Calm Abiding LLC

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About Stephen Starkey, ICP-ACC


I began my more-than-20-year career in programming, moved towards leadership, dabbled in management, and found my sweet spot as player-coach. I am just as happy swimming in the waters of coders (I keep my coding skills sharp) as with software development management folk.


Enabling high performing software development organizations

My favorite thing to do is to join an organization, for however long it takes, help it become super high-performing, and move on to another one. I enjoy the gratification of seeing people's inspiration grow and, from that powerful energy, their creativity and productivity.

It's amazing what can happen when people discover the power of good, strong relationships amongst colleagues.

Favorite tools

Not an exhaustive list

Core Protocols · Sociocracy 3.0 · eXtreme Programming · Scrum


IntelliJ IDEA · git

Languages / Libraries / Frameworks

Clojure · Mount (still learning) · Java · Guice · Flutter (still learning)

Latest Reflections

20-day Agility Challenge

2021-04-21 - Day 2

We're going deep into The Agile Manifesto today! Most folks zoom in on the value pairs, for sure, and when I was first working with Agile, so did I. Of course, it's just as easy to overemphasize the rest of it -- "We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it." for example, or the part that says we should value the stuff on the left and the right, but put more emphasis on the stuff on the left.

Of course, it is left as an exercise to the reader to decide how much more. Which goes right back to the beginning -- you can't know what to emphasize without doing it and helping others do it.

Another interesting thing to think about is that the four values are still quite powerful all by themselves. People think they have something new and better to offer, but they don't really understand that the Manifesto was never really meant to be an end. It was a bookmark in a moment in history. While the framers discovered something amazing, they also built on the shoulders of giants.

So, for example, in my life I'm focusing less on coding and more on my mental state. How can I maintain flow? How can I minimize social threat? Maximize social reward? Optimize my teamwork capabilities? Get fast feedback from my customers? So, NeuroLeadership, meditation, Core Protocols, Lean Startup, etc. are heavily influencing my practice these days. None of that is in the Manifesto, but I still think the whole mentality is captured in the "We are uncovering..." statement.

At the end of the day, it's all about improving the craft and helping others grow, too. And not clinging too strongly onto anything I might have believed about what works or not.

Full Reflection