Please bear with me as I lay out the scenario and follow up with the questions. Hopefully I will be coherent.
Here's a memo that landed in my inbox.
Three trainees have joined us. They have lot of energy and enthusiasm that needs to be channeled in the right direction. They have undergone a 'generic' rampup program and would need specific coaching to rampup on J2EE topics. Please volutneer if you could 'own' them, to ensure that they are ramped up and productive in 4-6 weeks months timeframe.
Seemed like an interesting assignment and also an opportunity to influence young minds. I took up this up.
They were pretty tired of class room training and wanted to be on a live project.
Here's a barebones outline I came up with.
Week 1 -HTTP/Tomcat/Servlets
Week 2 -JSP
Week 3 -Servlets/JSP/Beans
Week 4 -Tag libs/Struts
Week 5 -CVS, Eclipse (debugging thru eclipse), ANT
Week 6 -EJB /OR Tools
I gave them a sample project (a slice from an existing RFP) and asked them to develop it.
I gave them some conceptual direction for some of the topics but that's about it. They had to figure out everything on their own and make a small informal presentation on their learnings each week. They would be exploring the same functionality each week but the approach varies. The idea is not to teach them everything there is in J2EE but enough to get things done.
They struggled a bit initially (Took them 2 days to get Tomcat running) , but have now started to find their way around and seem to be enjoying.
My questions are.
1. Does the approach make sense ? Or should it be a mix of formal classroom and hands on sample project ?
2. Would an open book kind of test on concepts at the end of each week help ?
3. What measures can I use to convince PM's (who only want them for making test scripts or <Shudder> crystal reports </Shudder>
that these guys are now useful and can be productive ?
4. Should I pack more stuff in as the PM's want (JMS,XML parsers, ...) or is the current coverage sufficient ?
5. Is there a formal training/teaching approach which deals with situations like these ?
6. Any similar experiences and how did you'll handle this ?
I am a Project Manager (Not the Pointy haired type as Yet
). I have mentored junior developers in my career and have generally enjoyed it. I want to make this a process which will continue to be useful and continue to evolve.