At the Agile 2007 conference, Jeff Patton and I were awarded the Gordon Pask award for the year 2007 by the Agile Alliance.
The Gordon Pask Award recognizes two people whose recent contributions to Agile Practice demonstrate, in the opinion of the Award Committee, their potential to become leaders of the field. The award comes with a “travel to two conferences in two other continents” and all expenses paid by Agile Alliance. This will help the award recipients to spread their ideas. Last year, the award used to comes with a check for 5000 USD from Agile Alliance. The objective of the award is to help potential leaders be heard in different communities. Presenting 5000 USD does not directly help towards this objective. So this year they changed it to sponsor the award recipient to 2 conferences in 2 different continents. The winners were announced at beginning of the Agile2007 conference banquet.
While receiving the award, I was asked to give a small speech. The gist of the speech is: “A few months back, a colleague at ThoughtWorks asked me, what brings me to the software industry and why am I working in this industry? I thought about this for a while and there was this particular image of a man with long hair walking down the streets of Boston that kept coming to my mind. He was wearing a black T-Shirt and in big bold letters it said Free (as in Freedom). Any guesses? Well, its none other than the great Richard Mark Stallman, also known as RMS. The founder of Free Software Foundation (FSF). RMS have always motivated me to build communities which cherish free and open exchange of ideas. Its my belief that its only these communities which can foster innovation and make a real difference to civilization. The reason why I’m talking about this is, I think Free Software movement and Agile have one common goal. Its Freedom. Freedom from systems/processes which kills innovation and fosters horrible & painful software experience [both while building and using it]. Again, Agile is not a silver bullet, its a ray of hope for me!”
While I’m very excited/honored to receive this award, I also feel the pressure to exceed the expectations as the recipient of the award. I really believe that India has a potential to become the next powerhouse. Over the past few years, India has become the focus of IT. I think that clubbed with Agile or light weight software development process can made a huge difference to make IT a real value add industry. There are lots of companies out there [not just in India, but across the globe], who think throwing more bodies at a problem will solve the problem. I my experience, it only complicates things further. With Agile and other light weight process, I think we can bring the emphasis back to small highly collaborative teams of quality people. Helping companies in India understand this and implement it will really be focus for the next few months. Having the recognition and the ability to established bonds with leaders in this space across the world, I think I can bring some of that expertize to India to fast track our vision of Freedom through the adoption of people centric software development process.
What else will I do with the award? Well, I love traveling and with the help of the award, I’m looking forward attend conferences and meet folks who have different views of software development. I looking forward to attend some conferences not just in the software field, but other fields which can help us push the state of software development to the next level. The award will really help me with my passion for connecting different networks of Agile Practitioners across the world and build a global community. I call this as the “connecting the dots” vision.
Thank you for your support and help.