I went down the memory lane, to the time I first heard of a guy named Gerald M. Weinberg from the book "Are your Lights On?". Up until that point, I was a rabid "Solution Seeker", jumping at every opportunity to propose solutions to problems. After that book, I was changed. I realized that it is more important to actually solve the root problem than to propose solutions. I became a "Problem Solver", who started to treat the illness instead of treating the symptoms.
Anyone out there who feels that @jerryweinberg 's books and career had a material positive impact on their own career? (Yeah, rhetorical :-)-- Andrea Chiou (@andreachiou) February 26, 2013
And then, "Secrets of Consulting" happened.
Shortly after I bought the series that has brought more satisfaction and "stress" to my life than any other book: the "Quality Software Management" series. With them I started to understand how systems work (specially people systems), but most importantly I discover what congruency is, and what it is important to be congruent. It sank on me that we are all different, and why, and how understanding those differences make us better persons. It taught me to stop optimizing locally, and to look at the big picture for the long term benefit. It was my first look at the work of Virginia Satir.
"More Secrets of Consulting" gave me some useful tools to understand me, understand others and increase Self-esteem. Tools that I'm still learning how to use, a process I think will never end. Then "Psycology of a Computer Programmer" helped me understand why we are the way we are, and why it is difficult for other people to work with us. "Becoming a Technical Leader" gave me insights and advice on how to become one.
"Rethinking System Analysis and Design" taught me that most of the time, technology is neither the problem or the answer, and no "system" exist in isolation from the rest of the organization and their people, that there were good reasons at the time to do the things the way they did and that we technologist should not refuse to learn the "business" side of things.
"Weinberg on Writting: The Fieldstone method" changed both the way I write and the way I read. I joke sometimes that now I always see "stones" everywhere.
I discovered his fiction work and it appealed to the geek side of me. I really enjoyed them all, being the AREMAC Project, Freshman Murder and First Stringers my favorites.
The climax of my journey was the AYE conference of 2011 when I got to meet the man, among other authors that I deeply respect and admire (Johanna Rothman, Don Gray and Esther Derby). Words are not enough to describe the learning experience at that conference. I was a bit sad when I heard that AYE 2012 was the last one.
I revisit his book from time to time, discovering new things and rediscovering old things on each read. I talk about them all the time. The truth is that if you have know me for more than a year, chances are that I mentioned Jerry Weinberg to you at least once.
If I had to summarize the learnings in my journey with Jerry Weinberg, I just couldn't. At the very core of what Jerry have taught me all these years are things that I already knew. I was changed as a person anyway, not because I learned things like "to help others you must help yourself first" but because I learned tools (like the Rutabaga Rule, the concept of congruence, the mirror and telescope) that helped me help me, then learned tools to understand others, and tools to help them if they want. It has been a slow and long process, but somehow satisfying.
I'm sure the journey is far from over. I'm yet to read "Perfect Software" and "Experiential Learning", and he keeps producing knowledge in his blog and tweets.
I you want to start your own journey with Jerry, head to his site, browse his books and pick the one that appeals you most. I'm sure you won't regret it.