Office Hours is a mentoring program as part of The jbrains Experience. Twice per month, members join me for a 2-hour live group mentoring session. They ask questions and get answers both from their fellow group members and from me.
During Office Hours, I offer mentoring. I’ve adopted the International Coaching Federation’s meaning of the term: I try to understand your situation and your context, then offer you advice on how to proceed. This differs from training or coaching, because on the one hand you choose the topic (like coaching), but on the other hand I advise you explicitly (like training). If you’d prefer coaching, we can do that, but that’s another service. Let me know if that interests you.
Office Hours is the place for you to go if you need answers.
[I] just wanted to mention again that i value those office hours (live and chat) a lot. usually my questions are closely related to something that came up at work during the week, making your answers relevant and ease/calm my thoughts about things that came up that i otherwise wouldnt discuss with someone. – A member of The jbrains Experience
How Does It Work?
I schedule two sessions per month, one convenient for time zones in the Americas and another convenient for time zones in Europe/Africa. I deeply apologize to the Pacific Rim and Australia/New Zealand: I have to sleep some time. As a compromise, I usually schedule one session per month on a Friday night or Saturday very early morning (Sydney time) to give folks in those regions a chance to participate.
We run sessions for 2 hours, although I sometimes can stay late if the situation dictates that. Don’t worry: if you need to leave on time, nobody will ask you to stay late!
A group of anywhere from 3 to 20 people join for each session. We take some questions in advance and we take some in the moment. Although I’m offering advice, I’m quite happy to see members of the group advising each other. Who knows? Maybe one of my Office Hours sessions will help launch someone else’s consulting career! I’d love that!
Which Topics Will We Cover?
My brain is open.
I tend to attract programming-focused people, but we can also talk about more general topics in software development, general business, and even life at large. (I am not trying to be a Life Coach nor a therapist, I promise.) Here are some examples:
- Evolutionary design, TDD, testing, refactoring, software design.
- Building helpful working habits, managing your workload, managing time, managing energy.
- Exploring products, splitting features, improving project plans.
- Interpersonal communication, teamwork, influencing others without authority.
- Becoming a freelancer, personal finance, serial retirement.
- Why am I so judgmental? impatient? quick to anger? frustrated?
- What should I do with the rest of my life? (No, really.)
I promise you two things:
- If I don’t have a good answer, then I will say so directly. No bullshit.
- If I think that we are moving into therapy territory, then I will stop trying to advise you and encourage you to seek therapy. (It occasionally happens.)
Here are some of my influences, so that you have an idea what to expect:
- I’m an old Extreme Programming (XP) dude.
- My bag of tricks is somewhat “Agile-shaped”, even though I don’t push any particular framework. (Yes, I’m an old XP dude, but that doesn’t mean that I sell XP.)
- My consulting practice is informed by the work of, among others:
- Jerry Weinberg (Psychology of Computer Programming, Secrets of Consulting, others)
- Virginia Satir (I promise, I won’t try to be a therapist)
- Nancy Kline (Time to Think)
- Robert Kegan (How the Way We Talk Changes the Way We Work)
- Marshall Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication)
- Diana Larsen (Agile Retrospectives)
- Patrick Lencioni (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job)
- Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister (Slack, Peopleware, Waltzing with Bears)
- Johanna Rothman (Manage It!)
- The Pragmatic Programmers
- Kent Beck, Ron Jeffries, Alistair Cockburn
- I combine systems thinking, Theory of Constraints, the 3X Model, Lean Startup, and Toyota Production System with empathy, compassion, and a focus on helping people adopt helpful habits.
There’s more, but that gives you an idea.