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Mark Herschberg
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Roseanne Zhang posted in another thread how she started a lunch study group. I've also started something similar at my last company. I'd like to hear other stories of what people have done and how it worked out. Specific details are encouraged. This will hopefully help others trying to do the same thing.
--Mark
 
Mark Herschberg
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I ran two different programs at my company. I'll talk about the latter, which worked a little better. Basically, I asked for a volunteer each week to talk about a topic. It could be anything remotely work related. Topics included:

  • Design Patterns
  • Technical Writing
  • JVM
  • Garabage Collection
  • Java APIs (e.g. JMS, MIDP, JSP)
  • Encryption
  • Refactoring
  • Intro to UML
  • Wireless Device marketspace

  • As you can see, it doesn't have to be directly relevant to your work, just something in the area. The talks were open to anyone in the company, including marketing, sales, product management, etc. Some of the talks were even given by people in those groups, like the last one in the list above.
    The talks were held every Friday at 1pm, and lasted about an hour. Many people brought lunch. It was strictly optional, although it was generally considered reserved time, such that other meetings wouldn't be scheduled then.
    Some were powerpoint slides. Others just used the whiteboard. Some had handouts. Some had live software demos.
    As one of the more senior people, I offered to help anyone who wnated to do a topic, but didn't know what to talk about. The design pattern book was a good stand-by. You could do one or two patterns in a hour. Junior people also needed help just with general presentation skills.
    I started off the first few talks, to get it rolling, although I made it clear if others didn't volunteer, I wouldn't be filling in as I had with our earlier program.

    --Mark
 
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