Who is Vernon Stinebaker

Jean proposed Vernon and this is what she has to say about him: I’ve only met Vernon once. But Vernon is a force to be dealt with. Vernon has been very active in the Agile community for a number of years through his passion around Scrum. This led him to be a Scrum trainer. More importantly, I believe that Vernon has been singularly instrumental in much of the Agile movement in China. When I met him in Hangzhou 2 years ago, he was the sponsor of an all-day Agile event. Over one hundred people attended from various parts of China. Vernon had ensured that his company not only provided the venue, but was also a very involved sponsor on that special day. Vernon brings his gift of Agile to all of us through his humor, his tenacity with the Chinese language, and his love of bringing a better way of doing things. I’m so glad to introduce Vernon in this series on “Who is Agile.”

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

I grew up in rural towns in Arizona. I often worked doing physical labor during summer holidays. The intense heat made it nearly unbearable. My coping mechanism was to daydream while working. I spent many days in China well before I ever came here physically.

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

I majored in )Mandarin Chinese and China Area Studies and minored in Political Science for my undergraduate degree. I considered studying law post-graduate, and also considered doing (non-IT consulting) after graduation. I graduated in August 1989, soon after the Tianan Men incident and my language skills suddenly became low value. I had done some programming in high school, and actually worked in my college computer center while I was studying in the US, so when I ran across an ad from EDS indicating they were looking for individuals to join their Systems Engineering program and accepted people with non-CS related degrees, I interviewed and was hired. I spent a great 10 years at EDS, and I’ve never looked back. I often tell people that Chinese is my job and that IT is my hobby. It’s great too when one’s work is one’s hobby.

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

Knowing when to be quiet and just listen. I think awareness of this being a challenge for me helps me pay attention to try and listen more and better.

What drives you ?

My greatest satisfaction comes from helping individuals grow. I am proud that many of my former team members have grown and developed into leadership roles, and hope that in some small ways I have contributed to their growth and development.

What is your biggest achievement?

I’m hoping it’s something I haven’t achieved yet. If I look at what I’ve accomplished so far, however, I’d have to say that being happily married for over 23 years and having a beautiful wife and son are my biggest achievements.

What is the last book you have read?

Body by Science by Doug McGuff and John R Little. Now reading Insanely Simple by Ken Segall.

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

What’s your favorite parable?

I like the parable of the stone. Still struggling to follow it.

Who do you think I should ask next?

Kazumasa Ebata

If you like these answers, check out our book series: Who is Agile, Volume 1