What is that?
The purpose of any club is to bring a group of people together to learn and discuss something that matters to them, have fun doing it, and end up having a positive impact on them. A book club is no different.
Why did we start one?
In AREX we have a team that loves to explore and talk about different technical ideas to improve our code base, ways of working, methodologies, culture and so on. We have a strong learning culture and we constantly encourage our employees to improve themselves. So what happened before creating the club was that some people were exploring different topics individually but after that the discussion with the other members was not possible since the level of knowledge was not the same (except in some occasions that could be the case). So as engineers that we are, we started to think how we can solve that gap and we ended up deciding to create the
Tech Book Club.
The main points for us are:
- Have a common space where we can discuss with the same knowledge base.
- Sharing ideas is the key to success. 2 people can read the same thing and understand something completely different. So it is very important for us to share those ideas and discuss them to reach agreements.
- The previous technical knowledge you have is not important. Everyone is welcome to join the reading and discussion in a respectful and inclusive way.
- All club members are improving, so the level of the company improves as well.
- We learn in a fun way.
How does it work?
We have a dedicated Slack channel for the club, so everything related to it is posted there. Before we start a new book, we ask the members to propose the next book(s) they consider interesting to read and a brief description of why we should read it. Then we put all the books in a poll and we vote during a few days and the book with more votes will be the one selected. We use the O’Reilly Media platform for that. There we have a playlist in the website where we add the books that we are reading and the members have access to that list, so we can share the same links between us in order to facilitate the communication. Every 2 weeks we have a meeting where we have a discussion about what we have read, what we liked, what we don’t like, if we can apply something to our company. At the end of the session we agree on the number of pages / sections / chapters for the next session. Sometimes it’s difficult to calculate what’s the right After each meeting we log the session into a Confluence page for keeping track of the highlights. So at the end of the book we have all the highlights summarised in one place.
One idea that we have for the future (because currently we don’t have time) is to send out a survey after each session. This will help us to know from the members, what worked and what didn’t work and improve for the next session.
The Tech Book Club started in December 2021 and we’ve read completely 3 books:
- Microservices Patterns, by Chris Richardson
- Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems, by Steve Krug
- Test Driven Development: By Example, by Kent Beck
Currently we are reading Software Engineering at Google, by Titus Winters, Tom Manshreck, Hyrum Wright.
A Tech Book Club is a great way to level up your team in an inclusive, safe and fun way. That will have a positive impact on them, but also at the company level. Also, don’t neglect inviting other departments to the club as it will help build social connections and improve collaboration between them, so don’t make it private just for your team.
I hope everything that I have tried to explain in this post has been clear and please if there is any part that has not been completely clear or there are parts that I have not covered that you would like me to do, leave me a comment right here or through my social networks that you have on my profile and I will be happy to respond.