We humbly demonstrate our expertise by delivering quality software.
We do not inflate our abilities or claim expertise where we have none. —from the 8th Light Principles of Well-Crafted Software
This highlights our commitment to approach our work with humility. Yet, it is not enough to just be humble. Crafts are a meritocracy where the work speaks for itself. We must demonstrate the work to our clients to prove its worth.
Humility isn’t an innate quality for me. Humility came to me through my apprenticeship, where the learning process itself furthered the distance to mastery. Each new lesson created more questions. Each step of my apprenticeship I could have looked back on my previous self and see nothing but naiveté. Having humility allows me to be comfortable with what I don’t know. The mentor-apprentice relationship allowed me to practice transparency through the structured commitments and feedback. The apprenticeship also prepared me with a learning process to answer the unknowns.
At 8th Light, we require all our new applicants to go through an apprenticeship program before being hired as a software crafter. This doesn’t mean we hire only recent college graduates. Our team has crafters with 10, 20, and 30+ years of experience in software development.
At 8th Light, our time to shine is in the iteration meeting. We start each iteration with a demo of all the stories we completed in the prior iteration. We bring our own flavor to this demo by making it a performance. There are actors who have definitive roles in the meeting. There is the “demo master” who is standing next to the screen explaining everything that is happening. They are responsible for fielding all questions, so they must know the behavior inside and out. Then there is the “driver” who has the keyboard and mouse. They are pacing through the demo with the demo master explaining the features. They need to be responsible for knowing the feature well enough to respond to a customer question with an improvised path through the system. Like a well performed play, it is practiced before hand.
This is how we build trust with the client. When the client is thinking about the product and not the process, we have succeeded. We do not break the fourth wall, keeping the interactions based on the product. This means we don’t talk implementation while showing the features of the product. Then the stakeholder’s minds are free to innovate because trust has been established.
When we do this well, the product displays our skill. The partnership with our client is centered around adding value to the product. Amazing products can be built when skilled software crafters collaborate with innovative clients.