D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Many are not silent, but few are ever heard. Work to change this.

Saturday, March 8, 2008 8:09 PM

I'm doing some analysis work for a social services branch of the government, and in one meeting I noticed the phrase I titled this entry with on a poster. The poster was about how to build a community, and listed a bunch of stuff like 'grow a garden' and other neighborhood type things. But that statement really struck me...it really made me think about our industry and our developer community.

When I look around Winnipeg, I see a great number of skilled developers. I also see a great number of developers that are new to the scene, or that just want to increase their skills. No matter which, I always walk away from talking to these individuals having learned something, or understanding a view that I'd never thought of (even if I disagree with it, at least a better understanding).

We need to foster a community of trust within our developer circles to help bring out these ideas...to make people feel that they can put their ideas out there without fear of rebuke or ridicule...allow their voice to be heard by the community. How do we do this?

- Add a general Q and A session to your user group sessions where people fighting with a certain issue or challenge can present it to the group and solicit feedback. More than someone getting help, someone could OFFER help. Consider my friend Juan, who many would consider to be a junior-developer as he's only a couple of years out of university. Yet Juan is quickly becoming an expert in Sharepoint workflows.

- Encourage novice speakers to present at a code camp or a user group event...maybe have "novice night" or something. This isn't novice in the sense of technical experience, just speaking experience. Some of the smartest people I know have this fear of public speaking, or they just don't think they have anything to offer, or any other excuse you can think of. Encouraging these people to put themselves out there is important.

- If you have an active blog, offer up guest blog posts. Maybe you have someone in your group that blogs, but nobody really knows they exist. Offering them a guest blog post or even just talking up local bloggers on your own blog can help them get more exposure and more touches.

Remember, we're not talking about creating more Rock Stars...our industry doesn't need those. They need people who care about the community and about helping other developers become better at their jobs. We need to help those that have a voice be heard over the din.



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