A one day tech conference

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018 at 11:34 pm

I have a thing for tech conferences, so of course last Saturday I was at the Melbourne Town Hall (it was a bit strange being there during the day and not for comedy festival shows) with six hundred others for DDD Melbourne which describes itself as “an inclusive non-profit conference for the software community.”

With a keynote and then four streams I had to make some decisions about which talks I wanted to go to see. Around mid afternoon I realised that there was a common thread running through the most of talks that I had selected.

My hightlights were:

  • The opening keynote from Dayle Stevens (a Divisional CIO at AGL) who told us about a day in the life of a CIO. My main takeaway from this was the sheer amount of context switching involved with interacting with so many people (emails, meetings, etc) throughout the day.
  • As screen design has come up recently at work, I opted to listen to Laura Summers talk about UX for Developers. It has been a while since I have given much thought to UX so it was a good refresher, with the key message (for me) was that everyone has some input to design and that you collaborate with others to end up at the best outcome you can achieve.
  • Mai Nguyen from carsales.com spoke about their first few attempts in building serverless apps. She was fairly open about some of their successes AND failures, with the key being to learn from experience.
  • As microservices are currently a big part of breaking down a problem, I felt it was important to hear what Abhaya Chauhan learned over four years of migrating a monolith to microservices. The most significant thing I took from this talk was you cannot have autonomous teams, they may be building different things but they also need to work together in order to avoid creating new silos.
  • In addition to everyone being a designer (see above), everyone is also a tester as demonstrated by Amanda Dean in Modern Testing for Modern Developers. Everything that can be done can be tested in some way, from code to plans to documentation, there is some form of test (or check) that should be done. Then for things like testing the functionality of a system there are a range of styles and automation.

So what what do I feel was the common thread?

It should come as no surprise that communication was the common thread. Whether it is within your team, between teams, across the organisation, with designers, with testers or with your users, communication is essential.

As I had a full weekend I skipped the afterparty and headed home. I was in a postive invigorated mood until my second (darker) realisation, that the people I work with would not be interested in this type of event, some of them don’t even appear to be interested in keeping up to date…

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