How important is craft to you?

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Lance Walton

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Feb 25, 2009, 3:53:48 PM2/25/09
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Hi all.

George Bernard Shaw said 'A true artist will let his wife starve, his
children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy,
sooner than work at anything but his art.' (Man and Superman).

So my question is this: How important is this idea of 'craft' to you?
Is it a part of your identity, something from which you derive your
self-esteem maybe? Would you, for example, terminate you current
employment (even in the current economic climate) because you cannot
practice your craft to the extent that you want? Have you ever done
that?

George Bernard Shaw also said 'Bad artists always admire each others
work.' (also Man and Superman). That's probably not relevant.

Regards,

Lance
----
Lance Walton
http://www.stateofflow.com
http://homepage.mac.com/LanceWalton


Paul Pagel

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Feb 25, 2009, 4:33:53 PM2/25/09
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Lance,

In Richard Sennett's book Craftsman, he describes vocation as
"contains two resonances: the gradual accumulation of knowledge and
skills and the ever-stronger conviction that one was meant to do this
one particular thing in one's life."

This made perfect sense to me. I never choose to become a software
developer. I didn't come out of college, look at a list of possible
occupations with my CS degree and say "sure, I will give that one a
shot." I did exactly the opposite. I came out of school(after hating
the programming I did in school) and say, "I really want to do
something else." But I couldn't. My vocation is writing software,
and I needed a way to make it enjoyable, rather than get away from it
(which I found in craftsmanship/my mentors).

The other key aspects are "ever-stronger" and "gradual accumulation."
Every day, for my entire career, I know with more confidence that this
is what I am dedicating myself to do. Also, there is a long slow
accumulation of knowledge and skill that will never stop.

So, I think George Bernard Shaw is using hyperbole to demonstrate the
greater point of sacrifice for your work. I wonder what Charlotte
Payne-Townshend had to say about her husband letting her starve. I
get the point though, a craftsman understands that there is a vocation
which is inseparable from us.

Best,
Paul Pagel

Dave Hoover

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Feb 25, 2009, 6:00:28 PM2/25/09
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On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 2:53 PM, Lance Walton <lance...@mac.com> wrote:
> So my question is this: How important is this idea of 'craft' to you?

The idea of 'craft' is incredibly important to me. The ideals in
McBreen's book have have a huge impact on my life.

> Is it a part of your identity, something from which you derive your
> self-esteem maybe?

Absolutely.

> Would you, for example, terminate you current
> employment (even in the current economic climate) because you cannot
> practice your craft to the extent that you want? Have you ever done
> that?

I have switched jobs so that I could practice my craft to the extent
that I want. That's why I left the AMA and joined ThoughtWorks. And
that's why I left ThoughtWorks and joined Obtiva. Both of these moves
were deliberate decisions to move me toward where I am today: sitting
in a Studio of apprentices and journeymen in Chicago near my home.

I have never quit a job without having a better job waiting for me.
Unless I could support myself and my family for a year or more off of
our savings (which I can't currently do), I would not quit a job
because I cannot practice my craft to the extent that I want. I've
been in that situation before, and I can say that I stood by my
values, principles, and practices and improved the situation. Just
because I wouldn't quit doesn't mean I couldn't stand by my
principles. (I've never had anyone threaten to fire me for being too
idealistic.)

Craftsmanship is important to me, but my family is more important. My
responsibility as sole-income-provider for my family (of 5) has a huge
impact on my career options.

Dave Hoover
//obtiva: Agility applied. Software delivered.

Torbjörn Gyllebring

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Feb 26, 2009, 2:10:21 AM2/26/09
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Hi Lance,

On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 9:53 PM, Lance Walton <lance...@mac.com> wrote:

> Would you, for example, terminate you current
> employment (even in the current economic climate) because you cannot
> practice your craft to the extent that you want? Have you ever done
> that?

