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 :)

Day Camp For Developers

I'm very excited by a new virtual event which is coming up, and at which I have been invited to speak. This is Day Camp 4 Developers, an event aimed at developers of all disciplines and focussing on the soft skills that sometimes we miss in our pursuit of technical excellence. I'll be giving my talk "Open Source Your Career", which looks at how being involved in open source outside of work can improve our professional development. The event is on November 6th, and you can buy tickets here.

There are a number of things that really appeal to me about this event: Continue reading

Working with Web Services - Froscon 2010

This weekend I'm at froscon in Germany, giving two talks. One had no slides (but may have video, if I see it then I will post the link here) and the other was "Working with Web Services" which I gave this morning in the PHP room. My slides are here:

Thanks to the PHP room organisers for accepting me as a speaker and to Sebastian for twisting my arm in the first place - it's a fun event!

Geeks Can Write

A couple of weeks ago I gave a lightning talk at the PHPNW user group entitled "Geeks Can Write" or "Can Geeks Write?" - basically shooting down the worst of the excuses for not writing that I've heard and asking everyone to give it a shot! If you are interested, then the slides are on slideshare. Happy writing :)

Keynoting at PHPNW10

I'm slightly surprised but mostly wildly excited to announce that I'll be the keynote speaker at the PHP North West Conference in October. It is held in Manchester in the UK, which is about an hour from where I live in Leeds, so it is definitely my "home" conference, and this makes me even more excited since I know I'll be in such great company!

The talk is Teach A Man To Fish: Coaching Development Teams and really it's about how a little investment of time or effort can build your existing team into something better - and how that team can then sustain its improvements and continue to raise its performance and the game of the individual team members. All in all I am pretty excited about this talk - as with most of my conference talks, it started life as a rant in a bar, and I'm now excited to be preparing it for a more formal setting!

The event itself is a must-see for anyone doing PHP or allied technologies that can get there (Manchester is pretty central and pretty cheap - if you're in the UK, you have no excuses!). It's a Saturday event, 9th October 2010 and tickets are on sale - the Early Bird prices are still available and we've held the prices as low as possible again, we don't need frills, we just want lots of people to be able to join in! I hope to see quite a few of you there, let me know if you're coming :)

Speaking at FrOSCon

In August I'll be attending FrOSCon in Germany for the first time, and speaking there. It's a mixed technology conference, with rooms set aside for separate scheduling for various projects and technologies. I'll be speaking in the PHP room, delivering "Working With Web Services", a talk which covers how to consume all sorts of types of web service from PHP. I'm excited about that and even more excited to hear that I'll also be speaking in the main track, where I'll deliver "Open Source Your Career" - stories and advice about how involvement in open source can positively influence the career path for each of us.

I haven't visited this part of Europe before so I'm also including a couple of days to see the area, and really looking forward to the trip. Since there are technologies other than PHP, and since I'm rarely in Germany, I know I'm going to meet a lot of new people ... and I can't wait :)

PHPNW10: Call for Papers

It's official, PHP North West 2010 is definitely happening ... and for that we'll need some people to pop along and give a talk! As in previous years, we'll first of all deal with selecting the papers for our main conference day, 9th October. Talks can be 60 minutes or 30 minutes, can be on any subject if you can persuade us it's relevant to PHP developers, and speakers anywhere on the spectrum from expert to newbie are welcome.

So what are you waiting for? Go submit your talk at our call for papers page. If you need more assistance then you should check out these resources (and yes, some of them are mine but I feel strongly about this topic and want all you interesting and hesitant people to start speaking!)

Are you submitting? What tips would you offer to those thinking of doing so? Already we're at over 50 submissions, more than last year, so competition is tough but oh my goodness, I'm so excited :)

Your Open Source Stories

In this post, I am asking for your help and input, although it might seem like a post about nothing in particular to begin with. Please keep reading!

Last month, I gave a talk at TEK-X entitled "Open Source Your Career". Personally I think that a lot of the high fliers in this profession use their community activities as a boost to their professional development, and I know that this has been true for me too. So in my talk I told stories about situations I'd met in my professional life and how I'd either achieved or made new opportunities by building on skills and experience (and network) that I've come across in my community activities.

For example I said to my CTO, Ivo Jansch that I was giving this talk and he asked what it was about. I said that, in a nutshell, I didn't think Ibuildings would have trusted any of their developers to host the Dutch PHP Conference unless they'd seen that person hosting events elsewhere - as a volunteer co-host of PHPNW, I gained some experience doing this sort of thing. His response really brought home how true it is that getting out there can reap rewards in ways we don't expect - or in my case don't even recognise. He simply said "one reason you have the job you have now is the fact that you did an oracle podcast for zend once which I heard when I received your CV". It hadn't occurred to me that activities like that would have helped when I was changing jobs.

What I Need From You

I'm giving this talk again, at FrOSCon in Germany in August. It was a huge amount of fun to deliver last time but I'd really like to pull in more stories from other people to include in my talk. So ... have you ever got involved with something outside of your day job, only to realise later that it was a good career move? And would you let me tell your story?

Answers on a postcard, by email, or in the comments field below. Any and all input is very gratefully received :)