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Bob's Hero's

My Heroes - Dot and Tom

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My Heroes - Dot and Tom

There are individuals who have influenced my professional journey significantly. Sometimes, by working with me directly. Other times, by their writing or position in our software community. And other times, simply as a role model.

I've started a segment on my blog called – My Heroes. I’ll post intermittently, perhaps every 1-2 months. But it serves as a reminder to me to be thoughtful and appreciative of the folks who’ve influenced my growth and skills. And of course, they get none of the credit for my many foibles.

The fifth one up is actually a pair of individuals.

In 1994, close to 25 years ago, Dorothy Graham & Tom Gilb authored a book entitled – Software Inspection. It became the de facto standard guidance for how to conduct artifact and code reviews for software development. 

Now that doesn’t mean we “got good” at inspections. No, for decades following the books writing we still basically sucked at it. But it means that we had no good excuses for that. Dorothy and Tom had provided a wonderful recipe that many (most) failed to follow.

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My Heros: Mike Cohn

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My Heros: Mike Cohn

There are individuals who have influenced my professional journey significantly. Sometimes, by working with me directly. Other times, by their writing or position in our software community. And other times, simply as a role model.

I've started a segment on my blog called – My Heroes. I’ll post intermittently, perhaps every 1-2 months. But it serves as a reminder to me to be thoughtful and appreciative of the folks who’ve influenced my growth and skills. And of course, they get none of the credit for my many foibles.

The fourth one up is: Mike Cohn

Mike is one of those folks in the agile community that influences things without taking an obnoxious or too controversial stand. He's supremely experienced, is very pragmatic, and simply shares what has worked for him. 

I first "met" Mike by reading his books. He wrote two of the most influential books in the "early days" of Scrum and agile. 

these books were seminal at the time when many of us were really struggling with agile requirements (user stories) and agile planning.  From my point-of-view, they were game-changing in providing practical guidance and advice for agile teams when it was needed the most.

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My Heros: Rob Sabourin

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My Heros: Rob Sabourin

There are individuals who have influenced my professional journey significantly. Sometimes, by working with me directly. Other times, by their writing or position in our software community. And other times, simply as a role model.

I've started a segment on my blog called – My Heroes. I’ll post intermittently, perhaps every 1-2 months. But it serves as a reminder to me to be thoughtful and appreciative of the folks who’ve influenced my growth and skills. And of course, they get none of the credit for my many foibles.

The third one up is: Rob Sabourin

Rob is a stalwart in the testing community. He's been talking about software testing for, what seems like, forever. He has a real passion for all aspects of testing. While I've traveled and done similar work to Rob in the software testing arena, I can't hold a candle to the depth, breadth, and real-world applicability of his experience. 

He's affiliated with McGill University and has facilitated quite a few research projects over the years. So, he's giving back to students and to our community as well. Sometimes I've wondered how many people have been influenced (for the absolute better) by Rob. I can't even imagine the numbers.

If you've ever attended a talk, workshop or another session format by Rob, a few things always stand out:

  • His passion and energy just blows you away;
  • His encyclopedic knowledge of the subject matter;
  • And his sense of humor, with a unique ability to "connect" with his audience.

all make Rob a unique and valuable gift to our community.

I Am A Bug

In 1999, Rob published a book with his daughter Catherine that explained the craft of software testing to everyone, including children. Years ago I used to buy copies of it as gifts for testers on my teams who had young children.

While I kid with Rob that he really should have written (write) more books, I am a Bug is truly unique and a classic gift to our testing community. 

When I "met" him

Around 2001-2 I started working on my first book - Software Endgames. It was later published in 2004. I was new to the community and I was aware of him by his reputation and interests. One of the common interests we had was defect workflows, triage, and generally how to effectively handle bugs in software projects. This was one of the main themes of Software Endgames, so I thought I'd ask Rob to review my manuscript.

While I didn't know him personally at the time, I thought, what the hell, all I could do is ask. So I sent him an email introduction and a copy of the manuscript. He immediately replied and agreed to give me some feedback.

2-3 weeks later I received a VERY detailed, chapter by chapter, review of Software Endgames. It was feedback beyond my expectations and incredibly helpful. Rob also sent me encouragement that the book added value to the community and that lifted my spirits to continue in the books finalization process.

To this day, his incredible generosity in taking the time to help and support a total stranger sticks out to me.  He made Software Endgames and me far better for the experience. And the example.

WRAPPING UP

One of the defining aspects of my heroes is that they’ll probably be embarrassed to be categorized in that way. Nonetheless, they are my heroes.

They’ve helped me to become the person, trainer, speaker, and coach that I am today. Whether they’re aware of it or not.

Rob Sabourin, you've shown me what it's like to be a professional. To maintain your energy and passion around doing what you love. You've also been a role model to me. I've learned much by simply watching you work. Not only in front of a class, but as an individual. Your generosity in helping me with my book has stuck with me. And encouraged me to "give back" to folks as much as I can.

But beyond my accolades, I consider you a colleague and, most importantly, a dear friend. It's this that I'm most proud of and humbled by. 

I’m incredibly blessed to know you and want you to know that you are my Hero.

