The most interesting conversations…

I ate dinner tonight with six other people from Seattle.  I knew all but one of them before coming to Denver.  Besides the keynote, I don't think I've attended a single session with any of them.  It was a fantastic opportunity to recap the conference.

It started with two of us and a fantastic wine: 2003 Edmeades Monticino Zinfandel.  Four hours later, all seven of us were still talking about our favorite sessions, things we’d like to have seen done differently, and what we plan to do when we get home.

Our Favorite Sessions:

  • Release and Iteration Planning by Mike Cohn
  • Collaboration Works!  Facilitation Skills for Agile Teams by Ellen Gottesdiener
  • The Whole Enchilada: Effectively Blending Management, Planning and Technical Practices by Joshua Kerievsky
  • Roadmap to Agile Testing by Kay Johansen and Jeremy Brown

Other Positives:

  • The conversations you have in workshops and between sessions in the halls are invaluable.
  • The discovery that you are not alone!  There are others out there struggling with the same problems.
  • Accessibility to so many agile luminaries.
  • Too many hard choices!  There’s so much going on, it’s hard to select sessions.

Our Plans:

  • Finally tackle the Fit/Fitnesse learning curve to move the testing out of the user interface
  • Introduce white box code reviews where testers review the code directly to focus attention on the sad/bad paths
  • Propose that team members take one day per two-week iteration to work on whatever they want - long running spikes, education, writing experience reports, THINKING, etc.
  • Insert a demo between dev complete and test accepting a story where developers and customers present the story to the testers

On the downside, a couple of us also mentioned that they thought the size of the conference was actually a bit of a problem.  Jeri thought it depersonalized the experience, inhibiting casual conversations.  I’m inclined to agree.  However, I think a slightly larger facility might have resolved this issue.  People would feel less like cattle, at least.  Moo!

Comments (3)
  1. Agent000 says:

    I love your plans. Seriously. I want to cry. ThinkDay? White-Box Code Reviews? {sigh} it’s moments like this when I think I’d be better off taking <a href="">Joel”>">Joel‘s approach</a> and starting my own Amazing Place to Work.

    Seriously, read that article. It’s awesome:

  2. MSDN Archive says:

    I should point out that "our plans" is actually a cumulative list of new ideas we found at the conference. Though, now that you mention it, I could really use a think day every now and again. Once an iteration might be just about right.

  3. MSDN Archive says:

    I just read Joel’s article. I can’t help but notice the irony that the software his "best developers" are writing is essentially a bug tracker.

    There’s even a really silly quote from Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine on the free trial page: “What’s smarter than tracking your project’s bugs from a Web-based system?”

    Uh… Hmmm… I don’t know. Maybe lowering your bug counts to the point where you don’t need a bug tracker.

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