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Alt.Net UK Conference 2009

Good news, there will be an Alt.Net UK Conference in London over the first weekend of August. Bit of a different format this time:

Alt.Net Beers A social opportunity to discuss Alt.Net over a few beers.
Friday, July 31, 2009 from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM
82 Dean Street, London, W1D 3HA, United Kingdom

Open Space Coding Day A day of hands-on coding where the attendees choose the subjects.
Saturday, August 01, 2009 from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM
36 Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 9EU, United Kingdom

Alt.Net UK Conference The climax of the conference weekend! Share and learn in an Open Space environment.
Sunday, August 02, 2009 from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM
36 Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 9EU, United Kingdom

For more details and registration (opening in Thursday the 14th of May) see http://www.altnetuk.com

Alt.net ‘in the north’ still has some spaces

As I am sure you noticed there was an unfortunate clash of dates between Alt.net 'in the North' in Bradford and WebDD in Reading on the 18th of April. Well I see that WebDD over the weekend has published it's agenda, opened registrations and is now full.

So if you are disappointed that you can't get a place for the WebDD event have you thought of trying an Open Spaces event like Alt.net? We still have some spaces left. The key difference of this type of event, as opposed to the more traditional lecture format of WebDD, is that the attendees decide the agenda when they arrive and most sessions take the format of an open discussion of peoples real work experiences and opinions.

Go on give it a try it might be fun!

Announcing the Alt.Net.UK ‘in the North’ Conference

I am please to be able to announce that there will be an Alt.net Open Space Conference in Bradford on the 17/18th April this year. I had mentioned my intension of organising such an event at the last London conference, but it has taken a bit longer than expected to get sorted due to problems with getting the venue.

The event will be hosted by Black Marble at their office in Bradford, West Yorkshire, and there will be space for 50 attendees. The format will be the same as previous UK Alt.net conferences.

  • A planning session on Friday the 17th April from 7pm to 8:30pm, followed by a trip to a bar to socialise
  • The open spaces sessions from 9am to 4:30pm on Saturday 18th April.

As well as providing a venue for the event, Black Marble has kindly agreed to also sponsor lunch on the Saturday.

Other offers of sponsorship will be greatly appreciated

I will get some more detail posted on the web such as registrations, local hotels etc. ASAP.  Check this blog for details

What is the conference format?
The conference will be based on the open spaces format.

An Open Space conference's agenda is decided upon by the conference participants during the opening of the event. Whoever shows up is the right group. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have. Whenever it starts is the right time. When it's over, it's over. 

What is Alt.Net?
Various blog posts have defined Alt.Net. Term originally coined by David Laribee on his blog.

Who are the organisers?
Richard Fennell, Iain Angus  and Nick McKenna

Black Marble is providing sponsorship and logistic support. 

Alt.net – the day after

Back home now after a excellent two days at Alt.Net in London. As with the spring conference this was a thought provoking event. I really like the whole open space format, though there were four 'main sessions' the event started the night before in the planning session and the bar and carried on without a pause, including the train trip home.

The main sessions can be excellent; but it is usually the chat walking to get a coffee or over lunch was where you get a nugget of information that completes a picture for you. It is great to find out you are not alone in the problems you have and refreshing to hear people speak so openly over the challenges and successes they have had.

The main take away for me were ideas on acceptance testing:

  • The gathering of the tests can be improved by using a three pronged attack using the client (or Business Analyst), the developers and the tester/QA team. It is three pronged as each group has their own view of what the product should do. The client want tests that prove a product meets a business need, the developer will test some edge cases around the business tests and the tester will add tests that just try to break the product. Together this group should provide a reasonable test coverage, not perfect but better than the view of any single group.
  • I also got a number of ideas on techniques for writing the acceptance tests. The most immediately interesting was the idea of using log files via a product such as TestTest. My first thought is that this provides an interesting way to tackle automated testing of Sharepoint Workflows – a current issue for me.

At the event I mention that we at Black Marble were considering hosting a similar event, but I had been worried that there would not be the interest as I perceived the attendees of the London event were fairly London based. I am pleased to say that this does not seem to be the case. And true to the principles of an open spaces event we have to recognise that 'whoever comes are the right people'. Keep an eye of for announcements of an event in the new year.

So thanks again to Ian Cooper, Alan Dean and Ben Hall for organising the event, I look forward to the next one.

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