A year ago I came across the National Novel Writing Month which is basically a challenge to aspiring authors to dedicate themselves to complete the writing of a novel within a month. This seemed like a good challenge; after all, we all have a novel within us somewhere. However, what I like doing better than writing a novel is computer programming. Therefore my novel kept getting pushed back by bits of development I was doing.
At the same time I was writing an iPhone app for my son for his Christmas present. This was good for two reasons – 1) it was a present for him and 2) it was a chance to finally do some different things I had been wanting to try out in Objective C. So, I had the project, I had the motivation and most of all I had a fixed deadline – Christmas was not going to be pushed back because of an incomplete piece of software.
Like most developers I have a list of new technologies, languages and patterns that I want to try out and just like the great novel that is inside us all there are always more important things to be done. There is no defined project and no defined deadline so nothing really gets done.
What I liked about the “nanowrimo” concept was that it created a focus, it created a deadline to work towards and it created a sense of community of other people all working towards the same goal. So why not create something like that for development?
Hence, I came up with the concept of Progvember (programming in November – get it?!). This would be a month where developers set themselves a challenge to define and project and complete it – to take some of the ideas that have been there for a while and set a deadline to get them done. November seemed a good time of year to do it – long dark nights, cold, wet weather (apart from our southern hemisphere Provemberers) and all that most people are doing is sitting in, or maybe growing a moustache for Movember.
On the back of this I wanted to also create a sense of community of other developers who are also setting themselves the same challenge, and also to create a forum where people can ask/offer to help on other people’s projects.
And so I have created Progvember.com. Anyone is welcome to come and sign up.