An Evening of Mastery With Driven and 8th Light

This event happened on the 14th of April. You can get Steven Mcdonald’s slides here, Daniel Irvine’s here and Jim Suchy’s here.

Some key slides…
Books mentioned during talks…
  • Implementation patterns - Kent Beck
  • Clean code - Robert Martin
  • Refactoring - Martin Fowler
  • The clean coder - Robert Martin
  • Software Craftsmanship - Pete McBreen
  • Mastery - George Leonard
  • Driving technical change - Terrence Ryan

Driven Alliance invites you to a free community event, in collaboration with 8th Light, focused on the software craftsman’s path to Mastery.

8th Light is known worldwide as a practical implementation of the Software Craftsmanship Manifesto, and for their apprenticeship program for software craftsman. Those that were at Agile Africa last year will remember Doug Bradbury, from 8th Light Chicago, who talked about these. 8th Light is a company that Driven respects, and in many ways seeks to emulate.

Two representatives from 8th Light’s London branch will be visiting South Africa in April. One of them is the founder of 8th Light London, and the other is a craftsman who’s come through their apprenticeship program.

We’ve taken the opportunity to host them at a free community event.

The event will begin with an example of software craftsmanship, with Steven McDonald from Driven reprising his talk on Beautiful APIs - this was the most popular talk at Devconf 2016 (according to the eval forms). After that Daniel will speak about what his time at 8th Light has taught him, then Jim will talk about his experiences replicating 8th Light’s culture in London.


Seats will be reserved on a strictly first-come first-served basis. Please RSVP via an email to


  • Date - Thursday, 14 April 2016
  • Venue - Langhams in Fourways
  • Time - 18h30 for 19h00, to 21h30
  • Cost - This is a free event, finger snacks and drinks will be served

Talk 1 - Beautiful API’s - Steven McDonald (Driven)

Steven is a Software developer from Driven. He’s been a developing software for just over a decade now and in that time learned that software development is more about people than code. Although the code is fun, the people aspect is so much more important.

Reprising his talk from Devconf 2016, he will discuss why APIs are part of our day to day work even if we don’t think so. Often developers only think of ‘APIs’ as service endpoints for certain web services but this is only a single type of API.

Steven will cover what types of APIs there are and how we can write and maintain beautiful APIs. What is a beautiful API and how can you craft one?

Talk 2 - Developing Software Craftsmanship - Daniel Irvine (8th Light)

As a software craftsman that came through 8th Light’s apprenticeship program, Daniel will talk about his path and discuss the various different development practices 8th Light’s teams follow during their daily work, and why.

He will talk about what 8th Light means when they talk of craftsmanship, and how that differs from the industry standard for software development.

Talk 3 - Recreating Software Team Culture - Jim Suchy (8th Light)

On small teams, most processes are informal — they don’t need to be communicated, because they’re solving a problem that is apparent to everyone. As teams grow and these processes mature, it’s imperative that companies confront the risk of the cargo cult and ensure they aren’t maintaining processes because of tradition rather than deriving any value from them.

This tension became especially important when Jim moved from Chicago to open 8th Light’s London office in 2014. In this talk, he’ll explore 8th Light’s culture, and how he recreated a nearly identical culture in an office thousands of miles away by doubling down on the same core values.