May 27, 2014
As supporters and contributors to software craftsmanship community we love to make visible the values and thoughts of experienced practitioners over the world. Here is what Sandro Mancuso shared with us just few days before I TAKE Unconference 2014, where he is present for the second time.
Where did you get the idea for London Software Craftsmanship Community (LSCC)?
David Green and I used to meet in a pub once or twice a month to share ideas about our own personal projects and talk about software development in general. Although we really trusted and respected each other, we had a very similar background—both Java developers, using similar technologies, and very similar opinions about practices and design. At some point we realised that there were not much we could learn from each other. Back then, I was reading a lot about Software Craftsmanship and XP. I then proposed that we should invite developers from different backgrounds (programming languages, industries, etc) to join us. I wanted to know if they had the same problems we were facing. If they had, how were they solving them? If they didn’t have, what were they doing differently to avoid them?
I was very active in the London Java Community (LJC), constantly talking about Software Craftsmanship and XP, so I proposed that they could organise a regular “roundtable discussion” open to all type of developers out there. They liked the idea but said that this meeting was more suitable to a Software Craftsmanship community and not LJC. They then said: “Why don’t you start a Craftsmanship community? You’ve been involved with LJC from day one so you know what to do. And, of course, we will help, cross-promote, and come to the meetings.” I was scared but excited. I got home, created the community on Meetup, dropped an email to David and said: “We now have a community. It’s called LSCC. Yes, it’s just the two of us for now.” In less than 2 months we had more than 120 members.
What does being a software craftsman mean to you?
It’s a tough one because it means many things to me. It means:
- a commitment to excellence and professionalism
- a commitment to help other developers to get better
- sharing my passion about software development, and contributing to the evolution of our industry
- providing a good and ethical service to our clients
- taking ownership of my career
- bring professionalism, pragmatism, and pride to software development.
Although we are a young industry, software development has a huge impact in the lives of millions of people and also enables the evolution of many vital professions. Being a software craftsman means understanding role we play in the society and being responsible for our actions. For me, being a Software Craftsman is a mindset, a life-style. It goes far beyond writing well-crafted code and programming practices.
How did LSCC influence the attendees daily work?
I can’t say LSCC had a direct impact in all our members but I know for sure that many of them learned a lot coming to our meetings, which in turn, made them better professionals and helped them to progress in their career. That is definitely true for me as well.
Over the years, many of our members mentioned how much they’ve learned and how important LSCC was for them. LSCC organises many different types of meetings and has a lot of very talented developers attending them. LSCC members learn a lot from each other, from coding skills to soft skills, from technical practices to how to find a better job, from awareness of what is going on to how to deal with their co-workers and employers. The things we all learn through sharing ideas with other passionate professionals have a massive influence on our own careers and daily work. At all levels.
You talked at I TAKE Unconference last year. What did you think of the event?
I loved it. It felt I was at home, surrounded by friends—old and new. I TAKE is a small but awesome conference, full of extremely smart and passionate people. It’s a conference I’ll do my best to attend every year. It’s one of the very few conferences where the organisers, speakers, and attendees really get Software Craftsmanship. It’s a place where many software craftsmen and craftswoman come to share and learn. It’s informal, and that’s a great thing. It makes you feel comfortable.
What are your expectations from this year edition?
I’m really looking forward to it. I know the organisers, the vast majority of the speakers, and quite a few people that will be attending. We always expect improvements but even if there is none, I’ll be very happy. I expect good conversations, a relaxed and informal environment, to share ideas, and of course, to learn as much as I can from everyone there.
What future do you see for software craftsmanship?
Software Craftsmanship is gaining a lot of momentum and becoming popular. This is a good and a bad thing. It’s good because the message is spreading and its helping our industry to move forward. But it’s also bad because, like it happened to previous movements, the core messages sometimes get lost. It becomes a buzzword, full of misinterpretations and myths.
For some, it becomes a religion. For others, a thing they irrationally reject. Some people think it is an elitist movement. Others think that Craftsmanship is about TDD and Clean Code. Some really understand its values and embrace it. Others just totally ignore it. And many others will not even hear about it.
Although it sounds negative, that’s not how I see it. I see Craftsmanship as a different movement. A movement led by communities of passionate developers that are dedicating their time to make a difference; to raise the bar of software development. I see Software Craftsmanship as a very inclusive movement and the proof of it is the number of growing communities around the world. No certifications, no Aliances, no leadership. Just passionate developers doing what they do best: sharing and learning from each other, and trying to be as good as they can be.
Thank you Sandro for your involvement in software craftsmanship community and for sharing your insights with our audience!