Crafting Code Podcast


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There are many benefits to having communities of practice, so long as the community continues to exist. In this episode, special guests Jon Turner and Neil Sorensen discuss what they've learned over their many years attending and facilitating the Utah Software Craftsmanship group (


[00:00:00] Host introductions. Special guests: Neil Sorensen & Jon Turner

[00:01:51] How Jon and Neil got involved in the Utah SC group and what motivates them to keep coming back. The meetup is intentionally structured to keep it running with a minimum of work. The chance to engage in community and mentorship, not just technical detail. "I found my people."

[00:08:03] Much of the value of the group comes from what you put in rather than planning / preparation. Opportunities to practice things like TDD, pairing/mobbing, presenting, and teaching. Getting outside the echo-chamber of your own company. Vetting and developing a professional network.

[00:13:16] The Utah SC group provides stability for members over time. It provides a place to talk with others who are on similar paths, e.g. to discuss Detroit/London style testing. Don't leave behind the people who aren't as far along in the path. Mocks digression.

[00:18:46] Changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic — "We just have to do this for a month or two." The meeting was already online friendly, but online looses all the side conversations. Going virtual has appealed to some people, but not others. An online meeting has also eliminated issues of finding a physical location. Many tradeoffs.

[00:27:36] Picking something for everyone to learn together can be difficult. Finding material that everyone can talk about even if they don't engage in the "pre-work": it's a U-shaped optimization curve. XSLT digression.

[00:34:02] Books and book discussions that were memorable. The conversations are often more important than the material in the book / article. Getting something new from a book you've already read.

[00:37:25] Everyone at the meetup could be "the guy", but in the group you have a chance to be a peer. Being open-minded and learning from others, rather than being the one who has to have (or make up) all the answers.

[00:38:28] Hands-on exercises as a reaction to groups where attendees would tune out and just eat pizza. In the UtahSC group there's no food and we try to make sure that everyone has a chance to participate.

[00:41:55] Learnings and observations from seeing people come and go over time. The group offers a place for people to come when they need it; a rest stop on "the long road." Thinking about what value someone received while they attended rather than taking things personally.

[00:45:50] Favorite memories from participating in the group.

[00:51:14] Thanks to our guests for being on the podcast. Outro.

References in this episode: ~/podcast $ cat copyright.txt

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