Several months ago, one of our engineers had the great idea of starting a technology book club within the engineering team. We put some effort into getting this off the ground and it has since morphed into what is fondly know as the "Nerd Book Club." We meet on a weekly basis and participation from week-to-week varies from 5 to 15 or so. The most recent book, The Myths of Innovation, has intrigued the CEO enough to come and join our conversations, which has been really awesome.
So, how did this little club of ours come to be? Well, we were challenged (or rather, we challenged ourselves) to come up with a way of bringing engineers together from the different SCRUM teams within engineering that don't normally have a chance to converse about various experiences and ideas. If you read the definition of 'discussion', two words stand out; argument and debate. These two words tend to have negative connotations, so what we foster in the book club is 'dialog,' where we view it as a chance to share ideas and learn from one another.
So far, the club has read Beautiful Architecture as well as a series of blog posts on the topic of Agile development practices. As I mentioned earlier, we are now reading The Myths of Innovation, by Scott Berkun and it is generating a lot of great conversation. Innovation is a big topic within ReadyTalk, but that is a blog post for another time.
How are you or your company helping to facilitate the sharing of ideas with the goal to learn? We'd love to hear about things you've tried, and whether you've met with success or failure in your endeavors.
Jason Collins (aka JC) is the VP of Engineering at ReadyTalk and the self-appointed Chief Happiness Officer. He's been either writing code or managing engineers for nearly 15 years and has a passion for technology and agile development practices. The happiness of the engineering team is his top priority and he can usually be found wearing a ReadyTalk cape and the infamous "idea helmet" around the office to help keep people entertained. When he's not hanging out with his work family, he's at home with his wife and four boys doing all sorts of geeky things, like playing video games and watching campy Sci-Fi and Action flicks.