People who influenced me

Over the course of creating the Ethics of Software Craftsmanship there was a statement included which tempted me to this blog entry for quite a while now. Here it is:

We can point to the people who influenced us and who we influenced.

At moment there are quite a bunch of craftspersons which influenced me. At the time I’m writing this I am working for three and a half years now in the Software business. Having finished university four years ago, I have gained a lot of experience from some great colleagues, which I never personally met, but which influenced me quite a lot. Today I decided to give you a list of these persons who might not know about their influence on me. I will divide the people into categories: Testing, Developing and Project Management. Personally I might also add Leadership in general, but due to my little experience in this field, I will leave this category out.

Software Testing

There are a bunch of people having influenced me in this field. Since I started off as a software testers, this is my primary field of received influences. First of all the list includes James Bach, Cem Kaner and Michael Bolton. Their thoughts on Context-driven testing helped me overcome difficult situations at work. In addition James and Michael exchanged very helpful thoughts with me over skype.

Considering the Agile world of testing Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory shared a bunch of knowledge with me. Having reviewed their book on the topic helped me a lot during a test approach conversion at work over the last year. Their advices – in the book and personally exchanged over the internet – were of great help. In addition in the past months I also learned a lot from blog entries by Elisabeth Hendrickson. Lately during a lunch and learn session my team and I viewed a talk from her from 2005. Her words express what I felt when firstly confronted with Agile Software developing – though I just experienced this from the books rather than on a team. Last but not least, Brian Marick‘s write-up of the Agile Testing Quadrant helped me more than once to know where I’m at.

Most recently Matt Heusser, my peer mentor in the Miagi-Do school of testing, influenced me a lot. Over the past months we exchanged some thoughts on interview questionaires and articles, reviewed articles vice versa and learned a lot from each other – not only about testing.

Regarding the people who I influenced I would like to mention one of my colleagues. Since I respect his wishes to keep his name unmentioned on the Internet, I will not name him. Just recently I lend him my copy of Weinberg’s Perfect Software … and other illusions about testing. Still I consider him on the apprenticing level, but I enjoy the interactions we have with each other. And I saw a great deal of personal development over the past half year in this regard.

Project Management

Project Management is a topic which I just slightly dealt with so far. Having read articles from Alistair Cockburn helped here a lot. Considering Shu-Ha-Ri we seem to be able to work on the same level of abstractions and had great exchanges over the past one and a half year. Additionally I would like to add Mike Cohn. Though Mike does not seem to be a Project Manager, I consider the insights from his book on Agile Estimation and Planning great gains of productivity. In combination with Alistair’s Information Raditators User Stories help to bring back transparency in your work – not only in the Agile world.

Software Development

Considering Software Development my first contact with eXtreme Programming was based on James Shore and Shane Warden’s write-up of The Art of Agile Development. The practices he lists up there helped my team over the test conversion effort in the last year. Personally I decided to leave out the standard literature here, like Design Patterns from the Gang of Four, Refactoring from Fowler and Test-driven development by Example by Kent Beck. On the development there is one mentor I appreciate mostly: Uncle Bob Martin. Not only are his articles on The Craftsman a big case study of great design principles, but the exchanges we had on the development of FitNesse were of great help, too. Hopefully I will be able to finish that refactoring feature by the end of this year. Last but not least I would like to point out to Brett Schuchert. His FitNesse tutorials were of a big help, his tutorials on test-driven development and TDD Katas were enlightening. If I could have spent more time on them, I would be able to program more efficient, I think. Practicing is still on my list. In addition we had some thought exchanges over email the last few months and most recently he helped with a paper for a conference.

Conclusion

I know that I have left out the many, many people which incluenced me but I don’t remember now. Maybe I will do a follow-up on this in some weeks, months or years and include the people that influenced me since then. But until then I apologize for everyone kept unmentioned here that helped me in the past. If you want, you can leave a comment with your personal list of mentors or make a blog entry on your own. I would be pleased to read some more and find new mentors for the learning that I have to experience in the future. Last but not least I would like to thank all the people in this entry for their deep insights and letting me participate on their knowledge.

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2 thoughts on “People who influenced me”

  1. My list pretty much mirrors your own – one addition for me would be Antony Marcano of TestingReflections. Luckily I found that website early in my testing career and it was a great influence and a while later I was able to meet him in person

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