Noel Rappin Writes Here


Posted on October 18, 2010

Spent Friday and Saturday at the Software Craftsmanship North America conference, which was a friendly gathering of people interested in being really, really good coders.

A few scattershot observations – my favorite quotes and whatnot are on my twitter stream, except for Corey Haines’ talk at the end – I had put my stuff away and didn’t have a readily available tweeting device.

  • I’m much more comfortable with artisan metaphors for programming than martial arts ones. That may be because I’ve never studied a martial art (though it’s not like I’m a practicing carpenter either). If you find meaning or inspiration in martial arts terms, great, they never totally feel right to me.

  • The best energy in the room the whole time was after lunch on the second day, when most of the attendees were in the spillover room with about 5 impromptu teaching/learning sessions going on at once, not counting some people just working together at stuff.

  • Of course, I’m lousy at taking advantage of things like that – too afraid I’ll miss something to stick at one thing.

  • I’m not sure there was a common theme, but a lot of the talks had moved past the “how to be a software craftsman” or even the “why to be a software craftsman” levels, and got to the “okay, we’re software craftsmen. Now what?” level. Particularly the problem of when to treat software as art, as craft, or as commerce.

  • Really enjoyed the panel session with Bob Martin, Chad Fowler, Michael Feathers, and Enrique Comba Riepenhausen – it was interesting to see all of them talk about their process in the small, and what they struggle with. The Randori session, where the speakers and other noted attendees paired together in four minute pieces, was more entertaining than enlightening, but it was pretty entertaining.

  • Liked most of the talks, particularly Chad Fowler’s, despite the Motorola six sigma flashbacks, and Corey Haines’ call for less negativity and more joy in our work.

  • This is probably a longer post, but I genuinely wonder about the focus at this conference and at other software conferences on finding a job that makes you happy. Do other professions have this to anything like the same extent? Is there a greater range between good and bad situations in software than in other professional realms? Granted, of course, that we aren’t in positions of physical danger?


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All opinions and thoughts expressed or shared in this article or post are my own and are independent of and should not be attributed to my current employer, Chime Financial, Inc., or its subsidiaries.