My Session at Agile & Beyond 2019

Yesterday I hosted a workshop at the Agile & Beyond 2019 conference, entitled Come Test Drive With Me (even if you can’t drive yet). I’d love to give a big thanks to everyone who attended, participated, and even tweeted about it.

This session was similar in many ways to the one Amitai and I gave earlier this month, in that it involved attendees mobbing to work on example code. The big difference is that this session specifically targeted non-programmers. Instead of a home-grown SMTP proxy in Python, we used a very simple word-counting program which I adapted from a kata the excellent exercism.io.

Because Agile & Beyond doesn’t have a standard conference mechanism for posting slides and content, I’ll put mine here for any attendees—or anyone at all—to access:

  • Slides – including bits that we added live
  • Code – at the point we left it after the workshop

For this session, I don’t have as detailed a retrospective as the last. I will definitely say that it benefitted from lessons we learned then: I opted out of using a microphone, and succeeded in getting the whole audience to sit within earshot of the mob. The one thing I would like to change for sure: make the code base a bit bigger. In some early runs of this workshop I had used a fully-functioning web app, but that proved to be just too complicated for programming beginners to deal with in the short time-box of a workshop. I decided at the last minute to start over and rewrite a fresh code base, and now I know I made it a bit too simple. I plan to correct that before the next time I deliver it.

As a side-note, I’ll add that I had a great time at Agile & Beyond. For a conference with the word “Agile” in its name, there were a refreshing number of developers among both attendees and speakers, and a robust set of technical talks in every slot. I recommend this conference to others, and plan to come back in future years.

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