Geeks With Blogs
Liam McLennan

IMG_3878 Thursday morning the Illinois public transport system came through for me again. I took the Metra train north from Union Station (which was seething with inbound commuters) to Prairie Crossing (Libertyville). At Prairie Crossing I met Paul and Justin from 8th Light and then Justin drove us to the office. The 8th Light office is in an small business park, in a semi-rural area, surrounded by ponds. Upstairs there are two spacious, open areas for developers.

IMG_3880 At one end of the floor is Doug Bradbury’s walk-and-code station; a treadmill with a desk and computer so that a developer can get exercise at work. At the other end of the floor is a hammock. This irregular office furniture is indicative of the 8th Light philosophy, to pursue excellence without being limited by conventional wisdom.

IMG_3874 8th Light have a wall covered in posters, each illustrating one person’s software craftsmanship journey. The posters are a fascinating visualisation of the similarities and differences between each of our progressions. The first thing I did Thursday morning was to create my own poster and add it to the wall.

Over two days at 8th Light I did some pairing with the 8th Lighters and we shared thoughts on software development. I am not accustomed to such a progressive and enlightened environment and I found the experience inspirational. At 8th Light TDD, clean code, pairing and kaizen are deeply ingrained in the culture.

Friday, during lunch, 8th Light hosted a ‘lunch and learn’ event. Paul Pagel lead us through a coding exercise using micro-pomodori. We worked in pairs, focusing on the pedagogy of pair programming and TDD.

After lunch I recorded this interview with Paul Pagel and Justin Martin. We discussed 8th light, craftsmanship, apprenticeships and the limelight framework.

Interview with Paul Pagel and Justin Martin

IMG_3882My time at Didit, Obtiva and 8th Light has convinced me that I need to give up some of my independence and go back to working in a team. Craftsmen advance their skills by learning from each other, and I can’t do that working at home by myself. The challenge is finding the right team, and becoming a part of it.

Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 5:14 PM | Back to top

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