This morning I received notification that a friend had passed away. Many remember him as a shaker and a doer in the agile community. He was that, but he did it quietly. He made changes without a lot of fanfare. He told stories – many of them starting when he was doing his rock star thing.
I don’t remember the first time I met David Hussman, but I do remember the first time he impacted my way of thinking. Jean Tabaka (also sadly gone), gave a workshop at Agile 2008 on Zen, The Beginner’s mind. Mark Levison wrote an article about that workshop that does much better justice than I could if you want to know more, you can look it up here – https://www.infoq.com/news/2008/08/beginners_mind
I walked out of that workshop … changed. In 2008, I was just finishing our first book Agile Testing with Lisa Crispin, and I realized how easy it is to fall into the ‘expert trap’. I try very hard each and every day to look at life with a beginner’s mind. To be open, to listen, to be willing to change and adapt what I believe. I am not always successful. To a large part, I credit that way of thinking to what I’ve learned from watching and listening to David.
I co-facilitated a workshop with David once in 2014. I learned a lot about him during our preparation – he wasn’t as concerned as I was about being ready and having perfect slides. However, during the workshop itself, I learned a tremendous amount about facilitating, and about leading from behind. How to get people to open up and share their experiences, tell their stories…
Some people have a quiet impact, but one that resonates deep inside. David was one of those – at least for me, and I am guessing for many others. He believed in community. He spread his joy of life where ever he went, and whomever he was with. His life – to me, was a quiet but always a very powerful presence.
I think this world would be a better place if we emulated people like David. He left this world a better place.