I need to start out by thanking the people who gave me my first opportunities to become a software developer. Irv Shapiro, CEO of Edventions, hired me in April of 2000 at the end of my interview with him. Later that year he introduced me to Steve Bunes, CTO of Edventions and CEO of Risetime Technologies, and both of them guided me through my first excited steps into Perl and programming. When Edventions died the death of many other dot-com startups in April 2001, Steve put in a good word for me at the American Medical Association, where I spent the next three years surviving the aftermath of the dot-bomb. I’ll repeat my toast to Irv on the night after he hired me: “Thank you, Irv, for taking a chance on a gentile like me.”
Two people at the AMA gave me my first opportunity to move beyond my first language. John Dynkowski saw some potential in me, and recruited me to work on some of the AMA’s first J2EE projects. He did this at no small political cost to himself, and he was a constant source of encouragement during the 18 months that I worked in his department. Doug Fedorchak, my immediate supervisor, gave me the autonomy to sell Extreme Programming to upper management and pilot the AMA’s first Extreme Programming project. Thank you, John and Doug, for allowing an inexperienced but enthusiastic programmer like me to try out my ideas and make some waves in your organization.
If I had to point to one person who has had the biggest impact on me and my journey, it would be Wyatt Sutherland. I met Wyatt in 2002 at ChAD, the Chicago Agile Developers group, back when he was the group’s leader. I approached Wyatt about being his “apprentice” and he agreed to meet with me periodically for lunches and breakfasts. He did this despite his incredibly busy schedule as a traveling Agile consultant, music director at a local university, and father of four. Thank you, Wyatt, for your guidance during those years. It was a priceless gift and gave me the confidence to leave the AMA and aspire to work at companies like Object Mentor and ThoughtWorks.
I also need to thank my former employer, ThoughtWorks, for giving me access to a large group of people interested in contributing to this book, in particular my coauthor Adewale Oshineye. Thank you to ThoughtWorks’ Chief Scientist, Martin Fowler, for spending some time with me and sharing your insights on the writing process. ThoughtWorks graciously paid for my travel when Obie Fernandez invited me to come speak about the Apprenticeship Patterns at Agile Atlanta in 2005. Thank you, Obie, for your friendship and encouragement during our project together in Auburn Hills, for the invitation to Agile Atlanta, and for letting me sleep at your place when I missed my flight home. :) Thank you to my friend Laurent Bossavit, who presented the patterns to XP France in 2005 and translated the transcript to English for me. Thank you to Daragh Farrell, for presenting the patterns at Geeknight Sydney in 2005 and sending me the video of the discussion. Thank you to Linda Rising, for inviting both me and Ade to PLoP 2005, where we received a bunch of important feedback and had our first (and so far only) opportunity to meet face-to-face (and another thanks to ThoughtWorks for flying Ade to Chicago from London to attend PLoP).
At the beginning of my research into these patterns, I reached out to a number of well-known people in the software development community. These people spent time with me on the phone, via email, or both, offering feedback and wisdom based on their decades of experience. I am grateful to Ken Auer, Jerry Weinberg, Norm Kerth, Ron Jeffries, Linda Rising, Dave Astels, and Pete McBreen for spending some of their precious time guiding me in my writing. At the same time, I (and later Ade) reached out to dozens of less-experienced people (like myself) to ask for their input on the patterns and to mine their stories for common themes.
Much thanks to Adam Williams, Chris McMahon, Daragh Farrell, Desi McAdam, Elizabeth Keogh, Emerson Clarke, Jake Scruggs, Kragen Sitaker, Ivan Moore, Joe Walnes, Jonathan Weiss, Kent Schnaith, Marten Gustafson, Matt Savage, Micah Martin, Michael Hale, Michelle Pace, Patrick Kua, Patrick Morrison, Ravi Mohan, Steven Baker, Steve Tooke, Tim Bacon, Paul Pagel, Enrique Comba Riepenhausen, Nuno Marques, Steve Smith, Daniel Sebban, Brian Brazil, Matthew Russell, Russ Miles, and Raph Cohn for corresponding with us and relating their ideas and stories for us to use.
