Who is Lisa Crispin (@lisacrispin) ?

I asked Lisa Crispin to be the first in my list of “Who is”. See my post of yesterday of why I started this list.

Why Lisa?

Ever since I met Lisa she has been a great  (most of the time the biggest) supporter  of innitiatives I like.  Her energy has boosted our community in more ways then we can imagine.

What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?
When I tell people I am painfully shy, they don’t believe me. I’ve had to adopt a more outgoing persona in order to accomplish my goals. It’s extremely difficult for me to get up and present, or even worse, call someone I don’t know well (or even someone I do know well) on the phone. I think the struggle takes some of my energy and holds me back some, but perhaps it makes me more empathetic to other shy people.

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?
I have an MBA with a specialization in organization development, and I worked in that field for two years after I got my degree. I really loved this work and always thought I’d be an OD consultant someday. However, a layoff and a recession led to the accidental programmer trainee job. After getting into IT, I never seriously considered doing anything else, at first because it was fun and I was too lazy to think about anything else, and then I realized I was really passionate about what I do.
What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?
See the answer to Q1.

What drives you ?
Self-interest, I guess. Years ago, a teammate told me “Job security is all in your head. If you believe you can get another job, you have job security.” I love working on an agile team, so I’ve worked hard over the years to help other people learn how to work this way. My goal is for more and more teams to work like my team does, so if I ever need a job, there will be lots of good places to look. Also, I love to learn, and one of the best ways I learn is by going to conferences and talking to other practitioners. I can’t go to a conference unless I am invited to present, so I had to have something to say and get good enough at presenting that information so conferences would invite me. As long as I feel I have valuable skills, and there are lots of good teams on which to practice those skills, I’m good to go.The other part of this is that so many people have helped me over the years, especially in the agile community, I believe I must pay that help forward to other people. It sounds corny, but I really believe it.

What is your biggest achievement?
The obvious answer is co-writing a book, that was really hard work, and I’m very proud of what Janet and I did, as many people tell us they find it helpful. But maybe my biggest achievement is being part of an awesome team for most of the past 8 years that has delivered an unbelievable amount of high quality software and has truly delighted our business people and helped our company succeed.

What is the last book you have read?
Well, honestly, it was an eBook about how to get your kids to do household chores that my teammate is writing, she asked me to review it and give her feedback. I have also started reading Uncle Bob’s Clean Coder book, and I am also reading a murder mystery in the Maisie Dobbs series. I multi-task too much in reading books.

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?
“Lisa, how are your donkeys?”
“Why, thank you for asking, they are having a lovely summer. This weekend we are going for a trail drive, then we will go have a beer together on the patio at the new brewpub in which my husband and I are 1% investors.”Or more seriously,
“What are you looking forward to most in the next few months?”
“So many things, including Agile 2011 and Agile Testing Days, but I’m most excited about attending Agile Coach Camp U.S. in Columbus in September, which includes an Agile Gamesday and two days with awesome coaches and practitioners, I know I am going to learn a ton of stuff that will in turn help me help others learn.”Who should be the next person to answer these questions?
Hmmm, so many choices.  There are so many people I’d like to know more about! But if the goal is someone an agilist should know, I think the person of the moment is Gojko Adzic, and I will tell you why I picked him. My big goal for 2010 was to find ways to teach testers good code design skills so they could write more effective, maintainable automated regression tests and truly free up their time to do exploratory testing. I worked really hard at improving my own design and automation skills, and wrote articles and prepared tutorials to help impart these skills to testers. But in recent months, Gojko has convinced me that our goal should be getting programmers to do the test automation tasks, which they can do quickly, and free us testers up to do what we do best. We need to take tester-programmer collaboration to the extreme. This is where my writing and presenting efforts will focus in the near future.  I’m seeing other practitioners writing and presenting about this too.


Update: if you liked this, please buy the “Who is agile” book. It contains similar answers from other agilists. And an additional answer from Lisa.