I'm 44, living with my wife and 2 sons (aged 15 and 19) in Helsinki, working for a great Finnish company called Reaktor for 7 years now (http://reaktor.com).
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 (teamware.com). We developed a “collaborative application suite” called Teamware (mail, calendar, etc) with C and C++. I worked on the IMAP stack. We even won the best e-mail software award in the Byte Magazine around 1996. The software is still alive! We had a prioritised list of features, PO, and 2 week iterations at Teamware, but didn’t have dailies, retros or any other standard events.
After that, in 1996, I started developing the legendary DX200 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_DX_200) with C, PL/M, Assembler and TNSDL at Nokia Telecommunications. The development style was very old-fashioned, slow and sucked in many other ways. The tools and environments were just horrible - mainly VAX/VMS. So this was a huge step backwards technologically and methodwise from Teamware. During this engagement, I also got my first contact with CMM accessors, when Nokia got 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 security 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 2001-2004 I worked for Zed (“Sonera Zed”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zed_%28company%29) developing content delivery and billing technology for operators, so that they could sell ringtones, wallpapers and other content to mobile phone users. 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 manage them at all. 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 coaches, but couldn’t find a single one in Europe, so we started with just based Ken’s texts. 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.
At 2004 I was hired to Nokia Networks to help with Agile and Lean adoption. 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 "Agile consultants". Craig was however the "lead consultant", while the others mainly did workshops and trainings. In the beginning, I coached in the Network Mgmt systems side, but quickly moved to the legendary "Flexible Company" team where Bas and Craig was already. This was located in the centralized organization, so we served all different product lines in Nokia Networks. 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 working in the Robot Framework team, that I started in 2005 together with Pekka Klärck and Juha Rantanen. Later I also hired Jukka Lindström and other great people 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 NSN and some other big companies mainly in Finland. I didn't have the time and patience to become a CST though, but we had 3 great trainers (Lasse, Jukka, and Arto Eskelinen) who worked with Bas, Nigel Baker and Geoff Watts to become CSTs. One of the best gigs so far has been Ericsson, where I worked with the M-MGW's leadership team. We had 5 coaches there in different parts of the organization, altogether for 1,5 years, and were able to do a quite successful LeSS adoption: http://less.works/case-studies/ericson.html
Looking forward to make LeSS a huge success and meeting you soon!