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About me

I have worked in the field of custom software development for well over twenty years now but I have not quite reached what some people affectionately call the post-technical stage – the stage where the newest IDE on your computer was released several years ago and your recent documents list is full of slide decks and architecture diagrams. I see this as as a good thing and, to be honest, made a conscious decision to remain near software delivery rather than becoming an ivory-tower architect or a line manager. Luckily, working for Thoughtworks this hasn't stopped me from doing strategic work and from shaping a business at the same time.

Beyond helping clients in my day-to-day work, I am interested in improving our industry as a whole. At Thoughtworks this is called out as part of our purpose: to champion software excellence and revolutionise the IT industry. Writing articles and presenting at conferences are ways to work towards this goal. With my open source projects I hope to make further contributions.

Interests – Complexity & effectiveness

Over the years I've seen a fair number of IT projects and it has become more and more apparent to me that successful software delivery rarely depends on choosing a certain development platform or specific technology. In my opinion, there are two main causes for problems: first, approaches that chase marginal efficiencies and emphasise upfront design at the expense of reacting to change and new insights and, second, technical implementations that are high on accidental complexity. The latter is still quite common more than twenty years after Fred Brooks wrote his No Silver Bullet paper.

Developers are turning to incremental development and evolutionary design, as Brooks suggested, and a lot of accidental complexity that was caused by low-level programming languages has disappeared. Unfortunately, though, the industry overshot the target and now accidental complexity is caused by ever more elaborate frameworks and products that over-abstract problems, causing development teams again to wrangle with complexity that has nothing to do with the actual business problem.

Interests – Responsible tech

Since the 1990ies, when I studied and volunteered at a non-for-profit ISP, I have been interested in the impact of information technology on society. My interest was mostly around privacy, data protection, and security, and there are a few related blog posts on this site, too.

Recently, I started to spend time considering how the IT industry affects the environment and what we can do, as IT experts and practitioners, to improve the sustainability of IT. The Green Software Foundation – Thoughtworks is a founding member – has helped me network with others who are interested in this topic, and I have started writing and talking about green computing.