Yes I have. Would I do it today, maybe. My employment is only one
outlet and theese days, as a consultant, I'm more inclined to work
with the organization to highten awerness and bringing forth the
craftsmen in my collegues. I take pride in my work and it makes me
feel horrible when external forces push me to deliver something I
would rather not stand for. I've found that as I mature im getting
more stubborn with my values, less inclined to give in to shouting
managers and project leaders, and I think I actually get more respect
for it.

> George Bernard Shaw also said 'Bad artists always admire each others
> work.' (also Man and Superman). That's probably not relevant.
>

Oh, but I think it is. I've never seen programmers so filld with glee
as when I caught two newly grads copy-pasting about a 1000lines
rampantly changing constants and various minor things "to get a
feature done fast". Mentoring did ensue.

Ralf Westphal

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Feb 26, 2009, 11:44:30 AM2/26/09
to software_craftsmanship
> In Richard Sennett's book Craftsman, he describes vocation as  
> "contains two resonances: the gradual accumulation of knowledge and  
> skills and the ever-stronger conviction that one was meant to do this  
> one particular thing in one's life."

If that´s the driving force behind a manifesto for Software
Craftsmanship I´d say, from a customer point of view, I could not care
less.
Although it´s nice to know to be serviced by someone who´s passionate
about his profession, I don´t think this passion should be essential.
Maybe someone passionate and following a vocation brings a bit extra
to the table. That would be great.
But rather, I´d like to work with someone less passionate but knowing
the tools of the trade and delivering state of the art work fulfilling
my requirements regarding correctness and evolvability in a productive
manner (thus respecting my money).

-Ralf

Dave Hoover

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Feb 26, 2009, 12:00:03 PM2/26/09
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Good point, Ralf.

For me, it's hard to separate these two concepts. I do believe I am
meant to do what I'm doing right now. Following this conviction, I
have put myself into a situation where I will either respect my
client's money or my projects will fail. The client who has had the
biggest impact on me is the founder of Mad Mimi. He felt every dollar
he spent on developing the site, and me blowing an estimate was felt
by his wife and children. Leading Mad Mimi's development and
subsequent success has transformed my approach with clients. I used
to get way more excited about technology and low-level techniques. I
now find a happy client to be one of the most rewarding aspects of my
job.

Best,

Dave Hoover
//obtiva: Agility applied. Software delivered.

Steven Smith

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Feb 26, 2009, 4:18:20 PM2/26/09
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Yes, I define my value (as a consultant/trainer) more in terms of the
actual business value of the software I deliver than in its innate
"goodness". I think looking at it any other way is a form of
micro-optimization (to borrow from Lean). I'm very passionate about
delivering business value - I own my own business. I'm very
passionate about knowing how to write quality code - I earn money
mentoring and training. I think knowing how and when to balance the
two (when they occasionally are at odds) is an important consideration
for any craftsman.

Steve

Enrique Comba Riepenhausen

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Feb 28, 2009, 2:55:32 PM2/28/09
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I totally agree with you Dave!

The idea of software craftsmanship has changed totally my view of the
craft and how I see myself.

I have gone even to the extend of moving with a fellow craftsman to
live the idea of a software craftsman's workshop in where we live and
work together.

It is an experiment that we have chosen to live through and see what
it will bring. In fact one of the most important decisions I've taken
recently.

I believe that this movement is a very important paradigm shift and I
can see how, at the moment in a smaller scale, it is changing the way
people and companies (specially Obtiva and 8thLight; I am really
impressed by your decissions!) see the industry.

2009/2/25 Dave Hoover <dave....@gmail.com>:
--
Enrique Comba Riepenhausen
[@]: <eco...@gmail.com>
[w]: <http://www.nexwerk.com>

Derek Greer

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Mar 1, 2009, 10:26:00 AM3/1/09
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While I can certainly appreciate the value of having regular conversations
with others in my field, I certainly hope that any future notion of
"software craftsmanship" is void of any suggestions that someone seeking to
be a true craftsman should seek to literally live with others within their
profession.

Derek

Corey Haines

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Mar 1, 2009, 10:42:43 AM3/1/09
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Derek,

+1 :)

There are definitely those of us who are trying out different lifestyles to see where they take us, but craftsmanship is about the process of learning and furthering ones skills and using those skills appropriately. We need to be reminded of that periodically, especially since those who are experimenting tend to be the most vocal and visible.

