Thursday, 2 September 2010

QCon brainstorming night

Thanks to the hospitality of the QCon organisesrs, last nights QCon brainstorming session was a great event. As well as all the great discussions going on, there was a seriously generous helping of really nice food and what seemed a never ending supply of drinks.

QCon is a regular event aimed at those interested and engaged in enterprise software development.  The event aims to provide the highest quality presenters and most engaging topics each year.  Previously the QCon schedule has been organised from the input of those wishing to present, but for QCon 2011 the goal is to include ideas and recommendations from the community of people who pay to attend QCon when deciding on the schedule.

There was over 30 people that turned up and it was a great atmosphere. I turned up there early (no surprise) with a friend and we were greeted by our very friendly host, Jørn Larsen (on the far right of the picture).

The evening started with all of us grouped around a big table with lots of flipchart sheets and post-it notes.  As not everyone was lucky enough to make QCon 2010, we briefly discussed QCon and the different types of days and event that typically go.  Usually there are two days of tutorials before the main conference, with the conference itself having a large number of tracks each day (see QCon 2010 tracks).

For the brainstorming proper, we started creating lists of topics we thought would be good for the next qcon event and also identifying any speakers we thought were really good at presenting and generally entertaining the crowd.

I started the ball rolling by writing down some ideas, although half way through writing my first idea I had a feeling that everyone was watching me.  When I looked up everyone was watching me, but got on with adding my crazy ideas and this helped encourage everyone else to do the same.

Very quickly there was a wealth of ideas that came poring out and after I had run out of ideas myself I started writing down lots of ideas that people were discussing as them to make sure they were captured.

We also had a kind of retrospective sheet where we could put post-it notes on for things we wanted to see more of or less of, as well as things to start doing and stop doing.  The funniest comment I saw was to "Stop giving uncle bob martin a small room" - alluding to the fact that he is always a popular speaker and you cant always get in to see him.

All the flipchart sheets got stuck to the wall and we churned out dozens of sheets worth of ideas.  However, it all kind of got put on hold when the first wave of food turned up.  Yes, there was so much food that it did come in waves.  No one went home hungry and even I was too full by the end to want a doggy back to take home what was left.

There were lots of great discussions happening, its a shame we didn't record them for AppleTV!!  There was a continuing trickle of ideas added in between the food, drink and chat until the end of the evening.

Jen and his team now have a very busy few days going through all the weird and wonderful ideas that the group came up with, including all my Kanban, lean system thinking, rightshifting and continual improvements suggestions (I think there was a whole page just on those).  If even just a small part of the ideas we all came up with make it in then QCon 2011 should be a really great event.

If you want to know more about what may be appearing at QCon 2011, you can have a look at the tracks for QCon 2010. The most interesting ones for me were  Agile Evolution, Software Craftsmanship, Dev and Ops: A single team and Irresponsible Architectures & Unusual Architects


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