Who is Vladimir Tarasow (@NetRat_eu)

Vladimir is one of the people involved in the Agile Manifesto translation project. He was responsible for the Latvian translation. Vladimir was not sure he belonged in the book. I am extremely happy he did accept to be in it. For me “Who Is agile” is about the mindset and not about being a famous agile consultant that has written 27 books. I think when you read his answers you will agree with me that Vladimir has an agile & lean mindset.

From his answers on StackOverflow you can see Vladimir is a technical guy. I was happy when I discovered that, as next to diversity in gender and countries, I was worried about the ratio between technical and non-technical people. And yet, his first book, is one of my favorite non-technical books.

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

Well, I guess it’s the fact that I can not live without drive. I feel sick when I have nothing to long for. I participated in organizing cinema festivals, contributed in making free movie translations, played paintball for six years and still get addicted to different extreme activities. Now I’m one of the organizers of Agile Latvia and Latvian Developers Network communities. Who knows in what direction I will go in the next couple of years? Not me. The other fact is that I’m a very lazy person. I don’t like doing things inefficiently or without a reasonable purpose. There’s always more than one way to achieve a goal. For example, you can dig a hole using your bare hands. It would take a lot of time and be quite painful, but you’ll succeed in the end. Or you can use a shovel and dig the hole much faster. Or you can use dynamite and make it very fast and very big. Or you can ask somebody for help. Or you can find an alternative solution when this hole is not needed at all. As I mentioned, I’m too lazy to do things inefficiently and so I try to find a way to improve the process. Sometimes I’ve even changed the goal to see the problem at a different angle. It’s called the lean way of doing things. It was common sense 8 years when I started to practice XP as a developer and it still is today.

And so that’s the third unknown fact about me: I don’t consider myself an Agile or Lean person, but a person who is convinced that every task has the best tool whatever it might be — waterfall, XP, Scrum, Kanban, Continious Delivery and so on, and this tool depends greatly on the experience of the person who uses it.

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

Looking back I’ve always been the kind of person who tries to start something new or make something better. Although I stuck with IT since my school days, I think I could have become a scientist too. For now, I’m interested sharing my experience and knowledge and learning from the other people. I think I’ll try myself in the role of a coach.

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

I love to do what I want and that’s the biggest challenge for me to follow this path, but it’s good, because I can learn new things all the time.

What drives you?

Money and power. Just kidding. 🙂 My life drives me. There are a lot places to go, a lot of new people to meet, a lot of new things to try. Does anybody really need more?

What is your biggest achievement?

I guess I have not achieved anything really big yet, however there are a bunch of small things I’ve achieved. Let me mention a few activities on which I spent my spare time: + I was a DJ for some time long ago. + I participated in fandub community developing it from its scratch. + I started a couple of start-ups, but failed 🙂 + I achieved EU Pro Paintball Player, but retired shortly afterwards. + I was interested in video-making and now know how to produce a DVD from the very beginning to the end. + I tried the role of bartender and succeeded all of a sudden. By the way, It’s a great experience for communication skills improvement.

I can’t say that these things are huge and worth mentioning.

What is the last book you have read?

Now I’m reading:

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

Q.: What is the thing you definitely will do in your life? My answer: fly a jet-plane on my own.

Whom do you think I should ask next?

I saw a lot of great people in your book already. I suggest you to interview:

August 2012

Riga, Latvia

PS If you like these answers, you might want to check out our book: who is agile, it contains answers to the same questions from 89 people.