Rediscovering the Obvious

…stumbling in the footsteps of greatness

A Community of Thinkers

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I am a member of a community of thinkers.

I believe that communities exist as homes for professionals to learn, teach, and reflect on their work.

I challenge each community in the software industry to:

  • reflect and honor the practitioners who make its existence possible;
  • provide an excellent experience for its members;
  • support the excellent experience its members provide for their clients and colleagues in all aspects of their professional interactions;
  • exemplify, as a body, the professional and humane behavior of its members;
  • engage and collaborate within and across communities through respectful exploration of diverse and divergent insights;
  • embrace newcomers to the community openly and to celebrate ongoing journeys; and
  • thrive on the sustained health of the community and its members through continual reflection and improvement.

I believe that leaders in each community have a responsibility to exhibit these behaviors, and that people who exhibit these behaviors will become leaders.

I am a member of a community of thinkers. If I should happen to be a catalyst more than others, I consider that a tribute to those who have inspired me.

Creative Commons License
”A community of thinkers” by Liz Keogh, Jean Tabaka and Eric Willeke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.


This work is the output of a phenomenal session I was honored to join at the Rally offices on Friday, 4 December, 2009. Upon discovering that Liz Keogh was going to be in town, Jean Tabaka quickly and brilliantly offered space at Rally for the three of us to work together for a day. We went in with no expectations about what we would do other than a desire to offer something to the community at the completion of our day.

The day was simply amazing. Following exuberant welcomes from many wonderful people who work at Rally, including the CEO, we spent the morning allowing ourselves to diverge wildly across a huge number of topics. This brainstorming time was joined by Ryan Martens (CTO & Founder of Rally) for a couple hours of broader, industry-level discussion aided by Ryan’s broadly brilliant perspectives on software and sustainability. Throughout the afternoon we then focused on a message we would offer a community, considering a variety of different ways we may wish to influence the various organizations and communities around the agile and lean spaces. Realizing as a group that this didn’t feel right to us, we stepped back and examined the core themes that ran across the various outputs we’d created during the day and realized that one theme overwhelmed all others: community.

We realized the the common thread between Liz, Jean, and myself was that we all care very passionately and deeply about the communities of people that we meet in our travels and work. Organizations exist, in our minds, to serve those people and their interests. With this realization we very rapidly converged on the essence of our message and realized furthermore that it was to be a personal message from each of us stating our position and belief. That it aligned nicely between each of us is a wonderful thing, but was not the essence of our intent. Each of us contributed, and each of our contributions is clearly visible in the output, yet the final product is far more powerful than our individual contributions would have provided.

We have no desire for this to be a centralized rallying cry, complete with a web site and signatories. Instead, we offer this work to the communities around us. If you find it compelling, then we encourage you to take it and make it your own. Post it to your own blog, or wherever you feel appropriate. If you like the message and wish to make changes before you post it, please do so! We ask only that you respect the Creative Commons license and share any modifications you make under the same license. Please attribute the source from which you take your copy of this message and ask the same of your readers.

To all of the bloggers, conference speakers, authors, event attendees and pub-goers that make our communities alive and vibrant, thank you! In addition to the people that directly collaborated on this effort, I would like to add an extra thank you to Chris Matts for his ceaseless efforts to build communities and friendships across the world. He has inspired and catalyzed far more than we know.

Written by erwilleke

December 6th, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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