I wanted to write a more detailed post about CUSEC, like I did last year. I tried a couple of times but I couldn’t find a really good way of putting it all together. I always wanted my blog to help me get better at writing. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself to write a long article.

However, there certainly were a couple of interesting ideas I heard at the conference that I want to share, or at least that I want to catalog in my blog. So here they are, at random (well not totally, in the order I heard them):

Day 1

Pete McBreen

  • The "It works as designed" mindset. (There was a very funny example about a motorcycle, anyone remembers what it was?)
  • We should sign our work, take responsibility for the systems we create.
  • Learn from experience with project retrospectives.
  • We need to promote fun process because excitement is a good predictor of quality.

Austin Hill

  • Startups can stay small today.
  • VCs expect market traction for a software company, so it’s important to get it out soon.
  • Find mentors and coaches.
  • Technical risks are low today. You take creative risk.
  • Forget plans. Have fun. Choose what not to do.

Greg Brill

  • Aptitude. Attitude. Experience. Favor the first two.
  • Elevator pitch can be summed to "What do you want?".
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Attitude is king. Avoid the bitch cluster.

Other presentations of the day:

  • Jim Cordy about what is a professionnal software engineer.
  • Someone from SAP talks about Web 2.0

Day 2

Dave Thomas

  • Dave starts his presentation by taking off his shoes.
  • Use of fear to manipulate. FUD is used to sell.
  • Risk management is important
  • You can’t live without taking risks.
  • Do not be afraid to make mistakes.
  • Opposite of risk is stagnation.

Ralph Johnson

  • The word maintenance has a bad stigma.
  • Maintenance is increasing.
  • Programming is program transformation.

Other presentations of the day:

  • Dr Lee McIntyre about the User Experience team at Business Objects.
  • A presentation of Mylar, an interesting plugin for Eclipse.
  • Panel discussion wasn’t very good, lacking direction and a central theme.

Day 3

Venkat Subramaniam

  • The key to beginning agility: attitude.
  • Fixing problems is a top priority, not blames.
  • A mistake is an oppportunity to learn.
  • Keep up with change, but keep your balance.
  • Take control.  Find a rhythm for everything. Tackle tasks regularly. Set small goals.
  • Don’t listen, educate customer.
  • Decide what you shouldn’t decide.
  • Timeboxing.

Other presentations of the day:

  • Geoff Guenther, about high performance databases at Direct Energy.
  • Timothy Lethbridge, about the resistance to HCI.
  • Kokoromi

Well that’s it for CUSEC for 2007. Going through my notes, there clearly was an idea that come up a lot: Make mistakes and learn from them.

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