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Matteo Vaccari

What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

Matteo -“When I was about 18 I was singing and playing the organ in a punk rock band. I think that when we were at our top, we were not bad. I started learning about teamwork back then!”

If you would not have been in your current industry / role, what would have become of you?

Matteo -“When I was maybe six years old, I remember answering “what would you like to do when you grow up?” with “I would like to be a producer of typewriters”. At the time I did not know what a computer was; almost nobody in Italy did, as it was halfway between the paleozoic and the cenozoic. Yet it seems my subconscious knew that there would have been keyboards in my future :)”

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?

Matteo -“Getting over the convinction that I know how best to do things 🙂 A good leader must encourage people to find their own solutions. I still find it difficult to find the balance between providing knowledge about to do things, and letting people find their way.”

What drives you?

Matteo -“I’m curious to learn how teams can deliver valuablue software faster than the customer expects. More generally, I’m curious about how organizations can learn to continuously improve… or improve by continuous learning. It’s a challenge that is always different and very difficult. I see waste, I see duplication, I see opportunities to improve code and organizations. Yet the challenge is how to get others to improve their code and their organization. Two things that do *not* work are: doing it all by myself, and giving orders. Learning how to get people to arrive at those improvements is what drives me.”

What is your biggest achievement?

Matteo -“Professionally speaking, I think a good achievement was to learn just enough software design, to be able to achieve some of the above results at least once.”

What is the last book you have read?

Matteo -“The last non-work-related book I read that I liked was “Do you want total war?”. It’s about one of my neglected hobbies: wargaming. The last work-related book that changed my worldview was “The Toyota Kata.”

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?

Matteo -“”If Lean and Extreme Programming and Agile are so clearly good and above any other competing philosophies, why isn’t everyone achieving spectacular results by using them?” My answer is that first, I think the premise of the question is true: Lean, XP and Agile are really awesome and beat the crap out of most other ways of doing software development. The second part of the question is also true: *some* famous organization are achieving spectacular results, and *some* smaller, not-so-famous organizations are also achieving awesome things with Lean/XP/Agile. But the large majority of organizations are still plodding in the mud. My answers to the question are:
1. We haven’t yet discovered all there is to know. I still discover things I did not know every few years. My last two illuminations were The Toyota Kata a couple of years ago, and the value approach of Tom Gilb a few years before. I suspect, no, I am sure that there are more things I/we don’t know that will fundamentally change our perspectives.
2. Some things are known only by a few, or have been forgotten. For instance, almost nobody knows or understand much of software design today; a lot of design knowledge that was widely taught and discussed in the nineties has disappeared from view. And yet, software design is a key ingredient in achieving spectacular results writing software.
3. But the biggest thing, apart from the above points is that achieving great things is *uncomfortable*. It requires people to do uncomfortable things continuously. Example of uncomfortable: thinking and reflecting; doubting and reconsidering; trying things and failing; going out of your way to talk to someone to get an agreement; studying and learning the facts.
This is what I was talking about in my 2014 keynote to the Italian Agile Day. Most people don’t want to do uncomfortable things. However, I believe that once you win the inertia and start doing them, it feels good. It’s like getting up from the couch and doing some exercise: if I can get myself to win my lazyness, then it feels good and I want to keep doing it.”

Who do you think I should ask next? (please name two people)

Matteo -“Pierluigi Pugliese and Andrea Provaglio”

Pierluigi Pugliese_small_cv_photo

Pierluigi Pugliese