This semester I have the honour of being the godfather (“padrino de generación”) for the graduating class of the computing systems degree (Ingeniero en Sistemas Computacionales) at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara.
This is the 47th graduating class from the campus. I arrive on campus in August 1995 and was actually able to view the first graduation ceremony which was *much* smaller.
First I would like to thank the students for this honour. Every student, every class and every semester is distinct and special. Being given the honour to speak to the graduating class as godfather of their generation is something special that I treasure and take seriously. This will be my fifth such honour since arriving here at the Tec de Monterrey in Guadalajara in 1995.
Second I must thank and congratulate the parents, grandparents and loved ones of these students. Completing an undergraduate degree is an accomplishment to be admired but it comes at a cost (financially and emotionally) to all those that surround and support these students. You all deserve a big applause for that.
Next I would like to thank the professors and staff of the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara for their sacrifices. Educating is a noble profession. We do what we do not for the fame or the money but for a genuine love of working with our students to help fulfill their goals. Our role is not simply filling our students with knowledge and content. At times, we also fill the roles of guide, confidant, therapist and yes we become friends with many over the years during their studies and afterwards.
The importance of the arts should not be overlooked when pursuing science and engineering so I shall frame this talk around quotes from Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the famous French writer, poet and aviator as well as the work of Kent Beck a pioneer and personal mentor of mine in the area of software engineering.
Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Many of us revel and excel in analyzing complex systems and often take pride in building incredibly complex systems. Resist that pull to make things complex.
Kent Beck’s original book on Extreme Programming lists Simplicity as one of the four values of XP and it plays out in one of the twelve XP practices, that of Simple Design:
- Runs all the tests
- Has no duplicated logic. Be wary of hidden duplication like parallel class hierarchies
- States every intention important to the programmer
- Has the fewest possible classes and methods
True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I urge you to not wait until you are my age to value the role of happiness in your life. Our keynote speaker (José Arturo Zapata Guízar) on Wednesday reminded us that we should not serialize life. We must allow all facets to be constants every week, month and year. It makes no sense to work crazy hours in order to relax later in life. You will miss too much, it is not worth it.
Kent Beck urges us to remember this in our own practices but also in our roles in management. I will remind you that you will be leaders of others and it is your duty to lead them well. The XP practice of 40-hour work week tells us:
Work no more than 40 hours a week as a rule. Never work overtime a second week in a row.
For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow.Antoine de Saint-Exupery
You are privileged to have studied at this great institution and to have graduated. You are indeed part of a very small minority that have that distinction. As I mentioned earlier, many gave of themselves (time, money and other sacrifices) for you to have this. It is your role to give back and not just to them but society. The culture of gifting is powerful. I would invite you to read “The Gift: Creativity and The Artist in the Modern World” by Lewis Hyde. If you cannot afford to buy it, ask and I will gift one to you.
One of my passions that many of you have experienced is my belief in sharing your work with others. Kent Beck continues to give his wisdom as well as share about his life. Follow his posts online (Facebook and Twitter here) and you will continue to be inspired as I have.
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Again, you will lead others and I implore you to do it well and with dignity. You must be able to listen as well as speak. Praise in public and criticize in private. I pushed you to improve your communications skills as preparation for this. Kent Beck stresses the importance of communication when he lists it as the first of the four values of XP. Another of the related values from XP here is feedback. Seek feedback for your project but also yourself and your peers. Reflection is an important skill that I stressed to help you find.
The notion of looking on at life has always been hateful to me. What am I if I am not a participant? In order to be, I must participate.Antoine de Saint-Exupery
With the skills and privilege you have, you must take it upon yourselves to act now. If you want to be leaders of industry then go do that but please do not forget to create opportunities for others and lift them up as well. Be leaders of your community and your country. There is much work that can be done as volunteers to lend a little of your time, money and expertise to others. For a start, start at the site that Jorge Arturo started: Más Ciudadanía. Don’t wait to do this “later”. The time to act is always now.
The fourth and final value in XP that Kent Beck teaches us is related here: Courage. Have the courage to make changes knowing that you have the support when it may fail. Failing is part of the process of learning and moving forward in life. Kent taught us to “Embrace Change” and I would challenge you all to “Embrace Failure”. Failure is a necessary component in growth and success.
My warmest congratulations to all of you including those that are not here at this celebration. You are all now my godchildren (ahijados) and I accept this role as godfather (padrino). The doors are always open here for you at the Tecnológico de Monterrey and I look forward to share your successes (and failures) through the rest of your lives.
- Miguel Ángel Basilio de la Paz
- Edgar Alfredo Briceño González
- Francisco Javier Castellanos Carrada
- Santiago Castro Macías
- Edgar Javier Díaz Moreno
- Raúl Flores Miramontes
- Manlio García Rivas
- Francisco Javier González López
- Candelario Alfonso Gutiérrez Gutiérrez
- Héctor Hurtado Felipe
- Juan Pablo Iñigo Escalante
- Daniel Alejandro Jiménez Gómez
- Rodolfo Lepe Valdez
- Luis Arturo Mendoza Reyes
- Christian Miranda Espinoza
- Pablo Muñoz Haro
- Marco Antonio Robles Pulido
- José Francisco Robles Sapién
- Juan Nemesio Tamayo Garza
- Diego Toledo Medina
- Gerardo Velasco Macías
- Alfonso Ruiz Velasco Ramírez