Friday, November 4, 2011

Working effectively with novices

So I have two books that I highly recommend.

First let me explain where I'm coming from: First I'm a professor, mentor, and trainer, and I always have to try to express my knowledge about Flash and Flex to people who are brand new.

Second, as a consultant, architect, and developer, I frequently need to express the value of TDD, Agile, CI, and lots of other really good things, that are not quite development.

These books highlight the differences between a novice's brain and an expert's, and how to start bridging that gap.

Pragmatic Thinking & Learning by Andy Hunt, talks about the novice versus expert brain. How the brain interprets and responds to signals. This is written by programmers, and is incredibly useful.

For me, this book answered the question of why did my project managers always seem to make decisions that I didn't agree with and I urged against.

Made To Stick by Chip & Dan Heath, is a fantastic book about what makes an idea or concept "sticky". Why do we remember certain stories, advertisments, urban legands after hearing them once, yet things critical to our job we forget the moment we leave the meeting.

I feel like this book would have been helpful for me to persuade the aforementioned managers of why some of the things I was staying was important.

For me, these two books are game changers. I re-written my entire University of Houston, "Intro to Multimedia" course to target the novice brain better, and I'm working on incorporating more sticky ideas too.

Because I'm so excited by these books, I've had to share.

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