Thoughts about @codecraftuk conference

I really enjoyed the CodeCraftConf last Friday. Well done to the organisers for a great set of discussions. A very different style of conference, and a refreshing change from the lecture-based conferences. A lot of good discussions, and I just wanted to throw some thoughts down whilst it’s still fresh in my head.

technical lead discussion

Technical lead discussion summary available here.

agile

The questions in this session were based around the Agile Manifesto:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

There was a lot of folk agreeing with the things on the left, but it was hard to find people who saw much value in the things on the right until directly challenged on it, which I found an interesting dynamic. There was also a lot of talk about feedback and communication and how that works. Plenty of interesting thoughts.

lean coffee

Prior to lunch, I joined the lean coffee session, where a number of topics were proposed.

There were a few topics covering mobile development, javascript frameworks and some other good topics, but the one that sticks out most for me was about Code Reviews.

The question was “How much should we nitpick in Code Reviews”, and I can easily see Code Reviews being a great guided conversation on its own, especially with the side discussions on what code reviews are for, who should do them, and when they should be done, which reflect conversations I’ve been having at work.

I think it’s a great format, and I look forward to trying it at our next lunchtime session in the office.

security

This session particularly interested me as I used this topic as a dry run in the office before I guided my session on the day, and regular readers will notice that security is an interest of mine. The key questions here were around application security, but a lot of the discussion covered testing and social engineering, and why we still trust some companies that have been hacked, but not others.

BDD

I had trouble deciding which session to attend at the end of the day, but as I was late in, the decision was made for me, as there were no seats left at the other talk. So there was a slight musical chairs element to proceedings.

The session itself was particularly interesting to me as I’ve been exposed to some of the ideas and technologies related to Behaviour Driven Development, but I haven’t had a chance to discuss using it for actual projects, and following the discussion, I understand that it requires a particular relationship between the developers and product owners to work. Definitely something to explore further.

There was another interesting discussion in this session, that had been bubbling through most of the sessions in the day – the idea of “Cargo Cult process”, where the memes and practices of techniques such as TDD, Agile and BDD have been parachuted in to a project, or organisation, without understanding the purpose of the techniques or the problems they are trying to solve. As discussed in the Agile session, the successful processes are those that start with a problem, a pain point, and find ways to address that, and put a feedback loop in to ensure the problem is addressed, and then move on to the next pain point.

If customer engagement isn’t your problem, the BDD Three Amigos session might not give you much value. If your product owner trusts your developers, or can read CI results, you may not need Cucumber to write your tests.

Venue

I was a little but unsure about a conference in a pub, but there was a great space, and some of the best conference food I’ve had. The room itself could get a little noisy when the conversations got heated, as there were 2 converations going on at once, but the organisers were working to address that on the day and at future

I’m looking forward to the next one.

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