With a new year comes a new challenge, and with the dawn of 2020 comes my new role of a Developer Chapter Lead, or DCL. Through hard work, passion, and a love of software people I’ve been chosen as one of the first in my organization to take on this exciting new role. This is what I’ve discovered in my first 90 days.

For Context — What is a Developer Chapter Lead? What is a Chapter? What the Heck are you Talking About!?

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A chapter is a group of professionals from various cross-functional teams that embody the same role in their day-to-day life. There can be chapters for developers, designers, scrum masters, product owners, you name it. Their whole purpose is to develop & share the knowledge & skills needed to excel in this role, and set standards for how a professional should do their job. …


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When we first start writing code, many of us will find ourselves falling into one of two camps. One focuses on the code itself, considering clean, intelligent, modern code to be the ultimate goal, with working software as the happy byproduct. The other focuses on the software we’re making & it’s place in the world, considering code as merely a tool to solve issues & execute on visions.

As a young gung-ho developer I very much exemplified the latter. I got into software to solve the world’s problems, and code seemed like the best medium for me to do so. Throughout my first couple internships my focus was entirely on delivering functionality to users, through whatever means necessary. …


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Scrum is claimed to do many things. Create awesome software in no time, immediately turn average teams into unstoppable juggernauts, cure cancer, etc.

In reality, Scrum doesn’t do anything. It’s simply a framework to help teams handle complex projects prone to change. I think of Scrum as simply shining a few different types of light on projects and development teams.

Scrum is a Flashlight

The first retro I ever ran didn’t go so well. As a young, wide-eyed developer-playing-ScrumMaster 3 months out of college, I burst into the room 30 minutes early to set up my grand vision of whiteboard columns, flipcharts, and sticky notes. In my head I pictured a perfect retro, where the team would ask themselves hard questions, question everything about their process, and have profound epiphanies about how to become the perfect team. Of course reality didn’t match expectation, and upon asking “What went well?”, I faced a sea of blank expressions. Worse, the “imagine the team in one year” exercise bombed so hard a treaty was signed in Geneva over it. Although I had prepared the floor for rigorous self-reflection, the team was only one sprint in, and we hadn’t developed the data or skills needed to fully self-reflect. …

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