Episode 001: “Working in Teams” with Ben Collins-Sussman and Brian Fitzpatrick

Software development is a team sport and, for this inaugural episode of “Conversations in Software Development”, we are very lucky to have a conversation on this subject with Ben Collins-Sussman and Brian “Fitz” Fitzpatrick.

Besides being accomplished software engineers, Ben and Fitz have collaborated on multiple talks and books regarding the social challenges of software development, including the popular O’Reilly book Debugging Teams: Better Productivity through Collaboration and most recently contributed several chapters to the book Software Engineering at Google: Lessons Learned from Programming Over Time.

If you’d like to see Ben and Fitz talk more about this and other related subjects, check out the following videos:


Guest Bios

Brian W. Fitzpatrick

Brian Fitzpatrick is Founder and CTO of Tock.

Brian started Google’s Chicago engineering office in 2005 and led several of Google’s global engineering efforts, including the Data Liberation Front, and Transparency Engineering. He also served as internal advisor for Google’s open data efforts, having previously led the Google Code and Google Affiliate Network teams. Prior to joining Google, Brian worked as an engineer at CollabNet, Apple, and a local Chicago development shop.

Brian first started contributing to open source software in 1998 and was a core Subversion developer from 2000 to 2005 as well as the lead developer of the cvs2svn utility. He is a member of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and former VP of Public Relations for the ASF. Brian has written numerous articles and given dozens of presentations, including co-writing “Debugging Teams: Better Productivity Through Collaboration,” “Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others,” “Version Control with Subversion” (now in its second edition), and chapters for “Unix in a Nutshell” and “Linux in a Nutshell.”

Brian has an A.B. in Classics from Loyola University Chicago with a major in Latin, a minor in Greek, and a concentration in Fine Arts and Ceramics. Brian resides in Chicago.

Ben Collins-Sussman

Ben graduated from the University of Chicago in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. He has co-authored eight original musicals and won multiple theater design awards for music and sound, although his main career has been in software engineering. He co-authored the Subversion version control system, a book on engineering management, and in 2005 co-founded Google’s engineering office in Chicago where he now serves as site director and works on Google Search. He collects hobbies which tend to explore the tension between art and science. He has won awards for new computer interactive fiction games, has an extra-class FCC license for amateur radio, spends time doing semi-professional photography, sketches in ink and watercolors, and plays jazz piano and bluegrass banjo. He is a proud native of Chicago, where he still lives with his wife, kids, and cats.

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