Runar Ovesen Hjerpbakk

Software Philosopher

Deep Dive: NDC 2013 Conference Highlights, Day 1

NDC 2013

NDC (Norwegian Developer Conference) is a yearly developer conference taking place in Oslo, Norway, with a focus on agile methodology and Microsoft technology. However, a lot of talks are technology agnostic, and the attendees are a diverse group of people.

Day 1 of the conference had some real gems and here are some highlights.

Accelerating Agile: hyper-performing teams without the hype

The first talk I attended was Accelerating Agile: hyper-performing teams without the hypeby Dan North. Despite the hyper title, Dan delivered anecdotes from his work in the trading business with confidence and flair. He had many valid observations (IMO) regarding what drives effective teams. Some examples include:

  • Train the developers in the domain og the business and have domain experts connected to or be part of the development team.
  • Don't be afraid to try something new, be it technology or process. A corollary is: Be OK with "failure". Product development is not project delivery.
  • Prefer simple over easy. Simple is the buzzword of the day, but it is still underrated. Easy can lead to more problems down the road. Think frameworks that do to much or taking on to much unnecessary technical debt.

Clean Architecture and Design

Next up was Robert C. Martin with his talk Clean Architecture and Design. As usual he started with a fun fact, then a history lesson. What followed was a good talk regarding components, their boundaries and responsibilities and unnecessary complexity in systems.

  • "Architecture is about intent". You should be able to discern the purpose of your system by looking at your architecture. Think normal architecture blueprints.
  • Inputs and outputs should be plugins to your system. That includes the GUI and the database.
  • Wrap external dependencies such that they can "easily" be replaced.
  • A good architecture allows you to defer decisions.

Patterns of Effective Teams

Patterns of Effective Teams, another excellent talk by Dan North.

This talk was even better than his last one. Dan described patterns he and his teams have found useful, describing the situations and the persons involved. The patterns included:

  • Dreyfus squares, pair developers of compatible skill levels.
  • Make new hires feel welcome. Take care to introduce them to the organization, give them task related to their skill level and make sure they get some early wins.
  • Keep your daily Scrums (or equivalent meetings) effective and useful for the whole team. If the team thinks of the meetings as energy drainers, change the meetings make them useful for your team and situation!
  • Code critique. Learn from other peoples code, and give the team opportunities to learn from each other. Code reviews should be an energizing and positive experience. Make the novice review from code from an expert to facilitate learning and teaching.

Edit: I've added links to videos from the sessions.