Fall Conference Appearances

I planned to write individual posts about new and upcoming workshops, but the rate at which we get invited and accepted to conferences this fall outstrips my ability to post new entries ;) I have to post now, before the conferences themselves are over… I hope you’ll join us for at least one of these. We’ll be doing some hard-core programming workshops as well as more enterprise and facilitation oriented sessions this fall.

First up is Scan-Agile next Thursday and Friday in Helsinki, Finland. Marc already wrote about our Story Testing workshop.  I’m also very much looking forward to participating in the Scan-Agile Open Space, which now has its’ own day.  The main reason for me to return to Scan-Agile this year, is that last year it had very strong participants (and presenters, but good session organizers are only part of what makes a conference worthwile). Having my own unit tests ripped to shreds by critical participants was interesting and valuable. So I’m glad this year all participants get more space. We had some discussion on Twitter about ‘is kanban a failure mode of lean? (and what that means if it is so)’ that merits more than 140 characters… should make for lively open space as everybody involved in that discussion will be there :) . If I haven’t motivated you to join us, check out Vasco Duarte’s series of motivational posts about Scan-Agile.

Next up is the Practical Product Lines conference , October 20 and 21 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. There we will be hosting a value stream mapping workshop, as described by Marc. We decided to try out more conferences outside our regular schedule of agile conferences – preaching to the choir is fun, and helps us improve our understanding, but going out into the world and sharing what we’ve learned is at leas as valuable. We thought it would be interesting to bring our understanding of value stream mapping, and take participants’ experiences with product lines, should provide an interesting mix.

Freek Leemhuis of Devnology asked us to send in some proposals for the Devnology community day, saturday November 7 in Baarn, Netherlands.  We did, and they chose three of QWAN’s sessions for the program:

Refactoring to concurrency (with Scala) grew out of a series of commits I did for a product I’m developing with Marc, micro-ISV style. We needed some background processing to make our application more responsive, and I wanted to take small steps, be sure that it worked and have everything covered with tests. So I first refactored, until introducing concurrency was just a one character change. This session shows you how to do the same thing, with scala or another language.

Flying Horses – cleaner code in other languages. This session was inspired by a dojo description from Emily Bache (I don’t have the link handy right now, will insert it later). Rob ran with it and tried it out at Agile Open Holland last month. We’ll bring an application written in one language, everybody gets their laptops, a pair to program with and translates that to their favourite language. At first as literally as possible, and then make it ‘more like their language’. Then we will discuss what makes code, e.g. pythonic, javaic, C-sharpish etc. based on the examples we just created.

Give your code some love is a demonstration (a series of prepared katas) of us doing tiny refactorings on code that looks allright at first glance. Tiny refactorings then show that there are quite a lot of things we can do to make the code express its’ intent better. This session was heavily inspired by Ivan Moor and British Mike Hill ‘s Programming In The Small workshop at the software craftsmanship conference in London earlier this year.

Jfall, conference of the Dutch Java Users’ group, November 11 in Bussum, Netherlands, sees Rob and me doing TDD As If You Meant It, inspired by Keith Braithwaite’s session of the same name at, again, the software crafsmanship conference in London. Keith kindly gave us permission to reuse the name. We are happy to see more people applying unit testing. Very few, however, seem to be really doing Test Driven Development. In this demonstration we hope to give the audience a taste of what test-first programming can do for you.

Xp Days Benelux, November 23 and 24, Mechelen, Belgium I already described Retrospective Hero with Nicole Belilos of Task24 and Agile Politics – (re)discover the politician in you at XP Days Benelux with Emmanuel Gaillot of Pyxis

and Finally, XpDay London, December 7 and 8th where I’ll be pair facilitating the Open Space with Rachel Davies.

Wille Faler asked on Twitter earlier this week about how people who go to conferences a lot do work. All of the conferences above are one, maximum two days, that leaves plenty of time in the rest of the week to do ‘actual’ work.  The other thing is, writing is a poor medium (for me at least, even though my blog does seem to travel reasonably well these days) to show our passion for software development, going out to conferences helps us connect with other people who are equally passionate about our profession. And sometimes this then leads to actual work. Which leads me to the following:

Shameless plug:

At the moment I’m looking for a new project to work on, either as a developer, agile coach and/or project leader. Contact me if you know of a place where my skills would add value. Also, all of the sessions above and more are available as customized in-house training.

2 Responses to “Fall Conference Appearances”

  1. Emily Bache Says:

    Hi Willem,

    Looks like you’re rather busy with conferences this fall!

    I think the article you may be referring to is this one:


    I also ran a session at europython called “the clean code challenge” where we tried to use Bob Martin’s java Args program as a starting point to discuss what clean code looks like in python. I blogged about europython here



  2. Willem Says:

    Hi Emily,

    thank you for posting the links. I was glad to get this post out at all, and planned to add links later. I think It was the clean code challenge that triggered me. I’m glad to see that my mind played a trick on me, so we now have a session that is not (I hope) just a copy but an evolution :)

    And yes, I’m rather busy with conferences. It’s fun to see what other people are up to. For marketing of consulting and training, it seems our way of working comes across much stronger in person than in writing (so far), which gets us working with interesting clients. Conferences also allow us to do small experiments and reflect on them, so we can try out new material and test hypotheses about how people work in somewhat controlled environments :) .

    For instance, Scan-Agile gave us useful feedback on our Story Testing workshop, and we did an experiment with 50 minutes ‘lightning workshops’ on systems thinking and user story mapping.