Keep your Mentee motivated

September 18, 2010 Coaching 3 comments

I’ve been writing blog post on Motivation and then realized that wrote much about mentee, so I’ve decided to put in another blog post.


In one of my tweets I’ve already mentioned
that I got mentee to work with. I’m really happy to coach/mentor person
who isn’t spoiled by the years of being working in environment that did
not aid his motivation.

My tips regarding of how you should deal with your mentee

new employee has a good motivation and you should keep it on the level
it was when he came at first day! It is very important, but sadly not
many cares about this. I did not read a lot of books on
motivation, but I know what motivates me and have an idea about what can motivate others. I’m using this technics:

  • I’m trying to publicly praise
    what he is doing, because he definitely deserves this and besides this
    is the way how he can quicker accommodate into new working environment.  
  • Do not correct and highlight each of his mistake/gap. Yeah, I said
    that. Possibly it is better to allow him do mistake. Sometimes when you say to person that he/she did something wrong
    it can disappoint to such extend that after knowing right way of doing
    things person will not have desire to apply those ideas.
  • Throw him our of comfort zone and then try to manage the stress he got.
    Ok with throwing him and challenging him I’m more or less fine, but
    cannot find enough time to manage. I’m glad that he comes to ask many
    questions, but I feel that I do not have enough control about what is
    going on with code he is writing. 
  • Give him 3rd learning sources not directly related to work. For example, I love that we both started
    reading “CLR via C#” 3rd edition. (Ok, I read CLR via C# already… This time it will be almost third time.)

Listed above is just some list of recommendations/ideas that I’m currently using and I do not pretend to say that this is full comprehensive list of what you should do to keep your mentee motivated.


Developers Meetings Survery – RESULTS

August 6, 2010 Coaching, DevMeeting, Presentation, Success 2 comments

Few days ago I started survey about improvements to Developers Meetings inside of my team, but I also announced it to anyone who can be interested in this via twitter and blog.

Top areas of interest are:

  1. *Foundations like WCF, WPF, WWF and huge parts of .NET development like WinPhone
  2. Design Patterns either Gof, Enterprise or not commonly known
  3. Core .NET (concurrency, memory, security)
  4. New features coming in .NET

 More details:

Top voted topics are:

  1. Enterprise Design Patterns
  2. WCF
  3. Gof Design Patterns with live code
  4. Estimation
  5. Refactoring
  6. TDD

My thoughts on top topics:

Because I’m not expert in Enterprise Design Pattern, it would take time for me to have some presentation on it. Either I will ask one of my colleges, who already read  “Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture“.

I just scheduled Developers Meeting on WCF for my team, and I see this to be “getting started” meeting where I’m going to talk about main concepts and basic usages. I’m going to implement some funny example.

Regarding GoF Design Patters with live code, that should be very easy for me. I already have a whole bunch of different examples on my blog, so I can use them and talk on them. I expect to have junior stuff on those meetings. I would like to train my capabilities in coaching.

Estimation should be meeting where I would like to talk around Fowler’s estimation deadly sins.

Refactoring could be divided in many meetings, like core refactorings but with live code and also “refactoring to patterns”

TDD – no slides. I remember when we had presentation on TDD for devs and it was with slides. I think that is the worst way to explain TDD. Yeah, might be that it is good to show flow diagram, but I vote for code.


Improvements section:

What is the most interesting about improvements is that people would like to see more real code. Hm, this should mean that either people are tired because of my simple “hello world” examples, or either they are very interesting in how we can use those things withing complex project, and maybe they are right, because “hello world” examples could be found easily over internet.

Details on improvements:

Also as you can see we’ve got 3 comments on improvements. First one says to view presentations before meeting. I would agree with this, but maybe I will work on more detailed agendas, which will be sent exactly before meeting. Please let me know if this is ok.

I’m really looking forward to provide lot of interesting information to my co-workers and work along with them to build solid and very knowledgeable base for our growth.

Will appreciate if you would share your thoughts on this results and thank you very much for participating in survey!


Developers Meetings Survey

August 4, 2010 Coaching, DevMeeting, Presentation No comments

As you might know, I’m keen on delivering technical meetings for my co-workers within one business unit in company.

It is very important to keep developers working on their knowledge and that is what my company is trying to do. It organizes special seminars on different topics for all of the offices, it also creates its own certification model to evaluate knowledge of employees, etc. , but before that all started my team had our own technical meetings called “developers meetings”. Those were providing by one smart guy, who has moved to another country, but since team felt sad about that we continued having developers meetings, so we proceeded with scheduling topics and assigning people to them.

Fun, but while it was like official, conference room was full of people and everyone was listening to junior talking on some design pattern. As I think everyone got disappointed by such meetings, but I do not say that this was bad idea to have junior talking on patterns. Turns out it has something good inside, because that person learns something for himself and trains to present. Sad but true, he is not able to deliver something properly to the big audience.

I know this, because I also was in role of such presenter, talking on Prototype without clear understanding of it and using sophisticated example from book of GoF – I simply did not understand it and I’m sure that none get something valuable for him/herself out of that talk.

My conclusion is that presentation should be delivered by person, who has really solid understanding of things he talks about. If it is small team and it contains juniors, he should start with ever simplest code. But since anyone should start with something, junior also should have presentation sometime. In this case I would recommend to make presentation for limited number of people, like other starting developers and few experts who are really interested in people growth.

Back to Developers Meetings we are having now, I really would love to see them thriving, but it requires investment of time from interested people. These months I’m trying to deliver presentations more often, and since we’ve got lot of new staff we can repeat old topics with new breath. How to know if developers want those meetings again?

To get some feedback I created survey, which I sent to my co-workers, but I would be really happy if you, my readers, will fill-in it also. (It shouldn’t take longer than 1 min.)

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