-Corey
--
http://www.coreyhaines.com
The Internet's Premiere source of information about Corey Haines

Olof Bjarnason

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Mar 1, 2009, 10:45:39 AM3/1/09
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+1 Derek.

But working with other craftsmen maybe wouldn't be stretching it too
far..? I mean, if I were a carpenter, I'd rather work with peers who
shared my professional values (a sense of what is good wood work and
what is not) than not.

2009/3/1 Derek Greer <dbg...@gmail.com>:
--
Min blogg:
http://olofb.wordpress.com
[My blog, in Swedish]

eco...@gmail.com

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Mar 1, 2009, 10:53:43 AM3/1/09
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Hi Derek,

I can only agree to that too. A software craftsman should not defined
by with whom he lives, but how he tried to improve is craft on a daily
basis to become a master.

Choosing to live with a fellow craftsman is a choice that everyone has
to take for him/her self; in most cases not practicable.

Cheers,

Enrique

Corey Haines

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Mar 1, 2009, 10:57:06 AM3/1/09
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I agree whole-heartedly with Olof, though. I think a craftsman should strive to work with other craftsman. It is soul-crushing to work with people who don't share your ideals.

-Corey

Dave Hoover

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Mar 1, 2009, 11:11:04 AM3/1/09
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One of the most reliable ways to work with another craftsman is to
develop one via apprenticeship. :)

Enrique, would you consider bringing an apprentice into your workshop
at some point?

eco...@gmail.com

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Mar 1, 2009, 12:01:37 PM3/1/09
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Hey Dave,

the short answer is: yes, absolutely

The little longer one is: yes, absolutely... but as you might have
read form our blog (http://blog.nexwerk.com) we are still very much in
the starting positions. There is a hell lot of things to be done
before the workshop can be our only source of income (at the moment it
is only our source of expenses).

But that is the main idea behind NexWerk's workshop, to have a place
where we live and work and where we can take in Apprentices or even be
honored by the visit of fellow journeymen who want to share experiences.

Enrique

Derek Greer

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Mar 1, 2009, 1:57:54 PM3/1/09
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I certainly agree that it’s important to work in an environment that supports rather than hinders one’s pursuit of quality in their work.  I was just expressing concern that the notion of living with other craftsman would somehow become a litmus test for how committed someone may be to quality.

eco...@gmail.com

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Mar 1, 2009, 2:12:12 PM3/1/09
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Hey Derek,

I share your concern as I would not like that myself either. A craftsman should be a person that believes in what he / she does and continuously strives to improve his / craft.

I would not see the part that has to do with sharing a roof to be a requirement for experiencing the craft. As I mentioned earlier NexWerk is an experiment to see if we can really make this happen. We believe in craftsmanship, and that will stay even if we decide that living and working in the same place makes no sense or is to difficult to endure. I only can tell that I hope not as I have high hopes and expectations.

Enrique

Dave Hoover

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Mar 1, 2009, 4:21:44 PM3/1/09
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On Sun, Mar 1, 2009 at 12:57 PM, Derek Greer <dbg...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I certainly agree that it’s important to work in an environment that
> supports rather than hinders one’s pursuit of quality in their work.  I was
> just expressing concern that the notion of living with other craftsman would
> somehow become a litmus test for how committed someone may be to quality.

I don't think there is any danger that "craftsman cohabitation" will
become a litmus test for commitment to quality.

People like Corey and Enrique will make big impacts on Software
Craftsmanship because they have chosen to embrace it at level that
most of us can't, or won't. All of us choose our level of commitment
to the craft based on our circumstances, personalities, and
responsibilities. I think we all agree that our parallel and
intertwining journeys toward mastery are the glue of this community.
The best litmus test for one's commitment to quality is observing
their behavior, talking to their colleagues, and using their software.

