This week, I published Bryan Beecham's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:
- Bryan's story started with a Commodore computer at the back of the classroom and the BASIC language. AS he puts it, "it was like magic." He was so hooked that in grade 8, he made a presentation in front of the board of education on the importance of computers for the future of education and "why the school needed more computers", and "how they were improving hand-eye coordination". Like many before him, type-in programs played a big role in his learning.
- Bryan has been juggling with many languages, each time trying to build a new skillset. First BASIC, then VB, then C# with ASP, then Python. When I asked why Python, he responded "I like Python because of the explicitness of it; it's C# on easy mode." Bryan really likes to look at the business problem that has to be solved and find the right tool for the job.
- Bryan has reached a very agreeable place of being able to say "no" to clients. It was a long road, paved with him organizing his work well. He juggled between work for his clients, work for/on himself, and networking/communities. Bryan then talked about organizing himself and especially losing what takes his time and doesn't bring joy and/or value.
- Bryan talked for a while about behavioral skills (instead of soft skills) being at least equally as important as technical skills, for we have to interact with each other and not be jerks.
- When Bryan first heard the term "Agile", he looked it up and realized that it was "how they had been working all along at his previous company." I love to hear those stories. Scrum and Agile didn't come out of anywhere. They were born as a crystallization of the best practices of that time.
- Bryan changes his coaching stance depending on the team dynamics, the daily mood, and other factors. He can go from the sidelines and stand back all the way to player coaching, right at the keyboard. A lot of it has to do with "sensing the room."
- Bryan gave us one of the most forming tips he ever received: "I used to believe the goal was for me to coach a team to the potential that I saw, but instead, the goal is to bring them where they want to go. It's not about me!" We then devised how managers should show "what" they want and empower the teams to do it fully. "When you do it well, it's all about the team being able to make the decisions."
- Bryan finally spoke about coaching. He said "Everyone should have a coach, if you want to grow, you need a coach [...] you have to surround yourself with brilliant people." When I asked him why people don't get one, his response was instant: "ego!, they will have to say 'I don't know' a lot that is not weakness, that is strength. [...] it takes a lot of courage to approach things with a beginner's mind. If you approach things with the idea of not knowing anything, you are going to maximize your learnings"
- "Get a coach"
- "Don't hang around with negative people. Surround yourself with people lifting you, and you will be amazed at what you are capable of."
- "I like Python because of the explicitness of it; it's C# on easy mode."
- "I forced myself to no use any additional libraries because I wanted to learn it the hard way"
- "You have to be willing to put yourself out there, to say I don't know but I want to learn"
- "Caring about the people is more important than caring about the project. If you care about the people, the project will take care of itself"
- "I used to believe the goal was for me to coach a team to the potential that I saw, but instead, the goal is to bring them where they want to go. It's not about me!"
- "Everyone should have a coach; if you want to grow, you need a coach"
- "Your community is critical [...] you have to surround yourself with brilliant people"
- "It takes a lot of courage to approach things with a beginner's mind. If you approach things with the idea of not knowing anything, you are going to maximize your learnings."
Thanks, Bryan, for sharing your story with us!
You can find the full episode and the show notes on devjourney.info.
Did you listen to his story?
- What did you learn?
- What are your personal takeaways?
- What did you find particularly interesting?