Research IT

A Meeting of Agile Minds

The second meeting of the Manchester Research Software community featured two presentations: the first on the use of agile practices in research software; and one on the recently launched University instance of GitHub Enterprise. The presentations are now available to the University research community.

The Manchester Research Software Community (MRSC) gathered once again, marking its second meeting in the 2023/24 academic year. The community serves as a hub for university members who are enthusiastic about research software and digital tools. Whether they develop research software or have an interest in the field, members join to share insights, learn, and collaborate.

Introduction and Upcoming Events

The inaugural meeting, held in November 2023, built the groundwork for what is quickly developing into a vibrant community of practice. With over 35 attendees participating in a hybrid format, the second gathering promised stimulating discussions on two pivotal topics: agile practices and the University’s instance of GitHub Enterprise.

During the opening introduction the group talked about its purpose and recently announced, highly anticipated, upcoming events, such as the Digital Research Infrastructure Retreat, Collaborations Workshop 2024 and the Society of Research Software Engineering annual conference.

Exploring Agile Practices in Research Software Engineering

Dr. Ann Gledson, a Research Software Engineer from Research IT, delivered the first talk. In a comprehensive overview Dr. Gledson demystified project management, delving into agile and scrum frameworks. Attendees gained insights into the advantages of these methodologies and how they might be used effectively. She continued to describe how the Research Software Engineering department is adapting scrum into a flexible, lightweight version designed to deliver effective and consistent service to all research projects. More information about the application of scrum frameworks were highlighted in a recent blog post by Ann and Adrian Harwood.

Finally, during a brief Q&A session, the audience discussed the differences between Jira and GitHub, adapting agile for embedded developers, and using it for students.

MRSC Feb 2024

Insights into the GitHub Campus Program

The second presentation by Dr. Andrew Rowley also a Research Software Engineer from Research IT focused on the recently launched University instance of GitHub Enterprise. As the digital landscape evolves, GitHub has become a cornerstone for collaborative software development. His talk introduced the audience to Git, how it works, GitHub and its features, and ultimately GitHub Enterprise and the GitHub campus program. He directed the audience to a blog post about the program and how to join it. During the Q&A discussion turned to the implications of joining the program, the security of GitHub, using self-hosted GitLab and export control policies.

Community Channel and Meeting Resources

We have a dedicated channel for the community on the CaDiR space on Microsoft Teams which also hosts the presentations and meeting recording.  Join our community through the Teams space and benefit from visibility and membership of other CaDiR communities of practice too!

A Call to Action

As we reflect on the success of our February meeting, plans are already underway for our upcoming spring meeting. We encourage active engagement from all members and welcome suggestions for speakers and topics. You may even nominate yourself to present!

Please feel free to email me if you would want to help shape the Manchester Research Software Community. We are an inclusive community and appreciate all contributions, whether it’s speaking on your favourite subject or helping with community organisation.