Who is Rebecca Wirfs-Brock

The next person in the Who-is Serie is Rebecca Wirfs-Brock. I don’t remember anymore when Rebecca first came on my radar. I know it was when I was learning OO. When I was doing  more and more agile stuff, I noticed that she now wrote articles about TDD. Today in the agile community we have a lot of  people who don’t have a technical background. (I had the feeling this was not the case when I learned about agile.) Although I’m happy for this diversity in our community, I sometimes have the feeling people don’t know how big the diversity is of our community. When I started the Who Is, I explicitly invited people from different parts of our community. I’m really happy Rebecca took the time to answer the questions. And just like with every other answers, I learn a lot about Rebecca.

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

My parents were educators. I vowed I would never become a teacher, but I became one…only not a public school teacher.  While I enjoy consulting, I find developing and teaching courses to working professionals equally rewarding. It is a myth that those who can’t do, teach. Teaching is much harder than consulting.

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

I would have pursued cognitive psychology…and probably ended up as a professor.

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

My biggest challenge currently is training for the 40th Portland Marathon that will be held October 9, 2011. This is both physically and mentally challenging…the mental part (believing you can run that far) is a huge part of it.

What drives you ?

Come on, you are asking the inventor of Responsibility-Driven Design (and the xDriven-Design meme) this question? My passion is software design, of course. But, more than that, I am driven to improve the lives of software developers by exposing them to tools and techniques for making their software more habitable.

What is your biggest achievement?
Physically: Running the Portland Marathon. I did that in 2004 and have been training to run it this year.
Professionally: Writing a best-selling object design book in 1990 (that’s still in print).

What is the last book you have read?
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?
If you weren’t at your computer, where would you be?
I’d be outside either running, gardening, or biking.
Alternatively: What’s new with you?
I have been working and thinking about Agile Architecture (why we need it, what’s the role of an agile architect? and useful techniques for managing architectural work on agile projects and programs). Out of that effort has come an Agile Architecture workshop I co-teach with Johanna Rothman.
I’ve also developed a Pragmatic TDD Course with Joe Yoder of The Refactory and Big Ball of Mud Pattern fame. We want people to feel comfortable writing tests along with their code without having to be driven to always write tests first. And if you want to sustain your codebase, you need to pay attention to developing and refactoring your test suites, too.

Who do you think I should ask next?
Joe Yoder of the Refactory and Big Ball of Mud pattern fame