Robert Martin

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Mar 2, 2009, 11:01:45 AM3/2/09
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There is a difference between a craftsman and an artist.  Artists are fanatic perfectionists.  Craftsmen are professional pragmatists.


----
Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob)  | email: uncl...@objectmentor.com
Object Mentor Inc.            | blog:  blog.objectmentor.com
The Agile Transition Experts  | web:   www.objectmentor.com
800-338-6716                  | twitter: unclebobmartin





Kevin Taylor

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Mar 2, 2009, 11:31:55 AM3/2/09
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+1

Thank you for voicing that, Bob!

--
Kevin P. Taylor
312.380.6672

//obtiva - Agility Applied. Software Delivered.

http://obtiva.com


On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 10:01 AM, Robert Martin <uncl...@objectmentor.com> wrote:
There is a difference between a craftsman and an artist.  Artists are fanatic perfectionists.  Craftsmen are professional pragmatists.

Jason Gorman

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Mar 2, 2009, 2:32:22 PM3/2/09
to software_craftsmanship
I studied art and art history (my first career choice was going to be
Graphic Design), and a lot of my friends from school are now either
successful artists, art teachers or work in galleries and art museums.
I can say from personal experience that they have patrons to please,
deadlines to meet and bills to pay and are every bit as pragmatic as
any software developer I know. And most of them wouldn't dare to argue
a distinction between art and craft. Take Marcel Duchamp's urinal, for
example. Is it art? Some say it is. Some say it isn't. But I won't
dispute that Duchamp as an artist. But he was also a designer, like
many other artists. Furniture, clothing, cars, buildings. Is Bauhaus
art? Is Art Deco really art? If I make you an Art Deco ashtray, am I
an artist or a craftsman?

Sorry, just had to nip that stereotype in the bud, there.

Carry on ;-)

Jason

On Mar 2, 4:01 pm, Robert Martin <uncle...@objectmentor.com> wrote:
> There is a difference between a craftsman and an artist.  Artists are  
> fanatic perfectionists.  Craftsmen are professional pragmatists.
>
> On Feb 25, 2009, at 14:53 , Lance Walton wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> > Hi all.
>
> > George Bernard Shaw said 'A true artist will let his wife starve, his
> > children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy,
> > sooner than work at anything but his art.' (Man and Superman).
>
> > So my question is this: How important is this idea of 'craft' to you?
> > Is it a part of your identity, something from which you derive your
> > self-esteem maybe? Would you, for example, terminate you current
> > employment (even in the current economic climate) because you cannot
> > practice your craft to the extent that you want? Have you ever done
> > that?
>
> > George Bernard Shaw also said 'Bad artists always admire each others
> > work.' (also Man and Superman). That's probably not relevant.
>
> > Regards,
>
> > Lance
> > ----
> > Lance Walton
> >http://www.stateofflow.com
> >http://homepage.mac.com/LanceWalton
>
> ----
> Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob)  | email: uncle...@objectmentor.com
> Object Mentor Inc.            | blog:  blog.objectmentor.com
> The Agile Transition Experts  | web:  www.objectmentor.com
> 800-338-6716                  | twitter: unclebobmartin- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Lance Walton

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Mar 2, 2009, 4:47:51 PM3/2/09
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There may well be a difference between an artist and a craftsman, but that isn't it. The notion of artist suffering for their art, fanatically pursuing perfection, disregarding all other concerns and ultimately dying, sad and lonely (i.e. the one represented in the George Bernard Shaw quote) probably derives from the romantic era of whatever art it is that interests you. Before that, there were mostly people who had to produce work in order to live and who got up at 7:00 in the morning, started writing music or whatever it is they did, and didn't stop until it was too dark to carry on. I know of several ways that the mighty J.S.Bach, for me the ultimate artist and craftsman, was pragmatic in the pursuit of his extraordinary art. It is that level of craft that inspires me in my pursuit, both as a software developer and as an amateur composer.

I should not have used the George Bernard Shaw quotes, which I intended only for the purposes of humour. The questions of identity, self-esteem and the extent to which these affect the decisions you make about where you will work or continue to work are actually what my post were about.

