What We’re Reading
Currently we are halfway through Head First Design Patterns by Eric Freeman. This book has been an enjoyable read and includes easy-to-understand examples and code snippets that translate well into material refresher during discussions.
Members read a chapter a month and participate in an hour-long lunch meeting to review and discuss the chapter. Roughly half of the meeting is dedicated to review and lecture about the chapter material and the remainder is left for discussion. Since discussion is a valuable part of the book club, we encourage members to bring up any discussion items as the material review is in progress. We also have a dedicated Slack channel where people can post thoughts, articles, and discussion ideas related to the current chapter between meetings.
We have a team of technical book club champions who help with reserving room space and other logistical issues in each office. I have led most of the book club sessions, but we are open to any volunteers to lead and present material at a meeting. Putting together a presentation is a time commitment, but it only takes a couple of dedicated people to keep it going.
DMC has eight offices across the United States, and we are very used to collaborating on projects across all our offices (OneDMC!). However, this geographical diversity brought a unique challenge to running a book club in a way that would allow for inclusive discussion between all offices.
We tried out a few different formats before we discovered what works best. Initially, we reviewed the chapter as one large group and then broke out into smaller groups, typically regionally led, for exercises and discussion. To keep a common theme during discussion, we had different groups/offices thread interesting ideas that had come up during discussion on our #tech-bookclub Slack channel. This worked out well for the most part, but it was difficult for members in offices with smaller attendance to participate fully in discussion.
Our solution was to start utilizing the video conferencing abilities of Zoom, inspired by some of our internal user groups. This allows all user group attendees, whether calling in remotely or sitting in a meeting room with others, to independently join the Zoom call and turn on their laptop cameras. This strategy has greatly improved the cross-office discussion experience and enables us to keep one large discussion group.
DMC employees from across the company participate in a monthly technical book club meeting
We’re a year old at this point, but still relatively young in book club years. We will continue to experiment with, and improve, our process and implementation to maximize the benefits of the meetings. Hopefully, our next book will appeal across all of DMC’s service areas (Automation, Test & Measurement, Application Development, Embedded Development, Digital Workplace Solutions) so that we can get a larger diversity of engineers involved.
Learn more about DMC's company culture.