What would you like your software developers to learn?

I posted this question on LinkedIn this morning, and have already received a ton of answers. I thought it would be good to ask here, too.

As a manager, what would you like the software developers under your management to learn? This might be knowledge of some specific technology, some software engineering skill, some other skill or knowledge, or what?

Your answer doesn’t have to apply to all of your developers. Pick something that will make a noticeable difference in your organization’s effectiveness. And please be as specific as possible.

Of course, some of the answers were general advice rather than specific things at the answerer’s organization. But where the answers were specific, I typically followed up with two more questions.

What steps are you currently taking to help developers learn this?

What steps do you think you should take, but aren’t yet, for some reason?

I’d like to hear your answers, either as comments to this blog or privately in email.

Carnival of the Agile Conference

The new Carnival of the Agilists is focused on the Agile 2007 conference.  You’ll find a bunch of references to blogs discussing the conference.  There’s some interesting stuff.  There’s even a pointer to my good friend, Jack Ganssle, who is not an Agilist and is highly allergic to people touting a New Methodology.  Jack is interested in things that work, and work well.  I was glad to see he had some good things to say.  The reason he did, is that people talked about things they had done and the results they got from doing them.  Telling those stories works ever-so-much better than telling your theories.

I found it amusing that the first response to the Carnival of the Agilists post was one complaining that the drinking water wasn’t obvious enough, being provided in coolers instead of bottles.  All I can say is that if this is the biggest complaint, the conference was a great success!

Carnival of the Agilists

The Carnival of the Agilists has posted a new issue. Every two weeks, they post a pointer to the interesting articles in the Agile arena. If you can’t keep up with all the blogs and mailing lists and online publications, this is a good way to hit some of the high points.

Time flies like an arrow…

… and fruit flies like a banana. It’s amazing to me that it’s been three weeks since my last post. Sometimes real life has a way of consuming the time, leaving little left for philosophizing.

During this time, Brian Marick has been stirring things up at the Agile Alliance. I’ve joined in the discussion of his observations and proposals only a little. Brian’s turned over a lot of stones at once, and it takes me awhile to examine all the things that have been living under them. Being a Myers-Briggs introvert, I tend to discuss these things in my own head before displaying them to the world. Here, though, I’m just thinking out loud and I haven’t come to any conclusion. (Continued)

Amplifying Your Effectiveness

Johanna Rothman’s recent post on the AYE Conference prompted this unsolicited testimonial.

If you’re a techie working with people, you can learn loads about being more effective by attending this conference.  This is no sit-in-a-room-and-listen sort of thing.  You’ll get involved and learn lessons you’ll never forget.

I’m an independent consultant and pay for my own training.  This conference is one I won’t skip.  It’s well worth the cost.

5 things you may not know about me

Ok, maybe you already know these things. I’m a pretty open person so there’s not much unknowable about me that I know of. But Johanna tagged me to say 5 things, and these are the ones that came to mind:



Hello. My name is George Dinwiddie and I’m a software consultant and coach. My job is helping software development teams to become more effective, while helping them accomplish their current project.

I started out in electronics. My first job was a TV-radio repairman when I was 14. After some detours such as being an English major in college, a theatre lighting and sound technician, and an organic vegetable farmer, I came back to electronics and ended up as an Engineering technician developing modems. As it happened, this was at the time that hardware was being replaced with software, and I wrote more firmware than I designed circuits.

I’ve since moved from embedded systems to primarily working on business systems–from assembly language, through procedural C and Pascal, to object-oriented Java and currently learning Ruby. And I’ve played with a lot of things in between. Throughout it all, I’ve tried to learn the best ways of doing things. And I’ve certainly learned a lot. I’m grateful to many people who, directly or through their writings, have taught me so much. And I’m very much aware that there’s an infinite amount more to learn.

The purpose of this blog is to share some of what I’ve learned in a more informal manner than the wiki that I’ve been using. Oh, I’ll continue to use that, too, but this vehicle will allow me to publish thoughts without organizing them into a structure. It will also allow for others to leave comments in reply. I’m looking forward to that! Please do let me know what you think.