December 10, 2009

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Seeking Coaches For Software Craftsmanship 2010

Software Craftsmanship 2010 will be the premier international meeting of like-minded codesmiths; people who care passionately about creating high quality software and who dedicate themselves to getting continually better at doing it.

The exact date and place have yet to be officially confirmed, but I am aiming for it to be held at the birthplace of modern computing, Bletchley Park, in the south of England, in early July of next year. It will be a full day, with 3 tracks and a bonus Open Space track. Every single session will be hands-on and will involve live coding; something I believe is very much in the spirit of the craftsmanship movement. We will lead by example and learn by doing.

The submission and selection process will be unlike that for any software conference that I'm aware of. Prospective session leaders will "audition" for their part. They will record a screen capture of themselves performing the practical coding aspects of their proposed session, along with accompanying notes if necessary to explain the overall process. This will be posted online (there are many hosts for HD video now, and tools like Camtasia Studio and Jing make it possible to publish screen captures of considerable length in relatively small Flash files), and auditionees can submit a link to their audition on the SC2010 web site which is under construction.

We will begin accepting submissions in late January/early February, and you will be able to submit (and update) auditions right through until the end of May. Though there's nothing to stop you getting started straight away and posting your screen captures on your own blog or announcing it on your Twitter feed or Facebook page etc to garner early feedback from your peers and start rehearsing and refining your session.

Selection will be done by your peers. Anyone who submits to the SC2010 will be empowered to vote on the other submissions. The conference programme will be largely self-organising. As chair, I am reserving one 90-minute session in one track for the "Chairman's Choice" - which will be a session that didn't win out in the voting, but that I feel strongly should be included.

To aid in this whole process, I'm seeking generous and capable people to act as coaches to help 2-4 auditionees to refine their sessions. This will involve pairing (in person, or remotely using desktop sharing - so you can be anywhere in the world and still be involved) with each of your assigned auditionees once a month for about an hour. You will give them feedback and steer them towards the conference brief, which I will give you before we start the process.

You do not need to be a "master software craftsman" to be a coach. Indeed, I'm not a subscriber to the master-apprentice model and I know from direct experience that there is much to be gained from being coached by your peers. What you do need to be is a capable software developer (and I'm going to get a little prescriptive here and propose that "capable" in this context means you are effective in core disciplines including TDD, refactoring, OO programming and probably XP in general.) I am not looking for a Bob Martin or a Kent Beck. I am looking for somebody who knows their way around XP and is committed, enthusiastic, helpful, patient and encouraging.

I'm no Bob Martin or Kent Beck myself. But I am a professional software craftsmanship coach. And I derive huge satisfaction from it and am constantly learning in a way that day-to-day programming doesn't give me the opportunity to do. I highly recommend doing some coaching as part of your learning process. You could consider coaching for SC2010 as part of your journey to mastery.

I'll wager that "coached for Software Craftsmanship 2010" won't look too shabby on the CV, either ;-)

You will need to be able to spare 5-10 hours a month during the submission process (about 20-40 hours in total), starting in February.

To become a coach, in the fine egalitarian tradition I'm hoping to build on, you will also need to audition. Well, it's only fair, right?

This would not necessarily be a session submission, though. I need documentary evidence (a screen capture) that you know your onions well enough to work confidently with other craftsmen. Your audition need be only 15-30 mins in length, and demonstrate how you practice TDD and refactoring. I will need to see you work through a handful of tests and do a bit of refactoring as part of that process. I can follow most OO languages, so, unless you're working in something pretty unusual (e.g., Aspect COBOL), I should be able to understand your audition.

The deadline for coach auditions is now Jan 10th. You can email a link to your screen capture to
Posted 8 years, 5 months ago on December 10, 2009