Three weeks ago the leader of my local .NET User Group were having problems landing a speaker for our meeting which took place last night. I guess there’s some type of lull in the activity for speakers because we usually don’t have a speaker drought anytime in the year, until this month.
So my big campaign for the user group when I was interviewing for a board position was “Putting community back in the group”. I put a lot of stuff on the table and this was one of them. When I stepped in we already had a huge list of speakers choose from, and the group was getting ready for some fairly large product introductions (we also call them drops). Our existing tools were changing and new tools were being introduced. The speakers help sew up the gaps in our understanding of what we don’t know since depending on the speaker it’s usually their forte.
Last night we had three community speakers step up and talk about their passion and they did very well in fact. Vastly different topics (GPU data processing, VIM/Auto-Hot-Key for keeping your hands off the mouse, and an authentication talk using pluggable providers-OAuth, OpenId, etc. All very well thought out and presented, and I heard many compliments to the speakers on the topic and delivery.
Last night we definitely put the community back in the group, big time.
I’ve been working with a team who will take over system support for a system my team has been building. My team worried that we didn’t “deliver to the audience” while we delivered what we believe the customer wanted.
“Delivering to the audience” means, did we build something that developers (seasoned or not) could learn to understand, pick-up, and eventually own. The big brass ring is always, can folks learn how to be more efficient or learn what not to do, with what we created – either case is still a valuable lesson.
This week we had three sessions. Covered most everything we needed that exposed the patterns we used, and the ones we chose not to use. Most of the dialog that came across the table led me to believe that they were going to get it, and it was going to sink in. Our team who uses an unused executives office as a work room literally has an open door policy. We stay available in IM and email contexts as well since most folks, developers in general, would rather communicate electronically. The folks I met with this week seem to be more face-to-face and ready to get this stuff on them. All good indicators that I can move off of this system with little or no ties to this system post-go-live.
So the goal here is to move back into what my team initially did, which I’m being told may change a bit in the future. It sounds exciting and a bit spooky as well. However, we enjoy being part of a larger strategy team that helps folks learn how to be more efficient or learn what not to do, with what other folks (large and small software shops outside of our own shop) created by kicking tires and test-driving software in a real(our)world context.
I’ve always hated moving, but now I realize that not all moving is bad. Sometime we have to move on, other times we’re asked or forced to move on; at least this time there are no boxes to unpack.
Well, I will admit I did give the PostADay challenge a good go, but I’ve come to realize I can make myself stare at my phone or pop open a “flash-post” in WP. I just see myself moving farther away from sitting in front of my blog each day. This has been a season the comes and goes for me, and I’ve seen my peers, near and far, just strike this balance of being plugged and unplugged.
So, I’ll keep the challenge going but only for a PostAWeek. Hopefully, the ones I do post won’t read like their strained or distilled out of vague idea or thought. Besides, what’s the sense in blogging if it’s going to be crap? None.
“When are we ever gonna get our hands on that stupid lamp!” This weekend was a great long weekend to sort more leftover baggage from 2010. Feels like I’ve dropped an easy 2 tons this weekend.
The whole “lamp” analogy is just about letting go of what I can’t reach, and honestly don’t want to. The idea right now is to just focus on “reach” – as in what I can reach, not “rich” which always seems to be much too expensive for me. Not in the sense of money, but mental currency.
Just this weekend I’ve had a very educational experience working on things that are within reach, and not the things that are so rich. Looking forward to rest of the week now. Besides, I’m seeing that the rich stuff isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and ends up being very high maintenance, like that “stupid lamp”.
A friend of mine stopped in my office one day and he started a conversation about trying to help our division build or create free time in their week. Free time so folks can work on a personal blue sky project for a whole or half day. He told me something that blew the sweetener out of my coffee ( I like my coffee black), he said “of all the people I’ve spoken to, they have no idea nor are they interested in having free time at work to blue sky something”.
Now I’m no workaholic by any stretch, but I’ll pitch in if the dam is about to break, or if management says “go and do”. There are things work related that I want to devote time to but can’t during the normal 9-10 stretch each day. But after thinking more about this, maybe folks just want time to think about nothing; For example, no mental challenges, interacting with stuff we can’t ignore; not like turning off your smartphone, but more like turn off that TV inside your head that plays on some UHF channel static and all.
I’m actually rethinking my free time as well. What would you do if you had a free 1/2 or whole day on the clock to work on a personal project at your shop?
Cabin On The Lake
My folks had an awesome idea recently. They want to gather the family together and meet at a campsite with cabins for some fishing, hiking, and unplugging from todas las cosas! How does that sound? Umm, in a word awesome. I will probably back date a few posts and get them to post over the week. But, I’m sure I’ll keep my analog journal buzzing with stuff.
Over the years I hear about and know folks that are just in no big hurry to head back for some family get-together, and a (very) few others do and look forward to it over the holidays, but part of me thinks some genuine reconnecting seems built-in; as in we want to (re)connect at least once a year with the folks that made us.
I took a week off and spent it working on house projects with my Dad and having long talks in the kitchen with my Mom about food, family, God, crime, radio, computers, weather; everything is on the table with my Mom; visiting sisters and nephews, and having lunch with my grand-daughter for the first time.
What a great week – my Dad’s mind is so sharp and building stuff with him is just a blast. We laugh so hard at ourselves some times we couldn’t even swing a hammer and pound a nail in straight. And my Mom really makes me laugh too – really good times.
But a week on a lake with a cabin; wake up and walk out on the end of a dock two minutes later and cast a line out onto a glass covered lake – that sounds great to me right now, well great anytime actually.
I really hope this trip works out, it will be a blast. We stayed in cabins when I was seven and we all really just froze b/c there wasn’t any heat – and that was fun too. That cabin on a lake view and experience is blistered into my memory like it happened yesterday. I guess I like being outside, that probably helps, but I love being around my family, outside, more.
I’m working on web site for a local developer group here in Orlando. We met last Saturday to talk about plans for how the site is going to be rebuilt by grease-boarding some brainstorms, as well as a peer review of some of the stuff that some of the developers have been doing.
I’ve been very impressed by these guys since they stepped up for this community effort and although we’ve had some spirited discussions about technology, we always land on our zeros and ones.
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