Interview with Sven Peters

Sven is a software geek working as an Evangelist for Atlassian and this year's jPrime Conference speaker. We have talked to him about his visions on the domain.

How long have you been involved in professional Java development ? Can you tell us a little more about your current activities?

I've been writing my first Java code in 1998 for a university project and after that in my spare time. My first professional Java project happened 2001 with Java 1.3. After that time I did all kind of Java projects: From small Swing desktop applications to huge scalable Java Enterprise applications. At the moment I work less and less with code and care more about the people in software development: How to motivate developers, how to scale teams, how to automate the workflow and be more effective. Besides that I have some programming side projects to keep my hands dirty ;)

As a member of the Atlassian team how do you participate? How it is to work in a distributed team?

Yes, I work as a remote worker from Germany. My team is in Austin, San Francisco & Sydney. This requires sometimes to have meetings late in the evening or early in the morning but gives me on the other hand the opportunity to take some time off during the day. Of course we're using JIRA, Confluence and HipChat to work together effectively and keep everyone on track. We trust each other that we're trying our best to do a good job, so we have less checkin points on a daily bases. We work autonomous & transparent. Everyone can see what I'm working on and give me feedback - even when I sleep.

As a real guru at your domain what was the hardest challenge you have met?

Implementing a lean / agile way of development in a strong waterfall dominated environment. That was not an easy & fast task to do. It took me some time to convince the involved team members and the upper management. Even though I couldn't convince everyone by talking them through the advantages they got convinced by the results. But it has cost me some endless discussions, sleepless nights and probably some hair ;)

What is the main message you would like to bring to the JPrime conference audience?

We're spending a lot of time with thinking about code every day, but typically do not think much about company culture. However, the development of company culture is vitally important in order to build a successful project and run a high performing team and organization. Even if you can not change culture immediately it's worth strengthen an engineering culture that values code and customers at the same time as keeping everyone happy.

Do you have some other hobbies beside coding and hacking?

Besides spending time with my family I love to get out to run & bike. It clears my mind and helps me to refocus and get new ideas.

Thank you Sven! See you quite soon here in Sofia!