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Patterns and Practices - A Team of Thieves

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This was easily one of the most enjoyable interviews I've gotten to conduct since arriving at Channel 9.

I had been wanting to interview Peter Provost for some time, and finally got the chance a few days ago. He brought a friend of his along, Edward Jezierski, and we chatted about how the patterns and practices group at Microsoft was born, as well as how it operates.

Really, I went into this looking for a fun afternoon, interviewing an old friend, but as the interview progressed, I became more and more interested. The work they do is absolutely unique - the process sounds complicated from the outside, but they seemed to have little difficulty explaining how it all works.

At the end, we go for a brief tour of their offices, which is quite a bit more interesting than you'd think.

As for why I call them "A Team of Thieves" - just pay attention to how they started the group and turned it into a success through sheer force of will.

I've never heard another story like it. It's the kind of thing you'd expect to see in Dilbert.

There is some noise at points throughout the video, and I apologize for that, but we were recording in an office during normal work hours, and weren't sure how the execs would feel if we shut down the entire building to get some peace and quiet during the recording.

The information is worth it, though. These people have truly fascinating jobs...

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  • MassifMassif aim stupidly high, expect to fail often.
    OK, so we get to work in big open offices and collaborate a bit here in the UK. But no-one would let me write on the walls.

    The most productive environment I've worked in was when we were forced to use a single PC (because it was the only thing connected to the £100,000 odd machine.) Of course, having the project manager pacing up and down behind you trying to figure your problem can be motivating for other reasons than collaboration.
  • DonXMLDonXML DonXML
    Is it just me, or does Peter look like Kerry King from the band Slayer?  He is just missing the tattoos.
  • Enjoyed this very much and I agree Rory it is one of the your best interviews (although I've enjoyed most of them!).

    I was particularly interested to hear how a team of architects, coders, testers and product/program managers work closely together in such a continual way and the benefits that result.

    Really enjoyed this piece and it has convinced me that a more agile development approach can bring real benefits and productivity.

    Keep up the good work!

  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    DonXML wrote:
    Is it just me, or does Peter look like Kerry King from the band Slayer?  He is just missing the tattoos.


    Don!

    Don!

    Don!

    (That's all - just excited to see you here, dawgg Smiley ).
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    msivers wrote:
    Enjoyed this very much and I agree Rory it is one of the your best interviews (although I've enjoyed most of them!).


    Thanks Smiley

    They were especially good talkers, though. They had their act together, you know?

    msivers wrote:
    I was particularly interested to hear how a team of architects, coders, testers and product/program managers work closely together in such a continual way and the benefits that result.


    Same - but I didn't realize it until the interview really got going. Like I said, I just wanted to hang out with Peter, but then I found out that his job is, like, freakishly interesting, and now I want to go back. Both to do a video showing their work in action, and also to interview CHRIS TAVARES (yeah, Chris - I've got my peepers on you) about Enterprise Library.

    msivers wrote:
    Really enjoyed this piece and it has convinced me that a more agile development approach can bring real benefits and productivity.


    My feelings are pretty much the same. Even though I was on the other side of the camera, my reaction is about the same as yours. I had never seen real world benefits of agile development, and I was really impressed with what I saw.

    msivers wrote:
    Keep up the good work!


    I have to, or else they'll fire me.

    Thanks, though Smiley
  • iknovateiknovate Rotkä​pchen

    At position 10:54 Edward says "we call it the...hack". What exactly did he say?Embarassed

  • iknovateiknovate Rotkä​pchen
    Rory, you mentioned a 'lack of ego'. Language is interesting. I just got done with a rather extensive email to a colleague who has problems with the word 'judgement' when instead he has a problem with the term 'negative judgement' (just as the word 'discrimination' has taken the place of 'negative discrimination' -- discrimination is simply a means of choice).

    These guys don't lack ego in the least. Indeed, the energy that is here is due to that ego. It is simply a 'sure ego' and not a 'feigned ego'. 'Feigned ego' is fueled by 'fake energy' -- it cannot be sustained without a lot of effort. The natural energy of this conversation is effortless.

    I only elaborate this because this is a critical axiom of relevant design -- follow the natural energy, it requires less effort.

    [BTW...the group hug at the end is classic!]
    I've immortalized the interview in text.

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