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Going to Goto (twice)

GOTO ConferencesI’ll be at Goto Aarhus October 9-14 this year, giving a presentation and workshop on Nat Pryce and my material on using Test-Driven Development at multiple levels, guiding the design of system components as well as the objects within them.

If you register with the code free1250, you’ll get a discount of 1250 DKK and Goto will donate the same amount to Computers for Charities

Some of us are then rushing to Goto Amsterdam, where I’ll be giving the talk again on Friday. Again the code free1250 will do something wonderful, but I’m not quite sure what.

Speaking and tuting at QCon London. 7-11 March

Speaking at QCon London 2011 Nat and I will be running our “TDD at the System Scale” tutorial at QCon London. Sign up soon.

I’ll also be presenting an engaging rant on why we should aspire to living and working in a world where stuff just works.

If you quote the promotion code FREE100 when you sign up, QCon will give you a discount of £100 and the same amount to Crisis Charity.

London XpDay 7th & 8th December

XP Day

There are still a few places left for the London XpDay, an event designed by practitioners for practitioners.

We’re trying the half-Open Space format again, with a day of prepared sessions (some promising experience reports this year) leading to a day of ad-hoc sessions. This means we can have a conference that’s more responsive to the needs of the attendees in the room—if I want to cover a topic I can propose a session.

And we have some interesting keynotes. Apart from Mark Striebeck, talking about scaling up some agile techniques as only Google can, we’re continuing our tradition of bringing in ”outside“ speakers to trigger discussion. We have Doron Swade (who built the calculating engine in the Science Museum) talking about Babbage, and storyteller Terry Saunders.

Nat and I will also be using the opportunity to launch our book in the UK.

Friday 13th, Talking at Skills Matter

Prove you’re not superstitious! I’ll be giving my talk on Sustainable TDD at Skills Matter on Friday, 13th November. Sign up here (if you dare).

This talk is about the qualities we look for in test code that keep the development “habitable.” We want to make sure the tests pull their weight by making them expressive, so that we can tell what’s important when we read them and when they fail, and by making sure they don’t become a maintenance drag themselves. We need to apply as much care and attention to the tests as we do to the production code, although the coding styles may differ. Difficulty in testing might imply that we need to change our test code, but often it’s a hint that our design ideas are wrong and that we ought to change the production code. In practice, these qualities are all related to and support each other. Test-driven development combines testing, specification, and design into one holistic activity.

I just ran it at the BBC and people seemed to like it.

If you miss this opportunity, you can always see it at QCon San Francisco.

QCon San Francisco


I’m running a track at QCon in San Francisco on Friday 20th November. The topic is Technical Skills for Agile Development, and it’s about some of the technical essentials that Agile teams need to keep moving.

I’ll be presenting a session, based on material from our book, on how to live with your tests over the long term.

See you there?

QCon London: Tighten up your Agile technical skills

There’s been some chatter on the interweb recently, from Ron Jeffries and Martin Fowler for example, on the risks of a team adopting
only the ceremonial parts of Agile, without also adopting the “hard” technical practices as well.

Luckily for people with access to London (UK), we have a track at this year’s QCon to address just this point. “Turning on a sixpence — technical skills for Agile development” is targeted at teams that have adopted Agile and are struggling with some of the technical practices. We have a cracking programme full of people who actually know what it takes to deliver and support a system.

I’d like to say that we had great timing on this one because of our special wisdom, but a more likely explanation is that this issue is always relevant because building software really well is just hard.

P.S. On the current QCon London 2009 home page, I find myself cited in the same list as Tony Hoare, Joe Amstrong et. al. This should be treated as an amusing accident.

After XpDay London

Just got home after two intense days of XpDay London 2008. There’ll be follow-up materials posted on our new wiki. This year, Keith Braithwaite tried out a largely open format which was really buzzing by the second day.

In the middle of today’s keynote I was suddenly struck by the range of our community. With only about 100 geeks we were talking about subjects such as type systems, coding practices, theories of categorisation, human perception, organisational structure, market analysis, and clinical psychology. And that’s before we dealt with catching up with industry gossip and general horse-trading. Remarkable.

Software Craftsmanship 2009

I, too, have become involved in Jason Gorman‘s Software Craftsmanship mini-conference. If you’re interested, now is a good time to visit the site and propose a session.

This conference aims to showcase and champion the “hard skills”, and champion the idea of software craftsmanship and the ways in which it can be encouraged and supported in the workplace, in schools and colleges, and among the wider software development community.

Maybe it’s just a hubris, maybe craftsmanship is the wrong word, but we want to promote the idea that skill and experience (i.e. us) are of value in software development.

Registration open for XpDay London

We’ve opened registration for XpDay London.

As the blurb on the site says, we’re returning to our “by practitioners, for practitioners” roots, so we have a more open structure this year, plus two cracking keynotes. Sign up soon for the early bird discount.

… and yes, the website needs improvement. If you have time to help, let us know

Speaking in Oslo

I’m speaking at JavaZone in Oslo, on September 17th. I was so impressed last year that I managed to get back in. The topic will be Listening to Test Smells, which Nat and I have been raising for a while.

I’ll only be there until mid-afternoon Wednesday, so get in touch early if you want to meet up, and I’ll miss the remarkable ClubZone evening when the conference overflows into downtown Oslo.