Socrates UK


Just came back from SoCraTes UK, and it was amazing as always.
I’m looking at this blog post for 10m now, trying to explain what is SoCraTes UK and still don’t have the correct words… First of all, this is an Open Space Conference, which changes completely the ambient: people go there to share their knowledge not just to receive. And this sharing is what really matter in here…
Second I saw again some good friends that I’ve met before in other SoCraTes( You can check here at the end of the page, the other conferences).

As for the conference itself, I went to several talks about team management, feedback, empathy, and TDD… The second day was really hard, I was running from one place to another because all were amazingly interesting.
The first day I went to:

  • “Identifying signals for feedback loops” by Alastair Smith. A very interesting talk about how a project that had constant positive feedback was canned. We all try to identify where did this feedback fail. Some conclusions here

  • “How to change company structure to support Agile” – this was an interesting workshop where we started to naming all the practices related with Agile/Software Craftsmanship and then in a small group try to come up with ideas of how to convince our managers to accept then.

  • “Compare Craftsmanship and Fashion” by Alvaro Garcia. A really really interesting talk about how craftsmanship can compare with fashion… The main thing to retain is that as we ways wear underwear and just change our clothes as we go, the same happens with Software craftsmanship: our values are always there we just change the tools we use. Here are our thoughts

  • “Integration Design: 5 principles to craft better interfaces” by Giulia Mantuano. A very good talk about all the concerns we must have to give the user a better experience when he uses our products.

And that’s pretty much the first day…we had several lightning talks and after dinner a very entertaining time playing “The Professor”. There were a lot more activities and I had a really nice talk with Dominic Freeston about iOS and Swift.

The second day was a nightmare: all the talks in the market place were looking pretty much amazing and I just wanted to be able to clone myself so I could attend all of then… I really use the law of two feet this day!

  • “Smells (like team spirit) – Common team smells and how to refactor them” by Spike – As all the others, a very interesting talk about how to identify a team smell and how to deal with it in several situations…

  • “Sports and Development” by Houssam Fakih– Interesting point of view: training sports and training development skills.

  • “CQRS – Building an event system from scratch” by Emilien Pecoul– Workshop on CQRS in any language of your preference. Amazing! Here are some photos

  • “Small Small Talk talk and basic Visual Basic visual” by Daniel Irvine – The best title for a talk, and it was revealing to know that almost 20 years ago there was already a test framework.

  • “Empathy” by Antony Marcano and Ryan Alexander – Excellent workshop on how you can react in difficult situations in a team. “Good cop” and “Bad cop” examples. Superb!

  • “Refactoring Developers Habits” – by Mani Sarkar and Pedro Santos – Workshop about best practices in TDD. Here’s what we had to work on and here are some proposals.

We all came back to the main room for reflexions, retrospective and feedback. Still had time to more lightning talks. After dinner was time for me to leave…

Hope to see you all back again next year!

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