A Tale of Two User Groups

This post is probably only relevant if you're interested in PHP and UK-based. In the next few weeks I'll be at some user groups that I don't manage to visit often. On Thursday, 3rd March, I'll be at PHP East Midlands to talk about Design Patterns. On Tuesday, 12th April, I'll be at PHP West Midlands, also speaking but this time about OAuth. I may make it to one or other of PHPNW and LeedsPHP user groups in that time as well ... and all of those are within 2 hours' driving of my home! PHP is alive and well where I live, my great respect and thanks goes to all the community leaders who make these groups happen - thank you all :)

27 Ways To Be A Better PHP Developer

Last weekend I was at the PHPBenelux 2011 conference in Antwerp. As conferences go it was pretty awesome, completely surpassing my expectations in many ways! The schedule was published in advance but I somehow forgot how many friends I have in that part of the world and what a wonderful crowd there is at this event. My hearty congratulations to all the organisers and my thanks to everyone who attended - they used joind.in for the feedback and there are plenty of comments on there too, which I now consider a metric of how engaged a community is!

I was at the conference to give a keynote with ex-colleague and good friend Ivo Jansch. We gave our new talk "27 Ways To Be a Better Developer" in the opening keynote slot, which was a lot of fun (even if I did freak out slightly and hide in the middle). Ivo and I have lots of experience of working with developers, recruiting, running teams, and we had a great time working out *which* 27 items to include and how to tell the story. It was a little bit hectic since we had about 50 minutes to give the talk but we had some generous reviews and so many people have come and told me about one or two points that have made a big impact on them. These are the slides:

Thanks again to all who made this event what it was - organisers, sponsors, speakers and attendees!

Speaking at DIBI

In June 2011 I'll be speaking at a rather awesome event called DIBI at the Sage in Gateshead (if you're a southerner, then Gateshead is near Newcastle, which is "up north"). DIBI stands for "Design It, Build It" and has two tracks, one focussing on development and one focussing on design. Last year was their first event and although I didn't attend, I have only heard good things about both the conference and the socials!

I love it when really fantastic events happen in the north, especially because I'm based in Leeds and have ties to the North East, so I'm very excited to be speaking. Tickets go on sale in the New Year and I hope I'll see lots of you at the Sage on 8th June!

Keynoting at PHPBenelux

Have you got your tickets for PHPBenelux yet? If not then I hope you will do so because I would love to see you there!

I'll be delivering a keynote at the PHPBenelux Conference in Antwerp in January alongside my good friend Ivo Jansch. Between us we've got plenty of stories to tell from our experiences in various areas of development and we'd like to share those with you! I hope you'll come along and join us, and if you are quick you can catch the early bird prices, saving 50 euro.

On a personal note I have many great friends in this part of the world and I'm super-excited to know that I'm able to visit and see both the old friends I know well and the new friends I haven't met yet. I attended this conference last year and it had a great atmosphere; this year the content is better again and with three tracks, I don't know how we'll choose which sessions to see!

Are you attending? Leave a comment and make sure to come and say hi at the conference in Belgium :)

Be My Guest for DayCamp4Developers

This weekend I'm presenting at DayCamp4Developers, a virtual event comprising a full day of workshops for developers of all disciplines to improve their soft skills and move forward in their career. I get to attend since I'm speaking, but even after I've given my slot I know I'll be online to watch the other talks and I know I'll learn something myself! I believe that, however good your technical skills are, being able to communicate effectively means the different between being the bearded expert in the corner who knows everything but has been in the same job 10 years, and being the high flier that soft skills and technical skills combined could make you.

I have one guest ticket for this event, and I want to make sure that it goes to someone who will make good use of it. So, if you would like to be my guest for DayCamp4Developers, this weekend 6th November, then leave me a comment and tell me why you want to attend. In a couple of days (probably Wednesday evening, UK time) I'll close the comments and pick a winner - put your email address in the comments box (it isn't displayed) so I can reach you and let you know.

If you don't win, and want to join us anyway, then you can still buy tickets. Check with your local user group if they have an affiliate code and if not - use this link to buy your tickets, using my affiliate code ;)

Looking forward to "seeing" everyone on Saturday!

Posted in php

My Talk Filing System

Three years ago, I had never spoken in public (I have video of that first attempt and all I can say is that I've come a long, long way!). Since then, I've done rather a lot of it. I've submitted countless conference talks, had the minority of those accepted, and prepared and delivered those that were. Not many talks have been given twice, but some have, and now some are getting rebranded since I am working for myself and can choose my own slide branding these days. All this adds up to a lot of content to keep track of!

Continue reading

Return on Investment: Example

I gave a talk at the weekend which talked in outline terms about Return on Investment or ROI. It was a keynote so I skated over the details, but I wanted to include a specific example to illustrate what I meant.

Imagine the scenario where, given 3 days to work on it, a developer can get the deployment time for their code down from 3 hours to 20 minutes. This company does, on average, 42 deployments per year (you can guess these numbers are totally imaginary).

So 3 days at 7.5 hours per day means we are investing 22.5 hours on this.

The return is the difference between the deployments, multiplied by the number of deployments that are needed. So 3 hours is 180 minutes - so we save (180 - 20) = 160 minutes with each deploy. We do that 42 times in a year so we've saved 6720 minutes (per year) which is 112 hours or 14.9 days.

Project managers might not like to lose 3 days from their schedule but how do they feel about having a spare 3 weeks each year?

PHPNW10: Teach a Man to Fish

Last weekend I gave a talk at PHPNW10 in Manchester, entitled "Teach a Man to Fish". This is a keynote about teams and how to use the resources around you to create a team where individuals and the whole team continues to learn and develop. The slides are not very detailed, but I'll be blogging some of the items I mentioned (requests welcome, if you saw it and would like to see any of it written down then just leave me a comment!). Slides:

Speaking at PHP London, October 2010

In October I will be speaking at the PHP London user group on Thursday 7th at the Theodore Bullfrog pub in London. I'm giving a new talk called "The Source Control Landscape", looking at the products currently available in the source control arena, how the distributed systems have changed the landscape, and how we can choose between them all today. I'm really looking forward to the event, it's always a good crowd and I love to meet new people as well as meet up with existing friends - see you there :)