Sam Birney

Sam Birney has played a number of roles from Engineering Manager to Project Manager for the Al Majmoua deployment.  As a volunteer, he's helped to fix bugs and answer questions on the mailing list to keep Mifos code at its highest quality. 

Sam Birney - San Francisco, CA

After graduating from Stanford in 1998 with a degree in Computer Science, Sam worked as a software developer and architect for various Silicon Valley startups. He was a cofounder of Merced Systems and managed engineering teams and software releases there as Director of Technology.  He became interested in Open Source and joined JasperSoft, working on Business Intelligence software.  From there, looking to find a socially meaningful application for his skills, he joined Grameen Foundation as Engineering Manager of Mifos.  After working full time on the Mifos product for a while, he ended up becoming a contractor, which brought him to his current project of deploying Mifos at an MFI in Lebanon.

Sam has mostly contributed lots of testing and bug reports, some fixes, enhancements and documentation.  Sam quickly fixed Issue 2903 that Al Majmoua users encountered while entering new loans right after Mifos 1.5 release shipped.  Sam swiftly identified the issue as a concurrent user problem with the Fund table.  He looked into the AccountBO code and found the source of the bug, and provided a patch to resolve the issue – all in one day!  As a volunteer, Sam also helped by representing Mifos last year at JavaOne when we won our Duke’s Choice Award for best Java Technology for the Open Source Community. Sam is now working on a new type of import plug-in for handling transaction types that are different from regular repayments.

What’s Rewarding about Working on Mifos:

“It is always rewarding to see your work being used by someone else, but in the case of Mifos it is even more inspiring to see what the clients of MFIs are doing with the opportunity that microfinance provides.“

Fun Facts about Sam:

Favorite Food: Cheese Fondue

If Sam could travel to one place in the world, it would be: Brazil

Interesting fact about Sam: I enjoy surfing, even though I’m terrible at it.

Relevant Skills/OS Experience: His skills are mostly related to software engineering and project management.  Aside from Mifos, the main OS projects he has worked on are JasperServer and Mondrian.