Software Craftmanship Local Chapter How-to

On May 4th, I participated for the first time in a meetup of the Software Craftmanship Berlin group, a meetup I have been part of for quite a while already, but never managed to participate in be. This time, the meetup took place remotely and was in a Lean Coffee discussion format, so the barriers were rather low. Among a number of other topics we discussed, we also spoke about how to set up your own local chapter of this meetup in your city, as one of the participants, Frank, is looking to do just that for Dresden, where he is based. In this post, which I am looking to improve further in the future, I aim to summarise some of the ideas we had around this topic.

Core Organizing Team

Solo-organizing is always very hard, so one of the most crucial things to get things going is finding 2, 3 like-minded, reliable co-organizers as quickly as possible. If you cannot manage to find these among your friends before the first meetup, this should be a priority for the first couple meetups.

Finding a Location

While it is very easy these days to find different companies to host your meetup, we quickly agreed that this is probably not a good idea initially. The companies will have expectations about the size of the crowd, which, in the first months you just cannot guarantee. Therefore, starting out with your own employer or a suitable community space as the default host, with more modest expectations, is probably the better idea.

Setting a Rhythm, Weekday & Time

Another key factor which we agreed upon as important in making your local Software Craftmanship meetup chapter a success is that you meet in regular intervals, on a fixed weekday and time. This is a major factor in getting some of the participants to come back.

Dealing with Newcomers & Regulars

One topic that is more specific to Software Craftmanship than the previous points which are very general is how best to deal with the mix of newcomers and regulars, or people deeply into the topic, at the meetup. I do not think that we came to much of a concrete conclusion here, Martin Klose just shared his experience with the Berlin meetup that people only showing up once is quite normal and to be expected.

Have you made some experiences with setting up your own local chapter and do you have something to add? Let me know on Twitter, so I can improve this post.