In 2008 we launched http://apprenticeship.oreilly.com, where we posted the content of the patterns for feedback from the community. Thanks to everyone who contributed, including Julie Baumler, Bob Beany, Antony Marcano, Ken McNamara, Tom Novotny, Vikki Read, Michael Rolf, Joseph Taylor, and especially Michael Hunger, who was an active participant in the forums and provided us excellent feedback from his several manuscript reviews.
I also need to express my gratitude to the daily passengers of the Metra Union Pacific West Line train that runs from Chicago’s Loop to the western suburbs. The majority of this book was written in the library-like silence of this train. Thank you for keeping to yourselves and enjoying your own books while I was writing mine. See you tomorrow!
I joined Obtiva in 2006, when Kevin Taylor convinced me that I should become its fourth employee rather than a subcontractor. It was certainly good advice, and has paid off in countless ways. I need to thank Kevin for supporting my untested ideas, handing me part of the company, cleaning up my continual messes, and taking care of so many unglamorous yet vital aspects of the business. I am excited about what the future holds for our company. One of the untested ideas that Kevin allowed me to run with was launching Obtiva’s Software Studio and bringing on apprentices who we could nurture into senior developers. Since starting the Studio in April 2007 we have brought on six apprentices, and I need to express my sincere thankfulness to our first three apprentices, Brian Tatnall, Joseph Leddy, and Nate Jackson, who bore the brunt of my many shortcomings and inexperience. The trial and error that these guys endured has helped us gradually improve the apprenticeships of our most recent three apprentices, Colin Harris, Leah Welty-Rieger, and Turner King. Thanks to all six of you for your dedication, enthusiasm, and desire to learn and grow in often less-than-ideal circumstances.
Mary Treseler is the person responsible for encouraging us to publish this project. From the first time she read our initial patterns in 2005, she found that they resonated with her, despite the fact that she was not a programmer herself. Thank you, Mary, for hearing our intent despite our inexperience as writers, and for sticking with us patiently through the years.
I was blessed with growing up in a very stable family. Although we moved around a lot, my mom and dad were steadfast in their examples as parents, spouses, and Christians. Having them as role models has made my transition into adulthood, marriage, and parenthood relatively painless. Marcia Hoover and Rick Hoover were a constant source of encouragement for me as a writer, from a very early age. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for nurturing my writing instincts.
Although I didn’t start programming until I was 26, I didn’t waste any time starting a family: my daughter was born when I was 24, just a few months before finishing graduate school. While starting a family under those circumstances is incredibly challenging, one of the things that my children gave me as a father was a laser focus on my responsibilities. There hasn’t been a day since Rose’s birth in 1999 when I could afford to be unemployed, and that is incredibly motivating for someone starting a new career. As my children have grown from babies to elementary-age kids, I have been inspired by watching them overcome obstacles in their own learning processes. This has reminded me to continue my own lifelong learning and to pursue knowledge as tenaciously as they do. Rose, Ricky, and Charlie, thank you for loving me unconditionally and for putting up with your fourth sibling, Daddy’s laptop. You should be seeing a bit less of it in the future now that this book is finished.
My wife, Staci, married the captain of a college football team. Eleven years later, she is married to a guy in thick-rimmed, black glasses who loves to learn about programming languages and starts new programming user groups in his spare time. Those people are both me, and Staci has been there every step of the way, watching me get in touch with my inner geek. She’s put up with my off-the-deep-end excursions into an endless number of books, blogs, open source projects, writing projects, and employers. No one knows me better than Staci, and no one keeps me grounded better than she does. Thank you, Staci Sampson Hoover, for keeping me focused on the things that really matter. I’ll love you forever.
Finally, I need to thank my Lord Jesus Christ for loving me unconditionally and lifting me up after every one of my many falls. I hope that my work on this book can in some way glorify you.