Stay agile my friends,

Bob.

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My Heroes: Johanna Rothman

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My Heroes: Johanna Rothman

It’s time for me to share something about my next personal hero.

I thought long and hard and it has to be Johanna Rothman. In this case, it’s not something that Johanna particularly did for me.

Of course, we know each other and have run around the same conference circles for quite a few years. But in this case, it’s the role model aspect that makes Johanna my hero.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I was trying to find myself as a software engineer and leader. I’d been working for companies over the years, but I had this idea to establish my own brand. It started by speaking at conferences and writing.

In those early days, both of those activities were limited. I was a “new guy” on the landscape and just trying to figure out how to become more of an influencer, a subject matter expert, a consultant if you will.

So, I looked around for role models. After a while, I found one. It was Johanna Rothman. She was doing the things that I wanted to do. She was speaking and writing about software development topics like project management, leadership, and testing. She seemed to be “everywhere” to me and had a relatively well-established consulting brand.

A Confession

I have a confession to make. Over the years, I’ve received quite a bit of feedback on my incorporated name: RGalen Consulting Group. Well, I have a confession. I borrowed that model from Johanna. As well as much of the structure of her services on her website.

She gave me inspiration in how to construct a brand and a focus in the world of software development consulting when I had few ideas of my own. And it helped me to get established and gain some initial confidence.

Later

As I attended more conferences as a presenter and workshop provider, I ran into Johanna more and more often. I continued to observe how she did what she did. Her area focuses, her way of presenting and connecting to an audience. And her posture and confidence when it came to providing advice.

No, I wasn’t becoming Johanna. No one could do that. Nor was I “stalking” her. But I was learning from her and using her as a phenomenal role model in my own journey.

And the writing…

I have another confession to make. As you can see in the picture I’ve attached to this post, Johanna has written quite a few books.

When I first met her, she was just starting her book authoring. Sure, she had written many articles, but only one book as I recall. Over time I followed her as she began to share her vast experience in this medium. And it too inspired me.

You see, I’m not a natural writer. I’m still not. And it’s been one of my greatest weaknesses. But watching Johanna write, share, and seeing the impact it had on others, again inspired me to begin writing.

More than fifteen years later and I’ve written four books and countless articles and blog posts. Am I a good writer? I wouldn’t be so bold as to say that. But I’ve improved drastically over those years and I’ve come to appreciate this way of sharing my learning and experience with others.

Wrapping Up

Johanna, I want to thank you for being a role model to me and countless others as to what a professional, courageous, and principled consultant and author should be.

One of the highest compliments I can pay you is that I always saw you – walk your talk. In everything you said and did.

You are the consummate role model and professional and I am forever in your debt for your inspiration. An inspiration that you’re probably not even aware of.

Anyway, Johanna, I’m incredibly blessed to know you and want you to know that you are my Hero.

Stay agile my friends,

Bob.

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My Heroes: David Hussman

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My Heroes: David Hussman

There are individuals who have influenced my professional journey significantly. Sometimes, by working with me directly. Other times, by their writing or position in our software community. And other times, simply as a role model.

I want to start a new segment on my blog called – My Hero’s. I’ll post intermittently, perhaps every 1-2 months. But it serves as a reminder to me to be thoughtful and appreciative about the folks who’ve influenced my growth and skills. And of course, they get none of the credit for my many foibles.

The first one up is: David Hussman.

David is one of those original voices in the agile community. He’s been around for a fairly long time and I’ve interacted mostly with him at conferences. I’ve also followed his writing and conversations. One of the cool things about David is he challenges the agile status quo and always, always makes me think. Something that I value greatly.

He’s a musician, turned programmer, turned entrepreneur, so he’s followed a rather eclectic journey compared to my own. I suspect that’s what makes him have such an interesting view on things.

It so happens that he is ill now. I won’t get into the details, but to say that it is life threatening. And it’s this knowledge that influenced me to reflect on the impact he’s had on my life.

Beyond agile, David helps those in our agile community. He is generous in giving of his time and helping others whenever he can. He’s humble and all about others. And when I say humble, he’s truly humble.

I remember a year or two ago we invited David to speak at our local agile conference – TriAgile. Now David is incredibly well-known and a big audience draw. However, when we setup the rooms and tracks, we put David in the smallest room. By far the smallest room.

Needless to say, it was packed. And many were turned away. Many speakers would have been upset or affronted by this lack of awareness on the part of the conference team. David, literally said nothing. He came in, did a great job, collaborated with the attendees, and went on his way. He was far more understanding and humble than I probably would have been.

But that is David.

Wrapping Up

One of the defining aspects of my hero’s, is that they’ll probably be embarrassed to be categorized in that way. Nonetheless, they are my hero’s.

They’ve helped me to become the person, trainer, speaker, and coach that I am today. Whether they’re aware of it or not.

David Hussman, you’ve made a great impression on me in your journey that I can never thank you enough for. You’ve been a role model to me and many others in so many ways. And you sir, walk your talk. Something that I prize very dearly.

I’m incredibly blessed to know you and want you to know that you are my Hero.

Stay agile my friends,

Bob.

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