Who is Michael Dubakov?

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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