Skip to main content

Agile Software Designer "Uncle Bob" Visits Yale SOM

In collaboration with student groups, local developers, and New Haven businesses, the Entrepreneurship Program at Yale SOM hosted Robert Martin for a talk entitled “SOLID Principles of OO & Agile Design.”

Martin—or “Uncle Bob” as he’s known—is a luminary in the software world, and the very type of cross-sector leader that the School of Management aspires to train.

Bob encourages programmers to look at software from the perspective of the business, and to manage business risks by talking to customers early and often. If these practices sound familiar, it’s because agile development parallels user-centered design principles, and gave rise to the popular “lean startup” method for entrepreneurship.

Photo via @DataKyle

Hearing Uncle Bob explain these principles and their benefits from a technical standpoint really made me feel more comfortable about communicating the need for agile/lean processes. This type of perspective-taking and empathizing works best when reciprocated, but is even more important for managers entering new fields. As well, it reminds me of the stakeholder-based structure of Yale SOM’s integrated curriculum.

His talk also made me appreciate the importance of intentional cultivation within communities. Recognizing that the explosive growth of programmers in recent years means that most programmers are inexperienced, Bob and the other creators of the Agile Manifesto set out to provide guidance and mentorship to the young community. Bob continues to spread the word through engagements like Wednesday’s talk.

In addition to Yale students and faculty, the event brought together local developers, including the group, as well as local software start-ups. For example the event was co-sponsored and supported by  Continuity Control, a local start-up and leading provider of banking compliance software.

For entrepreneurial students like myself, this inclusion is crucial. As I look to expand my own web development knowledge, connecting with businesses and local programmers who are willing to share their knowledge and support my learning creates tremendous opportunities. This type of engagement also raises the quality of our startup community, just as Bob has helped to move the programming discipline forward.

As we work together to build SOM’s entrepreneurial community, we should all follow Bob’s example both by taking different perspectives, and by investing in our mutual success.

At a time when Yale University is investing directly in entrepreneurship, leaders like Kyle Jensen, the new Director of Entrepreneurial Programs at SOM, are working hard too engage the broader New Haven community. It takes a village to start a business, and here at Yale School of Management, that village is taking shape.