By Jennifer McCool, Operations Consultant
I am not a tech person. I feel that I owe this disclaimer up front. As a matter of fact, I once broke the little feet off a keyboard after getting frustrated; I just used post-it note pads to prop it up for a while. I am; however, a professional organizer that specializes in businesses. As such, I love efficiency.
When I was asked to shadow a client while she gave a presentation to a project management group, the Northwest Arkansas Project Management Institute, I said yes but secretly I wondered how I would take notes on a subject that I am not familiar with? (I didn’t do very well-my notes were pretty sparse.) Even so, by the end of the evening I had come to the conclusion that project management is tech organizing and actually pretty interesting. Here’s what happened:
I arrived early, got out my laptop and tried to look like I knew what was going on. Psssh, I got this. People started arriving, and good crowd started to accumulate. Not surprisingly, most of the attendees came from our favorite local retailer. My client, Sarah Daigle, the Founder and CTO of Currant Technology Group, got up to speak and I was prepared to be confused.
She started with her background and what her company does for their clients. She spoke about SMART audits and referring out versus subcontracting, and explaining how to decided when something is a good fit and when something is not a good fit. Then she said she had a video to show, an Introduction to Scrum. This sounded promising since usually when something is an introduction it’s written for the inexperienced. Seven minutes later, the video was over and I was in love.
Scrum is a project development methodology meant to be faster and more flexible that the traditional process by working in short, overlapping stages. The scrum process is meant to be more responsive to changes during the process, which is divided in to sprints.
By working in short bursts, on specific deliverables, that go to completion in that manageable timeframe, scrum is not unlike organizing. Take a large project, set smaller, specific goals, work one goal to completion, then go to the next specific goal. You have something to show for your work immediately, can adapt to a client changing their mind mid-project, and can easily correct errors without unraveling the whole project or having to start over. YES! Efficiency is sexy, people!
The meeting was supposed to be over at 7:30 but most of the attendees stayed late to participate in an exercise, using scrum to plan a backyard BBQ. I sat back and listened intently to the details and stories, amused by the interactions. Yes, scrum is for software development … and planning a great party.
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By Sarah Daigle and Jennifer McCool
Take a minute and think back to your childhood, specifically the eighth grade. What kind of person were you? What did you think about? If you were like me, you thought about boys and teasing your bangs into a rat’s nest. You might have thought about more than that (hopefully) but were you thinking about your high school and college education and maybe even your future career? Doubtful.
That is a very awkward time in a person’s life. Any person’s life. But what if you were an eighth grade girl who really enjoyed technology? Excelled at a field, traditionally, made up of boys? Where is your outlet? Who do you talk to about things like that; where do you get reassurance that you can be a coder or engineer if that’s what you really want?
Luckily, the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas has a plan. A two-day conference held for 150 eighth grade girls, from all over Arkansas, aimed at exposing girls to all the facets of careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). The girls who wish to attend this event apply by answering essay questions. One of the questions asks about the students’ short term and long term education goals. It may be an effort to apply but if chosen, these girls can learn from women with the same drive and interests. Women who can reassure them that it is okay to be interested, excel, and kick butt in these traditionally male-oriented fields. Smart, successful women who have made their way and are passing their experiences on.
Girls of Promise is meant to inspire young girls and help nurture this budding interest. This free conference has speakers, learning activities, and opportunity. These young ladies spend time building websites, applications, and going to museums – with other girls like them. A promise is made at the end of the conference by each attendee. In one year, those promises will be sent back to the girls as a reminder, a connection. You are smart; you are capable; you can do this.
This year, my session included some basic HTML and CSS to build web pages. We did it the ‘hard’ way with old fashioned text editor. When you progress to building larger sites, there are amazing tools to speed up the work. Think about using pencil and paper versus a calculator.
Using some elements of curriculum by Chad Williamson of Noble Impact, the girls shared some of their aspirations, accomplishments, and style.
Lastly, we gave them a taste of what coding means to the interactive world through the fun video-guided lessons with Star Wars’ Rey and Leia from Code.org, fun for all ages 6 to 106.
Take a few minutes and solve your first puzzle. You might just get addicted!
Know a girl who’d love this event? Subscribe to the email list, and we’ll notify you when the registration opens for the 2017 event.
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