Virginia Tech (Computer Science), Blacksburg, VA — Ph.D. Student (ABD)
Proposal: A Model and Interface for Documents with Multiple Views
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA — M.S., Computer Science
University of Wisconsin—LaCrosse, LaCrosse, WI — B.A., Computer Science, Mathematics, Music
XP 2002. Keynote: "Metaphors for XP"
XP Day 2005. Keynote: "Extraordinary Value: The XP Customer"
Agile 2005. Conference Co-Chair.
Agile Software Development, TDD, refactoring, OOD/OOP; Java, C#, C++, Ruby.
Extreme Programming Explored (Addison-Wesley, 2001)
Refactoring Workbook (Addison-Wesley, 2003)
Design Patterns in Java (with Steven Metsker) (Addison-Wesley, 2006)
Refactoring in Ruby (with Kevin Rutherford) (Addison-Wesley, 2009)
Q: What does your work involve?
I do a mix of things: teaching, coaching (either at the project or programmer level), developing new courses (live or online), and programming (usually related to our e-Learning system).
Q: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself - your education, interests, past work experiences.
I have a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin--LaCrosse, and an M.S. from Virginia Tech, in Computer Science. (Go Hokies!) I worked several years doing compiler development for DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation - now part of HP). I went back to school to switch to the information retrieval area, which led me to web-related work.
In an early web project for a financial company, we developed a "Light RUP" approach, which aligned naturally to XP and the then-forming Agile community; I've been using Agile approaches since.
As a coach, I've been lucky to work in many domains, including financial and health services, biotechnology, energy, and publishing.
Q: That is very impressive. What appeals to you about coaching?
I really enjoy learning, and sharing what I've learned. I've been a regular presenter at Agile-related conferences, and I've written (or co-written) several books, including Extreme Programming Explored, Refactoring Workbook, Design Patterns in Java, and Refactoring in Ruby. I love the interaction of teaching or coaching with an enthusiastic team.
Q: What is a typical day at work like?
It varies quite a bit: yesterday I participated in a strategy meeting, wrote marketing material, and programmed on our website. Today, I'll be preparing for some teaching. Next week, I'll be teaching 2 days and coaching 3 days. After that, who knows? It's part of the fun of being in a small company.
Q: What are some of the key ideas you've learned from agile and lean approaches?
I'll pick three things:
* The value of the right measures, focusing on outcomes rather than inputs. "Measure up a level," as Mary Poppendieck would put it. Lean startup approaches make validation a key focus.
* The value of collaboration across a whole team. I still see many teams that throw specifications or code over the wall - they want the benefits of lean and agile, but hobble it with a slow-feedback overall process.
* How light processes can become. Our roots are in XP, but we've modified it quite a bit, internalizing some things and ramping up others. For example, continuous delivery lets us lighten up planning and encourages the team to swarm on the next feature.
Q: What do you do to relax?
My wife and I live near Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, and we enjoy visiting there often. I also started playing mountain dulcimer (a folk instrument that lays on your lap) a couple years ago. I don't have much experience with stringed instruments, so it's been fun re-training my brain and fingers for that.
Q: What does the future hold for you - any exciting plans, developments?
Industrial Logic has been involved with the Lean Startup movement, and I'm thrilled we're applying those ideas and approaches. I've also been working (sloooowly) on a book about user stories and related topics.