Manuele Piastra

nominato in Who is Agile in Italy da:

Paolo Sammicheli

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

Manuele – I guess that my sexual orientation is something that really shaped who I am. It has influenced my beliefs, the way I think, how I interact with people and my life choices. Even the decision to move to London in August 2014 with my partner was partially influenced by this. I guess somehow it also made my life more difficult, at the same time it forced me to accept everyone for what they are, without any bias or prejudice. It shaped me to appreciate diversity instead of being scared, diversity can bring a lot of richness to your life, your work, the world we live in.

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

Manuele – When I decided to attend Software Engineering at the University of Pisa I really didn’t know much about myself (still discovering 🙂 ) and I was fascinated by Psychology and Maths. Today I might have been a Psychologist, a Teacher, a Mathematician. It strikes me that Psychology is involved in understanding team dynamics and the human/machine interaction (UX), Alan Turing was a mathematician and a lot of training is involved in the Software Industry, so I guess these passions were not so unrelated as they seemed to be back then.

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

Manuele – My biggest challenge is ever changing. A big and recent one was to move to London, changing everything about my life: my work, my relationships, the place I live, the language I use. Luckily I’ve always liked tea better than coffee :-). The good thing about facing challenges is that it is a learning process: every new challenge is different and makes you a stronger and wiser man than you were before.

What drives you?

Manuele – Curiosity and a push to making things better. When I was a full time developer I was always trying to find better ways to write code, now I try to find better ways to improve myself, trying to apply every day what I preach, my team, supporting and highlighting new ways of working together, and finally my company and other companies, by helping with organizational change. I think that the alienation between life and work today is a concern in many organizations, I am motivated by learning and trying new ways to help people to be “living” when they are at work too. I am a strongly believer that productive work should be fun: if you’re not having fun at work there’s something wrong. I believe there’s no such thing like “Life/work balance”, work IS also life, let’s try to make it worth our time.

What is your biggest achievement?

Manuele – Being able to say every day of my life that my biggest achievement is yet to come 🙂

What is the last book you have read?

Manuele – “Reinventing organizations” by Frederic Laloux. It helped me to understand the different types of culture in the organizations and their implications. The next one will be: “Below Expectations: Why performance appraisals fail in the modern working world and what to do instead” by Armin Trost. This book was suggested to me by Fabiola Eyholzer, looking forward to it. I always have a leisure book in parallel (I know, bad practice), I just finished reading “A Charming Mass Suicide” by Arto Paasilinna, a fun and philosophical book on the meaning of life.

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

Manuele – I wouldn’t know what you should also ask, that really depends on you :-). What I would ask myself would be: is Agile the answer to a better workplace, to reduce the waste, to leverage people passion and skills, to make the workplace a fun, non violent, productive, collaborative place? And my answer is a definite “yes” some days, and a “yes, but…” some others. It’s the “yes, but…” days that drive me to push so hard to learn and practice more. My advice to everyone and myself is: don’t settle for a job that doesn’t make you happy; always look for more, always go your own way. Also I would like to thank all the Italian Agilists, together they make an awesome community that has inspired me along the way.

Who do you think I should ask next?

Manuele – I would like to hear from Pierluigi Pugliese and Andrea Provaglio, I guess you have their emails :-).

Pierluigi Pugliese_small_cv_photo

Pierluigi Pugliese