Simple Design And Testing Conference 2009

Over the last couple of days I have been putting together a position paper for the Simple Design And Testing Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. This will be the first year I attend that event, and I’m looking forward to it. The open space format sounds like a ton of fun and I look forward to some really fascinating discussions.

My position paper is on how and and when to use prefab code. I’d like to use the open space as an opportunity to try to crystallize some wisdom about how, and under what circumstances code re-use really works for us, and when it doesn’t. The promise of an easy jump-start may entice us to incorporate that chunk of prefabricated code, but many (if not all) of us have seen that promise turn into a curse. So I’m looking forward to hearing about other people’s experiences; both success and failure in using a body of prefab code in order to shorten a project cycle.

I also had the chance to chat with a few other guys who have submitted position papers, and I’m looking forward to those discussions as well. Matt Snyder’s paper is on How To Interview An XP Developer. One of the things Matt said that stuck with me was that evaluating an XP developer ought to be easier than evaluating more traditional candidates because with XP there are more things you can measure quickly. Should be an interesting discussion.

Jon Stahl also submitted his paper on using Kanban as a lightweight tool for self-organizing teams. I look forward to that discussion because I’m a proponent of Kanban in that context. My team at Columbus Give Camp used a simplistic Kanban board: it took me about two minutes to briefly explain Kanban and what the board was all about, and then we were using it. It was a natural, easy, lightweight process which produced real results. So I definitely plan to opt-in to Jon’s discussion.

Corey Haines dropped by the boat yesterday and I enjoyed talking with him about a variety of things, including the topic of his SDTconf position paper on alternatives to certification. Of course, Corey’s a major advocate for the nascent software crafstmanship movement. He has some thoughts (and a project planned) for how best to build a trust network among software craftsmen (and women!). Looking forward to that open space.

I know Cheezy (Jeff Morgan) also has a position paper in the works for SDTconf. Not sure what it’s going to be about, but, of course I’d jump at the chance to rap about making great software with Cheezy any time. In fact, with 22 papers submitted so far, it’s going to be tough choosing from them. This is shaping up to be a great conference.