altdotnet London September 2008

September 14, 2008

So, I’ve just got back from the altdotnet conference in London. This is my second altdotnet conference, and it was as good as I remember. You could see people had moved on, and it was nice to see that altdotnet has had its affect on uSwitch.com in a positive way. 5 attendees were currently employed by uSwitch, that’s a great improvement from the 1 from last year.

As always at open spaces events, I do wish I was less passive in my contribution, but every time I did pipe up someone else got to where I was going but probably more clearly than I would have. Maybe by the next conference blogging will have helped improve my confidence and clarity.

I aimed to learn about acceptance testing and how I could move that piece of the agile puzzle forward in my organisation, and luckily Gojko Adzic was in attendance. He literally wrote the book on using Fitnesse for acceptance testing, and clearly had lots to say. I attended (accidentally) two sessions on acceptance testing. Our BDD talk quickly moved on from the standard definition argument to a broader discussion on how ‘Behaviour’ should inform our acceptance tests and involve all stake holders rather than just be a developer concern. I think I’ll separate out my write ups on the different sessions I attended.

Ian started the conference with a quick demo of the Park Bench method of a open space session, and chose the controversial subject someone had brought up in the previous nights session brainstorming exercise. Is altdotnet = faddotnet. The park bench quickly ended up being the same old are we anti msoft, should we be, why are there so few of us, why doesn’t anyone else care, this session was the closest to an alcoholics anonymous I wanted the event to get. (We’re only ever two step aways from that in an open space conference).

I really did start wishing we stopped concerning ourselves with how we’re perceived. It seems only ever really to be a concern of people who are unsure they want to wear an alt.net badge. To them I say, don’t! But if you’re interested in the things we do, and interested enough to read our blogs, attend our meetings, then you’re welcome. I think the difference between an alt.net’er and a microsoftie, is the just the plain old giving a damn. Enjoyng what we do for a living, with just a little mix of compsci for added goodness, but not so much that we end up being java devs 🙂

It was also good to brush up on some of the basics of Agile and DDD, just to remind myself on what I find so interesting about my job. Thanks guys! Now for me to work on giving some back….

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