Community building around software developers

The early morning dew glistens as the light of dawn wakens the cactus blossoms of the Arizona desert. Of course, at this time of the year, it never gets cool enough for dew to build or blossoms to go to sleep. During the late summer there are winds that blow through the sands, kicking up dust, and filling the maddening clouds with thick rain. These winds blow hard. These winds cause the desert to change.

There are other winds that have been blowing through the business world enabling a convergence of technology and usage patterns. What was once firmly outside the firewall, and considered only for those on the fringe, is now being embraced and pulled inside.

Social Media (corporately named Professional Media) can be used to enhance your work force like no other tool/technology/use ever has. In the past, when you were looking for an expert, trying to solve a problem, or interested in posting a solution, you did so within the confines of your close personal network. Today, as many of the common social media tools embraced by the business world, that personal network is expanding to involve the whole company. In my case that number approaches 100,000 people.

My specific opportunity involves the forming of a company-based, professional society of software developers.

Why is this important or even needed? Let's say you are starting a new project to create a web-based sales system. While going through the design process you decide upon a certain software platform, specific languages and messaging mechanisms. After the design is approved you then need to setup your development and testing environments as well as any compilation/deployment mechanisms necessary to manage your processes. For just about every project, this has been a large chunk of time and effort because each individual group had become their own pocket of excellence.

What is a pocket of excellence? This would be the team, or individual, who does their job really well, because the processes (and tools) they have in place correspond to the needs and expectations of their immediate team. It is the single person doing it the same way because that way works and meets the customer’s needs.

A pocket of excellence is a personal (or private) network based solution to their local problem (software development).

My goal is to start a society of loosely coupled software developers willing to share their thoughts and ideas in order to allow those private networks to become global in scale. In sharing their data from their pocket of excellence, they begin to gain a wider insight regarding their approach. They may get input to improve it or in turn may see something which makes sense and simplifies their own solution. It should resolve itself into a library of processes and a network of people, in order to help make their jobs better.

Some of the focus areas that I have targeted in our society are:

  • Education

  • Standards

  • Technologies

  • Tools/Utilities

  • Design

  • Testing

  • Deployment

  • Supportability

I will follow up with some expansion of this and further explanations of how social (professional) media can help to enable this on a company scale. I would love to hear about any efforts in your company, or feedback on what we are attempting to do.