Building Team Skills is Good Architecture

Many architects spend a lot of their time on technology – hardware and software components, frameworks, SOA, etc. But Great Architects are equally as concerned with people and processes.

Awhile back I was inspired by James McGovern’s thoughts on bringing the conference to you. We have embraced this idea, and are currently in the middle of an extended set of training sessions for our entire development team. A couple months back, we brought in a local consultant (Mike Calvo, who I would highly recommend to anyone in the Minneapolis area) to run the team through a reference project using JSF, Spring, and Hibernate. This was a great chance for our team to get a complete look at all of those technologies together, and see a working, running app. Mike had just come off of a large ecommerce project using these, so he had great practical insights that are too often lacking from more formal training classes.

Our next session was with a lead in our internal DBA group. He gave us a list of possible topics that we prioritized, and then gave us a half-day run through of tips and best practices on those topics. No doubt this was review for some of our team members, but most of the team thought this was great exposure to best practices that are normally ignored (this being a bunch of Javaholics).

The remaining planned session is with Richard Monson-Haefel, a Burton Group analyst. You might know Richard from his fantastic O’Reilly books, but he is also one of the only working industry analysts giving airtime to open source in a meaningful way. If your company is not a Burton Group client, I suggest you check them out.

We are still trying to round out our sessions for the year – thinking about topics in the Agile or test-driven development areas. But overall, this has been a great experience to get our entire team talking the same language, and has definitely increased healthy discussion and debate about frameworks, tools, approaches, etc. that we are considering.

I’m curious to hear what other architects out there are doing to build people as well as technology assets in their enterprise…


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