Monday, 28 November 2011

Charity Days: Spiking, Coaching, Mentoring, Training, Facilitation, Knowledge Transfer And Whatnot...

As 2011 draws to its close, I offer a limited number of opportunities for businesses (or people) to book a day (or half) of (well) me for charity. My is broad and deep, filled up with (development and ), open sourcery at and (not just coding: community, licensing and organisational stuff too), plus cool academic topics (machine learning, semantic web, reasoning, concurrency and more) fresh from the . It's been a long road back since injury forced me to drop out; hard core 24/7 coding may still be in the distant future but I'm just about ready now to start adding occasional days of pair programming, training, coaching, mentoring, facilitation or knowledge sharing to my recovery mix. See below for illustrative samples doable in a day...

Sound good? Interested? Then get in touch.

So: What's The Deal?

Cover my train (or air) tickets (as appropriate). Agree a task for me but nothing longer than just one full day at this stage.

If you're pleased, donate something suitable to charity. Suggested donations are £100 (full day) or £50 (half day). My charitable suggestions are Literacy Bridge (innovative, technological hope for poor rural villages in developing countries), The Woodland Trust (creating a more green and pleasant land in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland too) and The Free Software Foundation Europe (for digital freedom on this rainy side of the pond). More details below...

I'll blog (here) about my experiences and even throw in some link love (if you like).

Want To Know More...?

About The Injury...

In mid 2010, nerve and tendon issues in my hand and wrist forced me to drop out from (the at) the . Since then, my life has arranged itself around physiotherapy and building computer time. From zero, I now have over 8 hours a day (excluding regular breaks). The tendons are fine now, the nerves okay in normal use and the muscles stronger. The next stage is to prove my progress by taking on some isolated days in the field.

About Ideas Doable In A Day...

(some illustrative examples to get those creative juices flowing)

Agile Workshops

Want to give or a go? Need new ideas on for the New Year? Do your team's need just a little more polish? Need more comfort and confidence when creating ? Or just want to learn the basics of Agile development? Each doable in a day...

Agile Coaching And Mentoring

Way back in the '90s, my masters dissertation featured qualitative research examining the way mathematicians learn mathematics. Qualitative and observational methods from anthropology and sociology fascinate me, and I've found this perspective surprisingly relevant for subjects Agile. It's tough to step back from day-to-day performance, and take time to observe and reflect. Mastering observation may take a lifetime but just a day of one-on-one coaching or mentoring is enough to take the first steps.

Talkin' About Agile Quality Assurance

One myth too often repeated holds incompatible with QA management; but quantity is not quality. Lightweight methods focus attention on quality by pruning back unnecessary process and documentation. Back in the '90, I coded VB in a company in transition: committed to recovering certification and rebuilding their development team from nearly nothing. DSDM achieved both goals. Maybe we could talk about where your business is, continuous improvement and how to move towards building higher quality software the Toyota Way.

Open Source: An Inside Track

Whether incoming (building new products from open source components) or outgoing (open source engagement as business tactic or strategy), open source is now a distinctive feature of the technological landscape relevant to most enterprises. All the noisy openness sometimes obscures more subtle stances adopted by corporate players using development, licensing and business models for tactical and strategic advantage. I've contributed at Apache for over a decade (elected a committer first in 2001 and a Member in 2005; served since 2006 on the Incubator PMC and on the Legal Affairs committee from 2007 to 2010), am ranked in the top 500 by Ohloh and (through the Apache Commons) contributed to some of the top 50 most widely installed libraries. I have interests in incoming and outgoing license wrangling and in community building. Whether one-on-one mentoring, a team workshop or freestyle, finding the inside track is doable in a day.

Tech Spikes

Like the idea of big data but want a gentle introduction to Hadoop, MapReduce, BigTable, HBase, Mahout and the rest of the family? Need to get up to speed on techniques for concurrent Java, from locking to non-blocking and beyond to transaction memory? Need a fast track to enterprise Java? Heard about NoSQL, REST and document centric storage but are waiting for an excuse to get up close and personal with CouchDB? Need an introduction to machine learning in the enterprise or to the science behind the semantic web? Maven and Ant? OSGi? Subversion, Git and controlling versions? Enterprise mail with James? Cryptography? Micro libraries, the Commons way? Take a look for more ideas. Either a workshop for the team, or pairing up for a series of one-on-one dojos would be doable in a day.

About The Charities...

Literacy Bridge is just about the most innovative charity I know. The project uses cheap, sustainable, viral technology to connect poor, rural villages without electricity in the developing world. The pilot has great results. Not quite 5 years old, but I'm not the only one to have great expectations for the future of Literacy Bridge.

The Woodland Trust works towards a country rich in native woods. Help to
  • create the largest new native forest in England near St Albans
  • plant 86,000 native tree and engage 3000 children at Low Burnhall, Co Durham
  • (much closer to my home) improve paths and access in Skipton Woods, Yorkshire

The FSFE fights for freedom in this emerging information age. The Free Software Foundation's younger European cousin.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Timeboxing And The Pomodoro Technique

Thanks to everyone who made so special, and my particular thanks to all those who arrived early enough to get involved with my lightning talks on and . More links and information may be found here.

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