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At my current assignment I'm in the process of starting a brown-bag study group.

Here's the announcement I sent out to all the relevant parties I could think of at my work.


Next Thursday (May 17th) we’re kicking off a lunch time study group for anyone who is interested.


We’re going to be starting with “The Pragmatic Programmer: from journeyman to master” by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas.


This is one of those books that seems to stay at the top of the industry “must read” lists, (right there next to “mythical man month”).


So if you’ve always wanted to read this book, and needed a good excuse, show up next Thursday in the <our lunch room> with your lunch, and we’ll go from there.




Ps, we recommend you obtain and bring your copy of TPP to this kickoff event.




This is giving me a week to figure out how to facilitate an in house study group.  Has anyone else had any experience with starting something like this?


Any pitfalls I should watch out for? 

Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 9:34 PM Contracting , Agile Development , Con Livus | Back to top

Comments on this post: Starting your own brown-bag study group

# re: Starting your own brown-bag study group
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That's a great book. We used it in one of our many &quot;GRASP&quot; ((GRoup Assisted Study Program) classes. They were exactly what you are talking about. Lunch time study groups. The way we did it was to assign each person a chapter. Everyone was responsible for reading a chapter a week, but the one person who was assigned that week facilitated the session. They would go over a review of what they thought the chapter was trying to communicate, and provide their thoughts and opinions. It was strongly encouraged to be an open discussion, but depending on the group, it didn’t always work out that way.

One pitfall that we found was sometimes people bailed out the week they were supposed to facilitate due to “work obligations”. We decided to have an alternate assigned for each week as well. When we first started we didn’t have alternates and ended up canceling the sessions when this happened. The other thing we found was that certain chapters required us to split them over two weeks because of their length. We also limited the class size and assigned one person to lead the class (make sure that it flowed well and the weekly facilitator was prepared). We also got our company to buy the books since they were all work related classes. If you can get this tied into peoples goals on their review, it helps with attendance.

I’m out of town, so I don’t have a full list of the other books we included. One of them was an Advanced SQL topic -- book &quot;SQL for Smarties&quot; by Joe Celko. We also had a great one on SQL performance tuning

Good luck. This was a great experience. I sat through several of these including “intro to dot net” and “xslt”. This was back in 2002. 
Left by John Workman on May 09, 2007 11:13 PM

# re: Starting your own brown-bag study group
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Are you part of a User Group? Within Codezone, we have Study group offerings from Microsoft Learning, which include:
-Vouchers for discounts on exams for study group participants
-Facilitator guide for study group leaders
-Study mentors in your area.

Left by Trisha Lacey on May 10, 2007 4:45 PM

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