March 6, 2009

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

My Lovely But Still Overdue SC2009 Summary

So I finally got around to following up on last week's amazing Software Craftsmanship conference. With the formalities out of the way, I just wanted to add some personal notes about the experience, because that - apparantly - is what blogs are for.

First of all, I just want to go on record and say that I got a real kick out of organising this conference. I had some great help from Peter Camfield, Kerry Jones, Robin Doran and many others that meant that pretty much everything went smoothly on the day. It was an absolute pleasure to put together, and hearing the very positive - some might even dare to say "gushing" feedback on and after the day was the icing on the cake.

I was really chuffed with the programme we ended up with, and - contrary to how it almost always works - doubly chuffed to see expectations being exceeded in the execution of those sessions. I think we got a kick-arse, A1 bunch of sessions and session leaders, personally. I couldn't have wished for a better start to what may well turn into a new series of conferences and other related events.

Talking of feedback, I really, really think we're on to something here. Software craftsmanship is not a flash in the pan, I suspect. It's not just Le Fad De Jeur. Being surrounded by 100 committed professionals who genuinely care about what they're doing and who are 100% dedicated to learning and improving has been one of the highlights of my checkered programming career. I want more!

And I'm going to get it! SC2010 is definitely on the cards now, and I'm feeling very confident about pushing the envelope next year and taking this conference boldy to places where no conference has been before.

But 2010 is still a loooooong way aways yet. SC2009 had a palpable energy and momentum. You can feel it when you watch the Vox Pops video. And a sentiment that came out in much of the feedback I heard on the day is "let's make sure this doesn't fizzle out". So I'm looking with some urgency into setting up a regular get-together here in London where we can get hands on together, run dojos and katas over a coffee or a beer. Frankly there's been too much lips-flapping and not enough key-bashing of late, and we need more opportunities to - as Frank Zappa so eloquently put it - Shut Up And Play Our Guitars!

But London's just one little part of the world where craftsmanship has caught fire. There are other flames being fanned in far-flung places like Chicago, for example. Ironic that in a city named after their politician's empty rhetoric (the "windy city") we have a strong and rapidly maturing tradition of software craftsmanship growing thanks to folk like Micah Martin at 8th Light, Dave Hoover at Obtiva and - lest we forget - Uncle Bob Martin and Mike Feathers at Object Mentor. Micah crossed the pond especially for SC2009, I'm told, keen to see what's going down here in London. I'm equally keen to forge links with craftsman in Chicago and wherever else in the world they may be found.

In these days of global warming and rising fuel costs, though, we should look for ways to achieve rich international collaboration and sharing through technologies like Skype, desktop sharing, videoconferencing and atomic carrier pigeons (okay, I may have made that last one up). Hopping on planes and seeing folk in the flesh is going to be a necessity, I'm sure. But it's not a scalable or sustainable route to the level of sharing that I think we're going to need to really drive craftsmanship forward across borders.

On a totally personal note, it was very refreshing to see the "A" word taking a back seat at a conference for once. sure, lots of Agile folk there and lots of Agile practices, but the word that dominated the day was "craftsmanship" - which is as it should be now.

So, my summary summarised - By Jingo, I Think We May Be On To Something, Here!

Well, that's enough superlatives for one day. I'm off to read a whitepaper on some Model-driven Architecture nonsense.
Until next week, toodle pip!
Posted 12 years, 2 months ago on March 6, 2009