An Amazing Software Architect Is Coming To Romania

One year ago, I had the chance to be invited to speak at the second edition of Agile Portugal. I had no idea back then, but my view on software architecture was about to change for good.

It was a sunny summer in Porto. Our most welcoming hosts, Ademar Aguiar and Filipe Correia, took us from the airport and made sure we get an early taste of wonderful Porto food and wine. The only thing that was missing to make it perfect was great conversation and friends. This was about to change. Before I left Porto, I had a good share of good conversations, and I made some new friends. This is the story of one of them.

The first time I saw Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, she was discussing some updates from the Portland patterns group. I had no idea who she was and what the group was about. We discussed a bit. I learned that she was training for a marathon. Very interesting, I thought, but not my type of challenge.

Fortunately, I decided to crash into her workshop, co-trained with Joe Yoder, on a metaprogramming pattern. That day was filled with conversations about good code, good design, how and what flexibility is required in a design and a wealth of real-life examples. I loved the down-to-earth approach of the workshop. Knowing other examples that were a good fit for the pattern, I took my chance to jump into the conversation. And I did it – a lot. At the middle of the workshop, I was worried that I was overdoing it. To my surprise, Rebecca was not annoyed by my constant additions; the contrary: she enjoyed the conversations. Until today, the three of us remember that day as a wonderful panel where we exchanged ideas and forced our minds to expand a bit.

The conference passed. I finally had the time to learn more about Rebecca, the Portland Patterns community and the PLoP communities. I learned that Rebecca started the “DD” techniques with “Responsibility Driven Design”. I learned she wrote some amazing books on OOD, influenced ideas like use cases and UML stereotypes and had a lot of recorded talks available online, mostly on InfoQ. The community she participates in includes Ward Cunningham and Kent Beck. She is recognized as a leader by Robert C. Martin, who she co-trained with. By my estimations, she has more than 30 years of experience with software architecture.

My admiration for her doubled. I realized I stood near an amazing professional, practitioner and teacher, respected by many people from the software development community whose opinions I hold to high esteem. I understood how much I learned from the brief but intense interaction with her.

But she never showed that she expects to be treated as a star. She is a curios learner, working to continuously surpass her limits and open to any learning opportunity. Consider this: how many trainers would allow an uninvited guest to interrupt their training, no matter how interesting they are? How many architects are willing to challenge their principles and assumptions? How many software developers train as hard as for a marathon?

Rebecca is a wealth of knowledge, skill and experience. Any company in this world can trust her thinking when it comes to architecture. But she is also modest, funny and thoughtful.

And I convinced her to come to Romania, but I need your help to make it happen.

After the conference, I asked her to do an “Agile Architecture” class in Romania. I believe the Romanian community deserves to learn from someone like her. I just hope you will prove me right, by joining her amazing course.

Yes, the course is organized by the company I work for. But if Mozaic Works hadn’t existed, I would still have said the same things. The only reason I do the community work, my workshops and mentoring is because I believe in helping developers use their brainpower in more fulfilling ways. Rebecca helped me and many others a lot. It’s only fair to think she can help you as well. Mozaic is just the vehicle to make it happen.

PS: I just found out that Rebecca ran the marathon last week. I’m eager to find out how it was.

  • I was there at the conference and it really was a great experience to share ideas and learn from people like Rebecca, Joe Yoder and you, Alex. I hope that the community there in Romania can also enjoy her course.

    • alexboly

      Thank you, Nelson, for the kind words. People like Rebecca and Joe are more experienced than me, but I do my best to bring ideas on the table. It’s always good to know when it works.

      The course passed already, but it was very interesting. We hope Rebecca will come back, and maybe Joe as well :).

      If I may ask, what did you take from the conference? Did you apply anything? (You can write me by email at alexboly[at] if you don’t want to post it public.)

      • From de AgilePT 2011 conference I’ve took a lot of great learnings. I still carry with me some notes I’ve took from the presentations.

        Starting by Rebecca’s presentation, she pointed out how to do architecture in an agile world, something that sometimes seems kind of contraditory. As she said, it’s not. She proposed that people should have a separeted architecture backlog where stuff like prototyping, design spikes, architecure development, investigation and exploration should be. This is one thing that I apply, but mainly for the big projects, where architecture plays a bigger role. One of the things I’ve enjoyed from her presentation was a bit where she talked that whenever in a project we found something difficult to work with, confusing or just boring, we should make it easier, more pleasant and fun, either creating tools to help us work around those things, or changing architecure or design. That made a lot of sense to me.

        I’ve also enjoyed a presentation from you and Joe Yoder, on agile processes, where you’ve talked a lot on adapting the process to what works best for your team and constantly learn from it.

        Another great presentation was by Mitch Lacey, that gave us kind of a workshop on how to manage huge product backlogs.

        The sharing of experiences from these people who have much more experience than myself is very valuable.