Thanks to the Freeset Team for making these wonderful eco-friendly conference bags.
Simple Design and Testing Conference is an all open space conference providing software practitioners a platform to meet face-to-face and discuss/demonstrate simple design & testing principles/approaches.
At this conference you’ll meet real, hands-on practitioners interested in peer-to-peer learning and exploration. We strive hard to avoid fluffy, marketing talks and other non-sense.
- What: Open Space Conference on Simple Design & Testing practices
- Where: Skills Matter eXchange, London, UK
- When: 12th-13th Mar 2011
- Who: Software Practitioners (Developers, Testers, UX Designer…)
- Cost: £50.00, also (Position Paper required!)
SDT Conf 2011 is our 6th annual conference and for the first time in Europe. Check out the past conference SDT Conf 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 details.
We plan to keep a max cap of 100 participants for this conference.
As you might be aware SDTConf is a free conference and we use the concept of position papers as the price for admission. This helps us ensure the quality of the participants is really high. You can add your position papers for the conference on our wiki. Making the position papers public helps other participants gauge in advance what they can expect from the conference.
Last but not the least, since this is a community run, non-profit event, we really on sponsorship in kind to make this event possible. Here is a list of items that you or your company can sponsor to support this conference.
P.S: Please blog about this conference and/or send an email to your friends and colleagues. Word of mouth is the only way we market this event.
Every single conference I’ve organized, I’ve made it free or almost free (by subsidizing the fee substantially.)
Recently we were planning a 2-day conference in Indore called XP Days, Indore 2010. During the planning, we had 2 options:
We could charge the following to cover the expenses of (Food, Delegate Kits, Certificates, Local Transportation, Speaker reimbursement, etc):
- Students 500 Rs, Faculty 800 Rs and Industry Delegates 1000 Rs
- Students 250 Rs, Faculty 350 Rs and Industry Delegates 500 Rs
We expect around 100 delegates in total. Based on last year’s break-up we expect. 50 students, 40 faculty members and 10 people from Industry.
I choose Option 2 and tried to fill the gap via Sponsorship.
Some people raised their concern saying, why are we so worried about subsiding the cost, when:
- We can afford to pay Rs 175 for a movie at multiplex.
- We can afford to pay Rs 200 for a pizza at Pizzahut.
- We can afford to pay hunders of thousands of Rupees per year to private colleges and schools for the education.
My response was:
If we look around, a decent number of well know companies were started by drop-outs from school. Does that mean we should encourage all students to drop-out of school?
We don’t. We don’t because we think there are few people who can pull it off, rest of us (average people), need a degree to back us. When it comes to things like this, we try to take a safe approach. We try to take an approach that is more commonly accepted.
So sure there might be people who can afford movie in a multiplex, eat a 200 Rs pizza, etc. But what if there are some really interested students who can’t afford it? Is this a safe choice? What is the harm it bringing the cost down?
Also to add, when I was in college, every other week I had some marketing/sales people from <sarcasm>prestigious companies like IBM, Microsoft, etc</sarcasm> come and give free presentations about <sarcasm>their wonderful products and explain how their products are going to change the world</sarcasm>. At times these guys would try to chew our legs off, trying to sell their stuff.
From a student’s perspective how different are we? Why would they pay x amount to attend something *similar* when others are free?
As a student, I would rather spend my limited pocket money on Movie or Pizza, coz I know the outcome for sure. I would certainly have to think very hard before spending my money on something that I’m not sure of (esp. considering the limited knowledge about these things.)
I can go on. What I’m trying to highlight is that there is a lot of thinking the students/participants have to go thru before investing their time and money in something like this. We should try to simply their decision making process by reducing as many parameters as possible (going to their college/city, reducing the cost, etc).
It appears to me that the Agile Community is falling behind the innovation curve. At conferences, user groups, mailing list, etc, we see the same old same old stuff (may be I’m missing something). So where is the real innovation happening? What space should I be watching?
These were the questions I posed to the group @ the SDTConf 2009. Later, during our discussion at the conference we tried answering them. After a wonderful discussion we come up with some suggestions:
- Web 2.0
- Alternative Language (non-mainstream languages) space. Lot of interesting experiments going on in
- Dynamic language space
- Functional language space
- Hybrid language space
- Domain Specific Language space
- Could Computing, Parallel Computing (Grid Computing), Virtualization space
- Code Harvesting Space – Check out Test Driven Code Search and Code Genie as a starting point
- Complex Adaptive Systems and its implication on our social interactions space. Dave Snowden’s work is a good starting point
- eLearning and visual assessments (feedback) of a programming session. Check out Visualizing Proficiency
- Polyglot Programming space
- With Google Apps, people are able to build 100s of Apps each month and get instant feedback on their ideas
- Social Networking and Second Life space
- Conference: Lot of interesting experiments are been conducted in the conference space. Conferences have evolved to something very different from before.
- Distributed Development and Remote Pairing space
If you would like to contribute to this list, please add your point on the SDTConf Wiki.
Debates are not a great ways to communicate concrete points. Debates usually tend to get personal and emotional, leading to a destructive dialogue and indecisiveness. Fishbowls provide a good alternative to engage in discussion where people can indulge in a more creative communication or a real dialogue.
A Fishbowl is a way of structuring a discussion in a large group of people. It is suitable for controversial topics where different participants have different views.
Seating Arrangement: A small group, the initiators, (the fish in the bowl), typically 4 or 5 people, sit on chairs around a round table placed at the center of the discussion room. The audience, the other participants, is seated around the initiators in a circle.
Discusion Flow: The initiator explain the topic and start the discussion. Any members of the audience can walk up to the bowl and take a seat when they feel they have a contribution to make. When all the seats are occupied, usually the initiator, who has been in the bowl the longest, leaves making room for the new member, but this can vary. The FIFO (First In First Out) rule seems to work well to manage the participants at the bowl.
Additionally, one can seat always be left empty at the bowl. When all the seats get occupied, one of occupant has to leave. The rule to decide who leaves can also vary. FIFO or the person who feels they are contributing the least can leave.
The biggest advantage of this approach is transparency. The whole discussion is out in public. It gives a nice way to manage a large audience who would like to participate in the discussion. By letting a limited number of people talk, it helps to minimize the communication paths.
There are two challenges I have faced.
- Since the discussion is open and others are watching, some people might feel shy and not contribute even though they have some valid points.
- Avoiding the most vocal/influential folks from hogging the seats.
There is another variation of the fishbowl format, which I have not tried this.