# Wednesday, 26 September 2007

jaoo2007_1 A software practitioner's adventures in pursuit of excellence. Being a personal account of one practitioner's encounters with fellow travelers and what he learned therefrom; claiming no particular authority or qualities, but aiming to arouse his colleague's curiosities on the subject matter. What is our work like? Our skills depend on sophisticated knowledge that your clients usually prefer to remain ignorant of. We've acquired most of your skill and knowledge through practice, imitation or mentoring rather than formal training. We work on complex projects that require a plurality of disciplines working in complementary manner. We have a professional interest in social networks.

Our work, while taken for granted, often forms the very underpinnings of your age's society. Yet we are the subject of great pressure to lower your wages, increase our performance.

What other professions read like that? Cathedrals builders in the 17th century.

Ridiculously brief history of journeyman's organizations: Craftsmen organize in associations (guilds) as early as ancient times (2000BC) in all parts of the work. Form the end of the XIth century, Europe's binge of Crusades and Cathedrals yields a body of knowledge. Trade associations rooted in the cathedral builder lore are suppressed through the Middle Ages, during the rule of associations rules from the top (bosses' associations). Clandestine worker's associations stabilize into the European compagnonnages from the XVIIth century.

Compagnonnage is a traveling worker's associations. Craftsmen pool money as mutual insurance against injuries, illness, lean times. Learning is from each other, and on the job. Societies preserve and pass on traditional skills and knowledge. Rituals , legends, and symbols structure teaching.

Industrialization and war influences compagnonnage is outlawed in France in 1791 (repealed in 1864). In parallel, industrialization and mess education compete effectively with its traditions. The two wars of the XXth century disintegrate the network of societies, leaving only splinters.

With the rapid changes of IT today structuring our like the journeyman form can be a good way to ensure that the fluent body of knowledge is passed onto new members of our profession and indeed keeping up with the changes themselves.

As you can probably gather at this point is that this session was pretty much a self promoting one in which Laurent Bossavit primarily talked about the history of the journeyman history and his own experience with the journeyman concept, getting invited into the organization, and learning how it worked. The journeyman organization to me is something that doesn't apply very much to a country like Denmark. His premise was basically that we are under pressure of lower salaries all the while being more effective is just not as big a problem as in his home country. The journeyman concept to me seems like an archaic way of organizing when we have concepts like usergroups and other community events; basically the journey man stuff seems to be overglorified version of that same concept.

So really not my kind of session and I see a lot of people agreeing with me, there's a lot of voting with the feet going on as I type this.

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