It was a poorly crafted question. I apologise.

Regards,

Lance
-----

Brian Marick

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Mar 2, 2009, 5:50:37 PM3/2/09
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On Mar 2, 2009, at 2:32 PM, Jason Gorman wrote:
> I can say from personal experience that they have patrons to please,
> deadlines to meet and bills to pay and are every bit as pragmatic as
> any software developer I know.

And vice-versa. There's a wonderful bit in Gombrich's _The Story of
Art_ about the discovery of perspective. It talks about one artist who
became so entranced with the new possibilities of perspective that he
neglected his work, his family, spent all his time obsessively trying
out new perspective ideas. Sound like any programmers you've been?

-----
Brian Marick, independent consultant
Mostly on agile methods with a testing slant
www.exampler.com, www.exampler.com/blog, www.twitter.com/marick

purplehayz

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Mar 2, 2009, 9:28:45 PM3/2/09
to software_craftsmanship
Not in the Renaissance sense - Michelangelo was a craftsman because he
could take a commission from someone, gather the right folks around
him, and create what the patron wanted.

I think the Arts & Crafts movement created this distinction.

Thanks! - Bob

On Mar 2, 8:01 am, Robert Martin <uncle...@objectmentor.com> wrote:
> There is a difference between a craftsman and an artist.  Artists are  
> fanatic perfectionists.  Craftsmen are professional pragmatists.
>
> On Feb 25, 2009, at 14:53 , Lance Walton wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > Hi all.
>
> > George Bernard Shaw said 'A true artist will let his wife starve, his
> > children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy,
> > sooner than work at anything but his art.' (Man and Superman).
>
> > So my question is this: How important is this idea of 'craft' to you?
> > Is it a part of your identity, something from which you derive your
> > self-esteem maybe? Would you, for example, terminate you current
> > employment (even in the current economic climate) because you cannot
> > practice your craft to the extent that you want? Have you ever done
> > that?
>
> > George Bernard Shaw also said 'Bad artists always admire each others
> > work.' (also Man and Superman). That's probably not relevant.
>
> > Regards,
>
> > Lance
> > ----
> > Lance Walton
> >http://www.stateofflow.com
> >http://homepage.mac.com/LanceWalton
>
> ----
> Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob)  | email: uncle...@objectmentor.com

purplehayz

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Mar 2, 2009, 9:34:15 PM3/2/09
to software_craftsmanship
I was looking for the right place to inject this - what about guilds?

In the Renaissance, guilds brought craftsmen, journeymen and
apprentices together. There was a guild master - this person made
sure the guild operated at a profit, there was appropriate work for
the craftsmen, made sure there were enough people of across all skill
levels to keep the guild working.

Who is the modern guild master?

I will argue its the manager, not the scrum master. I expect the
modern software development manager to be skilled in the craft but
also skilled in managing the (often difficult) personalities (this is
a craft after all - difficult personalities will sometimes come with
the territory), make sure quality stays high, bring in good talent,
etc. I'm not sure the scrum master has an analogy with guilds members
(someone help me out here please).

I ran a team like this, using agile processes (but that predated
scrum) for about four years and it went very well.

Have fun! - Bob

On Feb 28, 11:55 am, Enrique Comba Riepenhausen <eco...@gmail.com>
wrote:
> I totally agree with you Dave!
>
> The idea of software craftsmanship has changed totally my view of the
> craft and how I see myself.
>
> I have gone even to the extend of moving with a fellow craftsman to
> live the idea of a software craftsman's workshop in where we live and
> work together.
>
> It is an experiment that we have chosen to live through and see what
> it will bring. In fact one of the most important decisions I've taken
> recently.
>
> I believe that this movement is a very important paradigm shift and I
> can see how, at the moment in a smaller scale, it is changing the way
> people and companies (specially Obtiva and 8thLight; I am really
> impressed by your decissions!) see the industry.
>
> 2009/2/25 Dave Hoover <dave.hoo...@gmail.com>:

Enrique Comba Riepenhausen

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Mar 3, 2009, 3:36:24 AM3/3/09
to software_cr...@googlegroups.com
Hey Bob,

> I was looking for the right place to inject this - what about guilds?
>
> In the Renaissance, guilds brought craftsmen, journeymen and
> apprentices together.  There was a guild master - this person made
> sure the guild operated at a profit, there was appropriate work for
> the craftsmen, made sure there were enough people of across all skill
> levels to keep the guild working.

