I wrote my first commercial software in 1991 with Turbo Pascal. This was a book-keeping application for a housing association. The product was ready in 2 months. I did a demo to the PO every Monday (I coded mostly during the weekends while I was studying). In current money, I earned about 300 Euros for this, and gave the maintenance for free. Well, I wasn't a good salesman at that time :)
After that, I played with AWK, Fortran and C in the university and in my part-time job in a library. I fell in love with C and wrote some desktop apps and tools with C.
My first full-time job started 1995 at Teamware. We developed a “collaborative application suite” called Teamware Office (e-mail, calendar, etc) with C and C++. I worked on the IMAP stack. We even won the best office collaboration software award in the Byte Magazine around 1996. Everyone in the company worked in the same building and floor, except for one small development team in England. In Helsinki we had 3 real development teams in addition to the dev team in London. We had a daily builds, prioritised list of features, PO, and bi-weekly releases, but didn’t have coaches, daily standups or retros. The company was sold to Fujitsu in 2011. The Teamware software seems to be still alive and in use in, although it's 20 years old! I'm pretty proud of this.
After that, in 1996, I started developing the legendary DX200 with C, PL/M, Assembler and TNSDL at Nokia Telecommunications. Note that Nokia Telecommunications (now Nokia Networks) is a Telecom infrastructure company, while Nokia is known from the mobile phones. These 2 different companies didn't have anything else in common than that they belonged to the same Nokia Group. The development style at Nokia Telecommunications was very old-fashioned, slow and sucked in many other ways. The tools and environments were just horrible - mainly VAX/VMS, proprietary HW, OS, tools, etc such as DMX, SPM, Pronto, LinSee, DMXSee, ChorusOS. So this was a huge step backwards technologically and methodwise from Teamware. During this engagement, I also got my first contact with CMM accessors, Quality managers, process documentation, etc, when Nokia wanted to step from CMM level 2 to 3. I recall the biggest result from that was that the amount of processes, single-specialists, documents and waste increased significantly. So I know what it is to work in a real waterfall environment!
In the beginning of 2000 I went to a startup called SmartTrust to develop technology for wireless Public Key Infrastructure in GSM networks and phones. We used mainly C and C++. The company merged quickly with 2 Swedish startups, and was sold a couple of years after to Carlyle.
Between 2002-2004 I worked for Zed developing mobile phone and internet entertainment, film animation and video game production as well as content delivery and billing technology for operators, so that they could sell ringtones, wallpapers and other content for mobile phone users at that time. This was the golden era of SMS and WAP. They had chosen Java, which was disgusting to me, and at this time I stopped programming production code. I worked on test automation tools while working with the R&D management and business people. In Zed we also first tried Scrum and XP in 2001. The work - or actually the business people - at Zed were really “dynamic”. We had around 20 big telco operators around the world (from US, UK, Holland, Italy, Germany to Philippines) as our customers, and the business people & senior mgmt couldn’t just manage the chaos and complexity. The priorities changed many times during the week, and the R&D was feeling sick. I recall searching the web (using Altavista) for “software development in chaotic environment”, and the first result was controlchaos.com. We tried to seek for Scrum and Agile coaches, but couldn’t find a single one in Europe, so we started with just based on Ken’s ideas and writings. However, we got many benefits from Scrum, the biggest being clarity on priorities and focus. Then, at 2004, a Spanish company called LaNetro bought whole Zed, the R&D centre in Finland was shut down, and I went back to Nokia Networks.
After Zed, at 2004 I went to Nokia Networks to help with Agile and Lean development. Here I first met with Bas and Craig. We also worked occasionally with Ken Schwaber, Michael Feathers, Diana Larsen, Esther Derby, Rachel Davies, Jutta Eckstein, (big) Dave Thomas, Ralph Stacey, Dave Snowden, Mike Cohn, Roman Pichler and many other consultants. Craig was however the lead consultant working there full-time, while the others mainly did workshops and trainings. In the beginning, I worked in the Nokia Network OSS systems, but quickly moved to the legendary "Flexible Company" team where Bas and Craig was already. This was located within centralized organization of Nokia Networks, so we served all different product lines. At this time, I also started to go to Agile, XP and Scrum conferences regularly. So often, that I stopped going to Agile conferences at 2008.
At Nokia I also got to know Reaktor, and hired their consultants. I had Lasse Koskela from Reaktor developing the very first release of Robot Framework, that I started in 2005 together with Pekka Klärck and Juha Rantanen. Later I also hired Jukka Lindström and other coaches from Reaktor, to help us with Agile software development.
I quit Nokia Networks when it merged with Siemens AG. I started my own company "LeanTek" at 2007 to do Lean and Agile consulting. Soon after, Reaktor founders approached me, and I decided to move there in the beginning of 2008. At Reaktor, I started the coaching and training business while still consulting Nokia Networks, and some other big companies mainly in Finland. I didn't have the time and patience to become a Scrum Trainer though, but we had 3 great trainers (Lasse, Jukka, and Arto Eskelinen) who worked with Bas, Nigel Baker and Geoff Watts to become a Certified Scrum Trainer. One of my best engagements at Reaktor was Ericsson, where I worked with the M-MGW's leadership team. We had 5 coaches from Reaktor there in different parts of the organization, altogether for 1,5 years, and were able to do a quite successful LeSS experiment.
Looking forward to make LeSS a huge success and meeting you soon!