Interview with the Hanser publishing house 

 15 June 2015

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Hanser-Verlag interviewed me about my motivation and about topics that are important to me. The interview originally appeared on the Hanser Update blog.

This interview is all about Richard Seidl, expert in software testing and co-author of the book "Agile Testing. The Agile Path to Quality"! You already know him through his articles "Tester vs. Technical Debt", the interview on the "Agile Testing Days" and most recently through the 5 Questions - 5 Answers on Software Testing. This time you can look forward to a very personal contribution from and with him.

What motivates you to write a book?
My motivation for my books and texts lies in sharing knowledge. Every day I experience the successes, synergies and developments that come about when knowledge is shared with others. I notice this in development teams, companies and also socially. And since I consume a lot of knowledge, it is only logical for me to pass on my knowledge. Another driving force for me is the focused examination of a topic. To look at it from different angles and to question it; to exchange ideas with others and to discuss opinions about it - that always brings me further in terms of content.

Why is this topic close to your heart?
My last book was about testing in an agile environment. For me, the ideas behind agile are an essential step towards a reorganization that we will not be able to avoid in many areas of life. Why? Because we live in exciting times! The world around us is changing faster and faster - more than we sometimes like; technologies are evolving rapidly. The crux is that in most areas, this evolution is more exponential than linear. This stretches our imagination and so we project the last 10 years onto the next 10 and that calms us down a bit. The point is, we have no clue what to expect in 10 years - be it in the professional world, socially, environmentally, or anywhere else. But it looks like change and unexpected impact will be on the rise. I find this exciting and ask myself how to deal with it. Shock rigidity or resignation would be unfortunate companions for me. And this is where the agile mindset comes in. Being open to change, a collaborative mindset, being flexible and able to react quickly - these are all strategies that I currently consider useful for the future. So for me, agility is primarily a mindset thing. If the mindset and inner attitude are not there, I find it hard to achieve success even with agile methods and good practices. (In my opinion, this is also a reason for many failed projects - no one really wants to do it, but because the process dictates it, you put 15 minutes together every day).

But the exciting thing is: If I adopt this attitude, I can apply the agile methods in all areas of life and thus become more flexible, resilient and relaxed - whether in family life, hobbies or life design. Changes in my environment stress me less and may even be the seed for something new.
Agility is currently an important part of my toolbox, helping me in many contexts. But that is also changing and I don't believe in glorifying agile methods - whether in software projects or in daily life. They are an important step, but there is more to come. Whether we'll still be calling them that in a few years, or pursuing other concepts? Who knows.

In sum, this is what is close to my heart: To let people, teams and companies experience this mindset and to inspire them to develop further. Agility is a good approach to this.

What is your typical workflow on your manuscript?
I prefer to work in nature. This is where I get into a writing flow the fastest, to create paragraphs from the initial outline, and chapters from the paragraphs. I write exclusively in electronic form; I use paper for outlining and mind maps. Both on the computer and at my desk, focus is extremely important to me while writing. Mail, phone, etc off and preferably a text only editor - I use Ulysses for this. I usually write 1/2 to 1 1/2 hours at a time, then enough is enough again and break.

What did you enjoy most about the writing process of the last book project and what would you do differently next time?
For me, the best moment in the writing process is when I get into the flow and can just write my thoughts down without interruption. And that's also what I'd like to improve in the future: I sometimes get caught up in the writing flow by spelling mistakes, etc. and then start looking things up - which really wouldn't be necessary at that point. Other than that, I currently feel comfortable in my writing process.

Are you already planning or writing a new book?
I am constantly collecting ideas, paragraphs and thoughts - from these, the idea for a new book is also currently forming.

So it remains exciting then, thanks for the insights and good luck with the book idea!

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