The local school that will be using the applications developed during the Dandelion work experience program were today given the opportunity to come on-site at Hewlett Packard Enterprise to meet Dandy and the Development Team!
The demonstration given by the work experience candidates was extremely well received, and we saw some amazing responses to Dandy.
One of the core concepts of agile project management is the ability to reflect on what you have done, to ensure that you are constantly refining and improving the way in which you work. As part of this, the Dandelion work experience program candidates had a Scrum event knows as a Sprint Retrospective.
This involves the team meeting and writing notes to prompt group discussion in three areas: what went well, what did not go so well, and improvements that can be made for the next sprint. Some excellent thoughts, ideas, and suggestions were brought up, and the development team had a great time planning improvements for the rest of the project!
We have been seeing fantastic teamwork, thoughtful discussion, rigorous planning, and excellent demonstration of technical skills from the Dandelion work experience program candidates ! With the end of the week approaching, they are finalising the details on the items that they want to deliver for the first week!
Throughout the second week, the Dandelion work experience program candidates will be given the opportunity to hear from subject matter experts from within Hewlett Packard Enterprise. These ‘Day in the Life’ sessions will focus around what kinds of roles and responsibilities exist in an organization such as HPE, what their day to day job entails, as well as where they sit within the software development life-cycle and how they interact with the other parts.
The aim of these sessions is to give the candidates an idea of what kinds of roles there are within the information technology industry; something that is often overlooked during university study. Over the course of the week, the students will interact with Business Analysts, Architects, Developers, Testers, and other such roles. The candidates found these sessions to be extremely valuable experiences.
During the second week, the Dandelion work experience program candidates will begin development work on their project, as well as have the opportunity to attend ‘Day in the Life’ sessions with various subject matter experts from among Hewlett Packard Enterprise staff. At the end of the week, the candidates will hold a Sprint Review; a Scrum event where the key stakeholders come together to examine what has been achieved over the last week, and an opportunity to get feedback on how they are progressing.
Scrum is an agile software development framework that we will be using the organise work during the work experience program. To begin, the Product Owner produces a wishlist of features and activities that they would like to see from the project, referred to as the Product Backlog. Scrum breaks periods of work into ‘sprints‘; one week blocks of time during which work is done on a number of items from the Product Backlog selected by the Development Team, with this subset referred to as the SprintBacklog.
In the context of the work experience program, this means that the Product Owner, in this case the local school staff being represented by a HPE staff member, produces a collection of activities and exercises that the school would like Dandy to be able to perform, and uses these to populate the Product Backlog. From there, the development team will ask questions of the Product Owner to clarify requirements and ensure each feature is developed to fit what they are expecting, and then begin to work on the individual tasks that they determine will be necessary to complete these backlog items. All of this is facilitated by the Scrum Master, who keeps these meetings and discussions on track and helps guide the team through this process, as well as ensuring that the team have a daily stand up meeting (Daily Scrum) where progress, intentions, and impediments are discussed. Finally, the Technical Lead, who provides technical support, assistance, and can be consulted for their experience working with Dandy and Python, is available to the Development Team throughout the project.
Today marks the first day of the Dandelion work experience program!
The project work is going to be run under Scrum; an agile software development framework with a focus on agility, flexibility, and fast delivery of value.
This week the work experience candidates will be learning about the Dandelion Program and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, learning the Python programming language, familiarising themselves with Dandy, learning about Scrum and how it will be applied for this project, and planning how to approach the first stages of development.
The Dandelion Program work experience program is designed as a six week holistic structured course to enable learning of how software development projects happen in a large commercial organization such as HPE in an autism friendly environment. Five candidates will be taken in for the initial pilot program, with the first block running from the 12th to the 30th of September. This is a paid work experience program for university students who hold an autism diagnosis.
The program is made up of a balance of learning and practical project work. The learning component teaches the skills and techniques needed to work on two robotics projects. The culmination of the project will deliver real value to a local school that works with autistic children. They will provide a school representative to act as the product owner or stakeholder, to work with your team and guide the outcome to deliver that value.
In the practical projects you will use the Aldebaran NAO H25 robot (Dandy!) to develop applications that autistic children can use at the partner school. Building these projects will give the work experience candidates the chance to show us what they can achieve and how they approach problems and resolve them using the skills and abilities that they will develop.
Development and Delivery
The way the candidates learn and develop the practical projects will be led by HPE technical capability managers and practitioners, to provide them the techniques, processes, tools, and experience they will use to deliver the two projects. During the practical projects, each individual will work as part of a team consisting of five member, all of whom are on the Autism Spectrum, and together will develop two robot based applications during two separate three week project cycles. At the completion of both projects, the team will nominate one of the two projects to implement into a live environment.
The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.
Steve Silberman (author of Neurotribes) met Autism Consultant Sharon Whip at the AMAZE Victorian Autism Conference, and signed a copy of Neurotribes for the Dandelion Program.
Steve had not heard of the Dandelion Program, however when Sharon happened to run into Steve again on Saturday night (just walking down the street in Melbourne) he said that he had been talking about the Dandelion Program at the Melbourne Writers Festival; he spoke about Neurotribes at 4:00pm on Saturday, 03/09/16. Steve had obviously gone away and done his research and was able to speak very positively of the program.
It is wonderful that such a passionate autism advocate is promoting the Dandelion Program.
Check out Specialisterne’s new video about employment tips for adults on the autism spectrum, featuring Jeanette Purkis; author, autistic self advocate, public speaker, and Australian Public Service worker for almost 10 years.
She deals with extremely important issues such as sleep, mental health, anxiety and how to manage it, employment, and the Dandelion Program.