I knew this month’s meeting of the Central Ohio .NET Developers Group was going to be a break from the norm when I heard Alan Stevens jamming on his guitar as I approached the meeting room. He was belting out the words to REM’s End of the World as we Know It (and I feel fine) which is an impressive feat of memory and diction in itself.
Alan titled the talk “Coding in Public” and challenged those in attendance to code with others more often. We should not be afraid our code sucks but rather acknowledge that it sucks (at least some of it, sometimes) and, since it sucks anyway, we might as well let it “suck with gusto.” We can then learn together how to make it suck less.
Alan began by discussing the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition in general and as it relates to software development. This was not a new concept for me, but only because I have been reading Pragmatic Thinking and Learning by Andy Hunt. Andy talks a lot about the Dreyfus model. He also mentions something called “second-order incompetence” that worries me a little. Hope that shoe doesn’t fit.
Alan also talked about the book Mastery by George Leonard. When I got home I pulled my copy off the shelf and plan to read it again. It is a good book and the ideas are worth refreshing.
Among other books Alan mentioned are Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers, Good to Great by Jim Collins, and Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin.
This talk got me thinking about the relative isolation I’ve been working in lately and that I need to get out more and look for opportunities to collaborate with others. In the meantime, I’ve been wanting to put some code out there for a couple small personal projects I’ve worked on recently and I hope to do that soon. It can’t suck with gusto if it’s stuck in my private Subversion repository. I just have to decide where to host it and which license to use.
Also noted at the meeting:
Central Ohio Day Of DotNET 2009-04-18
Stir Trek 2009-05-08
The Making of an Expert – This link is not to the whole article, you have to subscribe or buy it (and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get paid, but then I assume you know how to use a search engine – seek and ye shall find – the choice is yours).