Thursday, August 19, 2010

Aspire to be agile missionary

In an evening of earlier this week, when I went out for a walk near my house, I met 2 young Christian missionaries. From their eyes, I can feel their passion and ideal. They want to help people, and enjoy seeing how they can make changes to them. They did that all for free, they have a mission to transfer what the God said to other people. I was totally impressed by their passion, although I don't believe in God.

I was inspired by these 2 young missionary: we might need missionaries in the software industry. I love to be a missionary if there is a similar group about software development which share a unique vision about software developing, like software craftsmanship for example.  I would love to share my knowledge and experience; I would love to transfer to other developer that what I believe the right thing, right principle; I love to pursue the way of software development, find the philosophy behind the principles. I love to do that for free, and I am sure I will enjoy what I am doing and seeing the changes I made.

What is the reason that I want to be agile missionary? During year 2002, at that time I had been a software engineer for about 10 years, I became confused about my career as software developer: should I continue my career as developer or change to a manager? Why programmer's job is so hard, so boring, so messy? It doesn't make sense! And in that year, occasionally I began to know about Agile movement, it totally changed my mindset of software developing. Agile is like philosophy: it tells you the right way beyond the detailed technology, computer language and tools. Since then I read lots of books from Kent beck, Martin Fowler, Uncle Bob, Dave Thomas ... etc. Since then I found the answer of my career path: continue my career as software developer, because there so many good stuff you need to know, there are lots of potentials for to improve yourself. Then I started learning Design patterns, doing refactoring, investigate new tools. Gradually I realized that I can feel the difference between me and my colleagues: not because of my experience, but because I have the deeper knowledge of agile and the right way of programming. I really love to share my experiences, because I learned a lot from agile. Before I just unconsciously shared my experiences and knowledge, from now I need to do that consciously and deliberately.

Being agile missionary is not easy. First, you need to keep improving your skills, then you can lead by example; second, you need passion and strong vision; third, you need to know some knowledge of psychology, because different person has different background and different mindset, you need to aware that and use different strategy; fourth, the communication skills is definitely important, you need to keep improving it.

I already set my goal: pursuing the right way of software of development, finding the true principles, strategy and philosophy, attain mastery. Right now I feel I just enter the gate to that road, there is till a long journey to go. I hope at this journey, when I work as a missionary by help other developers, I can improve myself and find other missionaries.

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