November 18, 2008

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Software Craftsmanship 2009 Request For Session Proposals

So I finally got around to putting out the RFP for the - now confirmed - conference on Feb 26th next year. If any of you out there in eyeball land are considering running a session, here's the invitation that went out today.

(Registration will start on Dec 1st, BTW)


Dear Software Craftsman,

(Or should that be "craftsperson"?)

I'm delighted to announce that the Software Craftsmanship 2009 conference is open for business!

The Date: Feb 26th 2009

The Venue: BBC Media Centre, White City, London

Our Gracious Hosts: BBC Worldwide & BBC Backstage

We have two rooms, allowing us two simultaneous tracks of fun and games relating to the business of BUILDING SOFTWARE RIGHT.


This is a conference about the "hard skills" that programmers and teams require to deliver high quality working software.

From writing effective unit tests to managing dependencies, and from writing reliable mutli-threaded code to building robust and dependable service-oriented architectures.

This conference is all about the principles and practices, and the disciplines and habits, that distinguish the best 1% of software professionals from the 99% who are failing their customers and failing their profession by taking no care or pride in their work and delivering buggy, unreliable and ummaintainable code.

This conference aims to showcase and champion the "hard skills", and champion the idea of software craftsmanship and the ways in which it can be encouraged and supported in the workplace, in schools and colleges, and among the wider software development community.

This is a conference about building it right.

Thanks to the generosity of BBC Worldwide and BBC Backstage (both organisations 110% committed to software craftsmanship, by the way), registration is free. Registration will open on Dec 1st - yes, before we even have a programme!


Between now and Jan 7th, we are accepting proposals for sessions. The exact style, format and length of sessions is being left open to ensure we leave you enough creative freedom to come up with the kind of innovative and challenging sessions I know you can. You could propose a 15-minute crash course in avoiding race conditions in multi-threaded code, or a 2-hour coding dojo on adversarial pairing. Or maybe a 1-hour tutorial on the basics of model checking, or a 30-minute presentation on how your organisation encourages and supports software craftsmanship.

Okay, so there are some implied limitations. A 72-hour marathon session on TDD in Ruby won't actually fit into the available time slot for the conference. And a 30-minute session proposal is twice as likely to find a slot than a 60-minute session proposal.

And we have our little prejudices, of course. I'll be briefing our excellent selection panel to favour sessions that gives delegates hands-on, practical experience. So if you were thinking of doing a PowerPoint on the success of coding dojos in your company, you might want to turn that into a coding dojo to illustrate how you do it and slip the exerience report into that context. Just a thought.


This is a conference all about the "hard skills" that are critical to helping programmers create solid, reliable, dependable, maintainable, scalable etc etc code. It is not a conference about specific technologies, or about managing teams (unless that relates specifically to encouraging and supporting craftsmanship), or about planning or estimating or tracking projects. It's also not a conference about processes or process improvement.

This is a conference about PEOPLE and the skills, knowledge, practices, habits and disciplines that help them to deliver better software.

So a session proposal like "An Introduction to Ruby on Rails" will almost certainly get rejected. But "Ruby Refactoring Coding Dojo" may well find a slot. And a session like "Delivering Business Value through SOA" will probably end up on the cutting room floor, while "Automated End-to-End Testing of Service-Oriented Architectures - A Tutorial" would be in with a shot.


So we're deliberately keeping it as loose as we can. But there are few things we definitely need to know about your session to enable us to evaluate your proposal:

1. Who are you? (Your full name and contact details, and a brief blurb about who you are and what you do)

2. What is the title of your session?

3. What is the style of your session (is it a tutorial, or an experience report, or a pole dance etc?)

4. How long will your session need?

5. Who do you see participating?

6. What will they need to know before the session, and what might they need to bring (e.g., a laptop, a copy of Visual Studio 2005, a pony, and so on)?

7. What is the rough content/process of your session, with rough timings so we can get a feel for how it will all fit?

8. What will you need to run the session, and what will you be bringing yourself? (e.g., will you need a projector, flipcharts, a camping stove or wotnot?)

9. What outputs do you envision from your session, and how will these be published (e.g., on your web site, or on our web site?)

10. Have you run this session before? Do you have slides or outputs we can look at?


Submitting a session proposal is easy. It shoud be in plain text (a basic Word doc is fine, but no fancy suff because it'll just get lost when I paste your proposal into our selection panel wiki).

Email your proposal to


The selection committee will be beavering away evaluating session proposals and we will meet several times to start fleshing out the conference programme between now and the day when the final programme is announced.

Deadline for session proposals is January 1st 2009.

The programme will be announced on January 7th 2009.


...can be directed to me :-)

Looking forward to reading your session proposal. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you need any help

Jason Gorman
Conference Chair
Posted 1 week, 5 days ago on November 18, 2008