Martin is a Nottingham-based front-end web developer, currently working with Kainos.

Passionate about learning, building and supporting services and user experiences that matter.

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Sharing in Knowledge Organisations

The Art of Code: At the agency I work at we run periodical show-and-tell events where our specialists in consumer trends, technology, digital and print design talk about what they’ve been working on and share their work with others in the business...and provide biscuits.

Public speaking ranks decidedly among the things likely to forget how to speak. I’d probably rather be having a filling. However it was this aversion that spurred me to overcome that self-obsessed anxiety and actually go after the thing that makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Of course, this is a common anxiety and one we can overcome with practice and willingness to forgo our cares about others’ perceptions of us. In personal development, we must recognise the need to constantly expand one’s comfort zone as a means to growth. Indeed, each anxiety or impediment we feel is an opportunity for overcoming.

Well now, our humble dev team got our chance to talk about what we do on the web, what tools we use, and some of the code we’re using to solve clients’ problems. Together with my colleagues; Stu and Will - we commandeered the exhibition space for a hour and drew a curious (at least for now!) crowd from around the business to find out what it is web developers do. Well I’m glad they asked and hopefully so were they!

In curating our tour of ‘what is web developer’, we poured over all the stuff we could include - the cat gifs, bad puns dry step-throughs of code - then after deciding that was just all wrong, chucking it all out and starting again with something more light-hearted. We presented our session: The Art of Code.

It was a great opportunity to share some of the principles and tools we use; a whistlestop tour of our development environment for the uninitiated, and how we solve problems - mostly with Javascript!

We had great feedback and I think we achieved what we set out to do: to approach a shared understanding and empathy between Project Managers and other non-technical stakeholders in our web projects. More personally, I felt an easing of my anxieties around public speaking.

Sharing what we know #

There’s little in our work more satisfying than sharing what we know - what we take for granted and often don’t give ourselves credit for. Sharing knowledge and teaching others is a great multiplier and adds greater visibility and so confidence in our colleagues.

My non-dev colleagues in Sales, Insight, Marketing, Media production etc may be doing a different function - they may not be writing the code itself, but by instilling confidence in those people in direct client contact we can really affect what happens during those early conversations by cultivating that shared, joined up understanding of what it is we do.

Not only can product owners and sales functions provide more value to clients when there’s this shared understanding, but also internal communication is made much more compassionate, and with less friction when there’s more common ground between Product and Project Managers, and Developers. It ensures we’re working towards the same goals for our and the client’s business.

Each of us are for the most part limited to a single perspective most of the time; we apply our knowledge, experience and best judgement to our own situation; bringing to bear what we know on our own goals, but we are single-threaded beings, tethered by a narrow subjective experience. If we’re to generate more change in the world, positive input into our environment, we need to somehow create a multiplier effect, which is why having internal show-and-tell sessions is so important for knowledge organisations. It gets knowledge in the open where it can be re-applied, re-interpreted, and new value found by others.

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