The notion of a guild usually has had very dark consequences to a
craft. The goldsmiths guilds where set up to *avoid* journeymen come
into the area where a guild was and offer their services (unless
obviously that journeyman payed his *taxes* and complied to the guilds
laws).

The creation of guilds in the past has marked the downfall of
craftsmanship, at least from the craftsmanship I think most of us
think about and want to follow.

In previous posts I also mentioned the guild, although, I was
confusing words (at least from my intention); for me the natural
evolution of software craftsmen is into workshops (co-living or not)
where craftsmen follow their craft in a particular way (you can also
read the word workshop as school or studio).

A guild would only be a *corpus regula* for us, which I believe would
cause more harm then help (at least at this very moment of
consolidation of concepts).


> Who is the modern guild master?
>
> I will argue its the manager, not the scrum master.  I expect the
> modern software development manager to be skilled in the craft but
> also skilled in managing the (often difficult) personalities (this is
> a craft after all - difficult personalities will sometimes come with
> the territory), make sure quality stays high, bring in good talent,
> etc.  I'm not sure the scrum master has an analogy with guilds members
> (someone help me out here please).

Personally I don't believe that there are many masters around... A
workshop, school, or studio can work without a master when two o more
journeymen decide to settle into a place (for some time) and start to
work following a common agreed set of working practices.

To be a master, as of my understanding, you must have such a vast
knowledge and influence that you will have impacted the industry in
which you are master in ways that have brought the craft new tools to
it (introduction of OO, etc) and you have taught (or teach) your
insights to others (in the form of books, actual lectures, etc).

Having said that, I don't believe that someone can call himself a
master either, people have to recognize you as one. And with people I
mean a community of Software Craftsmen like we can find in this
mailing list.

Cheers,

Enrique

>
> I ran a team like this, using agile processes (but that predated
> scrum) for about four years and it went very well.
>
> Have fun! - Bob
>
> On Feb 28, 11:55 am, Enrique Comba Riepenhausen <eco...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I totally agree with you Dave!
>>
>> The idea of software craftsmanship has changed totally my view of the
>> craft and how I see myself.
>>
>> I have gone even to the extend of moving with a fellow craftsman to
>> live the idea of a software craftsman's workshop in where we live and
>> work together.
>>
>> It is an experiment that we have chosen to live through and see what
>> it will bring. In fact one of the most important decisions I've taken
>> recently.
>>
>> I believe that this movement is a very important paradigm shift and I
>> can see how, at the moment in a smaller scale, it is changing the way
>> people and companies (specially Obtiva and 8thLight; I am really
>> impressed by your decissions!) see the industry.
>>
>> 2009/2/25 Dave Hoover <dave.hoo...@gmail.com>:
> - Show quoted text -
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
> - Show quoted text -
> >
>



Dave Hoover

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Mar 3, 2009, 7:36:08 AM3/3/09
to software_cr...@googlegroups.com
There are several craftsmanship-focused companies in the midwestern US
where the business owners play this role of ensuring profit, and
either delegate or also play the roles of ensuring their teams have
enough work and the right mix of apprentices and journeymen.

These companies include http://edgecase.com/, http://8thlight.com/,
http://atomicobject.com/ and http://obtiva.com/.

I agree with Enrique that guilds are unnecessary and probably damaging
to the craft. Instead, we're looking to build a journeymen exchange
network between these companies (and others) as a first step toward
creating a more established network of teams and individuals who share
our values of Extreme Programming and Software Craftsmanship. An
official announcement is forthcoming.

Best,

Dave Hoover
//obtiva: Agility applied. Software delivered.



