I had the opportunity to attend the 3rd annual DevLink conference this past week. Thanks to John Kellar for squeezing me in! All-in-all, it was a good experience.
The conference started out pretty weak for me. The keynote speaker sounded like he was reading straight out of a white paper from several years ago about outsourcing. Not very engaging or relevant. I figured “Hey, the sessions can’t all be this irrelevant.”
The first breakout session I walked into was focused on testing, as I walked in I heard the speaker say he was a stastician, not a tester, and “was just filling a seat.” That was my cue to look for something else. So I headed over the requirements gathering session, thinking I’d hear a about a new methodology or tip. After about 10 minutes of requirements gathering 101, I bounced. It’s likely the first day was slated for 101 type classes, but I was looking for something more.
Most of the other tracks were focused on Microsoft development products, specifically newer ones, and probably more much more relevant. Since, we’re not a MS development shop (primarly CF, Flex and Java), I wasn’t really interested in learning about Silverlight or WCF.
I was about to head back to the office when I remembered John Kellar talking about the “Open Groups” they started up this year. The concept is great… pull a bunch of intelligent developers into a room and ask them what they want to talk about – what issues they’re currently facing, what technologies they are looking into, and the list goes on.
In the initial session, everyone tossed out ideas for topics, wrote them on huge sticky notes and created a schedule of open groups for the conference. The Open Groups I attended were great – engaging discussion about current, relevant topics we’re all working through.
The Open Groups at this conference saved it for me. I’d like to see more events geared like this. Hats off to the organizers who put this together!