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Gordon Pask Award 2008 Winners

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The Gordon Pask Award is granted each year by the Agile Alliance to two persons for their contributions to the community of Agile practice. The award is not offered to established leaders in the Agile community but to potentially new leaders. This year, the award was granted to Kenji Hiranabe and Arlo Belshee, and Bob Payne was recognized for application of Agile practices for philanthropic ends. Leadership of the award program has changed hands, and community input is solicited to improve the program - or potentially end it.

Kenji is CEO of Change Vision, Inc., based in Japan. Kenji has translated the books "Lean Software Development," "XP Installed", "Agile Project Management", and many other XP/Agile books into Japanese, and is the creator of JUDE, a UML editor integrated with ERD, DFD and Mind Mapping, and TRICHORD, a Kanban system integrated with burndown charts and parking lots for Agile project management.

Arlo is currently a senior engineer for BlueTech LLC, recognized for bringing innovative ideas to the community. He is the author of the innovative paper "Promiscuous Pairing and Beginner's Mind: Embrace Inexperience", which he presented at a prior Agile conference, and last year he introduced "Naked Planning" in one of the Agile conference's Open Space sessions.

In his introduction, Joe Rainsberger, a former Gordon Pask Award recipient and member of the award committee, described the contribution of the award recipients as following:

Kenji Hiranabe is the face of agile in Japan. He has translated several important books to make them available to the Japanese audience. He has also done original work, applying mind mapping techniques to various activities we normally perform in agile software development. We chose Kenji to recognize his work, as well as to encourage the exchange of ideas with Japan. Kenji imports and exports ideas as well as people: he arranged for a delegation of a dozen people to come to Agile 2008.

Arlo Belshee has contributed significant ideas to agile practitioners. His groundbreaking paper "Promiscuous Pairing and Beginner's Mind: Embrace Inexperience" has on its own influenced the way many individuals and teams work day to day. Arlo exemplifies the leadership the agile community sorely needs: an experimenter at heart, he tries his ideas in real-life situations, then reports his results. He has the courage to run a business that holds many of these ideas at its center. In a field where many theorize, he applies. Arlo gives the agile practitioners more tools for their tool belts and we wanted both to recognize his past work and encourage further work. We need Arlo, to advance as a field.

On receiving the award, Kenji said:

I've worked very hard to import this idea [Agile] to Japan to make the life of engineers easier. I worked so hard on it that I almost got fired, or at least I had to change jobs!

Upon receiving the award, Arlo challenged the audience to bring and present to others their own inventions, no matter how small, next year at Agile2009.

The award committee additionally recognized Bob's Payne philanthropic activity within the Agile community and his Agile Toolkit Podcast which enables listeners to hear Agile leaders and practitioners on their MP3 players. The Alliance Board also announced its intention to support Payne's ongoing philanthropic effort through the establishment of the Agile Philanthropy program, to be directed by Payne via his Code Green Labs project. Payne is soliciting community input to help define the program.

Past winners of the Gordon Pask award are listed on the Agile Alliance site. All of them are "in the opinion of the Award Committee, people others in the field should emulate."

Joe Rainsberger and Laurent Bossavit  will co-administer the award from now on. Of taking on the new responsibility of administering the award, Joe told InfoQ:

I would like to personally thank Brian Marick for introducing the award in 2005 and entrusting its continuation with Laurent Bossavit and me.

To make the nomination process smoother, Joe is inviting people on his blog to answer to three questions and send them to him by email. The last question, interestingly is: "All things considered, would you rather we continue the program or abandon it?"

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