Peter Gillard-Moss

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Mar 3, 2009, 9:10:02 AM3/3/09
to software_craftsmanship
I think I must second this more practical sentiment.

The romantic rose tinted glasses of artists and craftsmen only serves
the media and screen writers.

Over romantisism of craft or art is a dangerous thing. On the one
hand it can breed a contemptable arrogance (the primadona artist
impossible to work with) on the other it breeds something far worse
than mediocrity (The XFactor: or it is my dream therefore it must
be).

As others have said if we look accurately at the histories and habits
of artists/craftsmen we will see hardworking perservering pragmatism
and dedication no matter what area that is (film, writing, painting,
music, science etc. etc.)

Rik

unread,
Mar 3, 2009, 11:23:38 AM3/3/09
to software_craftsmanship
I have been lurking for a couple of weeks, waiting for a good time to
introduce myself. My name is Rik Dryfoos - I am the Engineering
Manager for a five person Development Team on Long Island. We operate
in a Hybrid XP environment. I must say that am feeling just a little
jealous of the nexus of craftsmanship-focused companies in the Midwest
- very nice. I hope to find or foster such a network locally (call to
NYC/LI based folks that may be here).

I am working with my VP of Technology and one of the very
Craftsmanship-minded devs on my team to formalize a system (internal
only) where we can foster a set of agreed upon practices and thus grow
the notion of craftsmanship. We will replace our old naming of
Software Engineer and Senior Software Engineer with Apprentice,
Journeyman, Craftsman and Master Craftsman.

We are almost done with the first version of definitions (but we are
intentionally leaving Master as TBD - we may never even have a true
Master on our team and we want the definition to emerge once we have
some Craftsmen). As we finish our working draft, I will post more
details here if there is interest.

I am intrigued by the notion of "belts" that I read as being dropped
from Uncle Bob's "Clean Code". I don't love the Six Sigma connotation
but I would be very interested to see how the belts were defined.

I liked Corey's warning against a guild or other certifying body
"There be dragons there". And I am mindful that the Agile Alliance is
against certifications - I believe because they don't want to see
certification become a prerequisite for employment. Ours will be
inward facing. It will be skills based and may map to pay/other
benefits.

I am also mindful that I represent a management interest in fostering
craft whereas most of the others that speak up here are following
craft from a more personal perspective. In the past I have worked on
many projects that suffered from poorly crafted code. I have witnessed
and felt the pain, unhappiness and dissatisfaction that hangs over
such projects. There is a better way and you all are leading the
exploration that promises to take us there.

I feel like I am in the presence of great company on this list and I
very much appreciate the insights that I read here. Thank you.

Corey Haines

unread,
Mar 3, 2009, 12:17:10 PM3/3/09
to software_cr...@googlegroups.com
Rik,

Thanks for coming out of the shadows and posting.

Wow! That is an awesome thing you are doing. I was in NYC for an XPDay a couple years ago, and it seemed like there was a lot of potential there.

Please keep us informed about your progress. I'm hoping to make it out to your area sometime this year, and I'd love to come visit your shop for a couple days to see how things are shaping up. I've had some great opportunities to visit places that are holding to the craftsmanship ideals while maintaining their business successes, and I am convinced it is definitely possible.

I'd also like to say thanks for your comment about the management perspective. All of the things we are talking about here is wonderful, but we really need to remember that we are working in companies with managers, other employees, etc. It makes me very happy to see people outside of the direct day-to-day development espousing these principles.

If you need anything, or would like to talk, please feel free to ping me. I've had the great opportunity to meet and talk with a bunch of people, so I can help pass on some of their ideas.

Thanks.
-Corey

Dave Hoover

unread,
Mar 3, 2009, 12:21:08 PM3/3/09
to software_cr...@googlegroups.com
Rik,

I know I'm a broken record with the McBreen references, but his book
does have plenty of insights to offer to managers. Have you read it
yet?

Teaser:
http://search.safaribooksonline.com/0201733862/ch09

Very excited to hear about what you're up to!

Best,

Dave Hoover
//obtiva: Agility applied. Software delivered.

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