5 Easy Questions for Grady Booch

On this blog I have published interviews with Steve McConnell, Johanna Rothman, Alistair Cockburn, Robert L. Glass, Scott Berkun and Mary Poppendieck. Everytime I ask the same five questions, and everytime I am pleasantly surprised by the answers I get.

Grady Booch is the author of Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with Applications and The Unified Modeling Language User Guide, listed at #33 and #56 respectively on the Top 100 Best Software Engineering Books, Ever. Grady Booch is a software designer, and a software methodologist. He is a Chief Scientist, Software Engineering at IBM Research, and he is best known for developing the Unified Modeling Language with Ivar Jacobson and James Rumbaugh. Grady Booch has his own blog at http://www.booch.com/architecture/blog.jsp.

These are the five questions I asked Grady, and the answers that he gave me…

1. What has been the toughest challenge in your past?

From a personal perspective, it was the recovery from my open heart surgery in 2006. As I'd blogged, I was diagnosed with a genetic defect of my aorta in 2004 – the same defect that killed every male in my lineage – and so I took a preemptive strike against that which would surely kill me. The physical recovery was relatively straightforward; the emotional and spiritual recovery continues.

From a professional perspective, I'd say it was the formation of the Unified Modeling Language. Working with Jim and Ivar was simultaneously rewarding and challenging; bringing that work to an OMG standard, whereby we formed a consortium of virtually every major player in the software business, required every amount of my technical, political, and interpersonal skills. In the end, I grew a tremendous amount.

2. What is the main source of inspiration for what you do?

It is a privilege to be a software developer; it is also a responsibility. Our industry has collectively changed the world, and it's both humbling and exhilarating to be a part of it. To that end, I'm most inspired by our industry's impact upon the human experience.

I do have my heros: Grace Murray Hopper, Marvin Minsky, Fred Brooks, Randy Pausch, Nelson Mandela, Carl Sagan.

3. What activity should be on every manager's daily list?

Have fun. Listen to the people around you. Remember (in the words of Paul Thoreaux) that nothing is perfect, nothing is complete, nothing lasts.

4. What can we learn from you in the near future?

I continue my work on creating a handbook of software architecture, a project that I hope to finish before I die.

5. What is more interesting than software development?

People. Were I not a software geek, I'd probably have been an itinerant musician. Or a priest. Or both.

Well, these are the answers given by Grady Booch. I hope you liked them!

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