Its been a mild but extremely busy summer here in Mitchell – in fact, each year we experience at least 1 heat wave averaging a week in length of 100+ degrees but not this summer – it was one of our coolest Julys on record – not a single day over 90 degrees, lawns are still green everywhere – very rare for this time of year.
And work, still crazy busy and in this economy, that is exactly the way my co-workers and I like it – besides it gives you more reasons to meet after work for team-building beverages.
But here is my problem….I still struggle to find ways to effectively share information, news, tips and tricks across the company. If you know me, you know that I follow very closely Mr Scott Hanselman’s and Mr Atwood’s blogs and get especially intrigued when they cover topics such as Everything You Know will Be Obsolete in Five Years and Sharpening The Saw – 2 of my favorite blog articles of all time and should be required reading for all new software developers.
I previously discussed this topics briefly at the end of my blog entry Building Arks but summer is slipping away and my packed development schedule has pushed all good intentions of mine to the back of the list and once again I catch myself thinking about how to tackle this issue of finding good ways to share and spread information and help people find ways to collectively improve our knowledge. Kathleen Dollard (whom we were privileged enough to see when she spoke at our local .NET User Group in MItchell, SD a few years ago) summed it up best when she wrote an article for VSM captioned "Pace of Change Leaves No One Competent". I firmly believe that people who can collectively add to each others knowledge base will be far more able to keep up with the pace of change and be better off together.
Which brings me to the reason I originally started writing this blog – while I hope to use it to communicate and share with other professionals I meet while in this career – the main reason I write it is for myself – it gives me a chance to focus and crystallize my thinking, put some challenges for myself in print and maybe get some discussions started on topics that I and others face in our jobs.
So today, I am starting with some more small, modest goals – first before August completes, I want to setup an information sharing meeting here at work on the use of Visual Studio’s Code Profiler – I am always suprised by the number of people who have never used it as I find it extremely valuable – just the other day I helped a co-worker shave 75% of the runtime of a long-running process heavily using SQL & ADO.NET by spending 20 minutes with the Profiler – that made an impression with them on how valuable this tool is. But first people need to not be afraid of trying it out – and I need to not be afraid of demonstrating things to other people just because I don’t consider myself an expert on it – I need to get more comfortable sharing what I know and then inviting others to help me fill in the gaps.
[UPDATE as of Aug. 29 – This goal I can cross off my list, last week I did presentations for 2 teams on using the Profiler in VS2008 and what they can expect from the profiler in VS2010 – for me, this was babysteps…but still a win]
And then during September I want to dive in deep with regular expressions – I have only nibbled at the edges so far with its capabilities but fully realize that I only use a tiny fraction of whats available – and I was reminded of that recently after reading Mike Malone’s excellent article labeled "The absolute bare minimum every programmer should know about regular expressions" – it has motivated me to get serious about not just learning it but helping others interested in it, learn about it as well – once I made that decision, in yet another serendipitous moment, articles such as Greg’s Cool Thing of the Day – "Free regular expression addin for Visual Studio – Regular Expression Explorer" appeared this week and LifeHacker (awesome blog) published an article this week on "Learn the Basics of Regular Expression Searches".
So I end the summer with some new, small goals and renewed interest in finding out from others how they have best shared information, training within their companies or what successful experiments or trials thay have been part of – so fair warning HDC speakers, if I catch up with you after any of your talks and I see on your bios that you have worked at a few places – I’ll be asking you for your experiences on what has worked best at places you have worked – I bet this has been an OpenSpaces topic at many places but if not, it feels like a good topic for one.
Hope your summer has been good and your beer cold