got Alan Cooper into agile. That event made me realize he was not into agile before, something that surprised me, as I (and a lot of others in the agile world) have been using personas ever since About face came out. For me uxdesign was one of the ways of doing agile. Although that event on its own might have been enough to get Elisabeth the GP award, it is far from the only thing she has done. By reading her blog I understood why TestObessed was a good metaphor for Elisabeth.
This ex-developer (me) who has always asked for more testers on his teams has learned a lot from her. So much I asked Elisabeth if there was a way I could join that next course year.
What is maybe even more astonishing about both women, is that neither of them talked about themselves in their acceptance speech. They both talked about their network and how that helped them to be where they are. Accepting the award in a humble way.

I think it was great that JB announced the winners early on twitter, it really gave the chance for a lot of people to get to know both lizes during the conference… (instead of just at the announcement…)
One last thing I learned Thursday night is that both of them (just as a lot of “known” agilist) not only love to dance but are actually pretty good at it…
Where last year people thought that you had to have a beard to deserve the gp award, I now claim you have to be a good dancer…

I know that the committee is looking to take the award in a different direction, I sure hope it is not the end…

Thanks to Ed Yourdon for the agile 2010 pics