The One where I Went to SoCraTes

I’m currently sitting in our Berlin office in a small unused office room with the door shut because I am so tired. I’ll have to stay awake for a workshop at 4pm though and then we have to go to the main station to travel to Hamburg for our visit in our Hamburg office tomorrow, so I guess I won’t sleep for a while now.

I spent the weekend at SoCraTes in Soltau, a kind of magical un-conference with the best people and the coolest topics ever. And I really wanted to blog about everything and all the time, but I was always so exhausted in the evenings that I didn’t manage to write anything. It was great though, so I’ll use this post for a short recap:

It started off great with a train that was perfectly on time in Hannover and then I even ran into some folks that I knew from the years before so we could share the train ride to Soltau and catch up on things that are going on in everyone’s lives. And when I arrived at the conference hotel, I happened to sit on a couch with Lewis, one of HolidayCheck’s former apprentices and we immediately started talking about how to structure learning after/without an apprenticeship program. Great, that’s what I came there for. We continued our conversation on Saturday during the lunch break where he and Markus, one of their current apprentices shared a bit more about their apprenticeship program and I explained how I am trying to structure my learning and crate an apprenticeship-like path for our company.

In terms of sessions, I went to:

  • Evil Mob (Mob Programming meets Werewolf, who are the evil programmers?)
  • Community-driven Software Craft Knowledge Base
  • Liberating Structures
  • TCR CI/CD on TDD
  • a Nail Polish / Networking session
  • Apprenticeship Programs
  • Rust Intro
  • Silent Coaching
  • How to debug perceived slow team performance
  • Refucktoring (really fuck up a decent implementation of FizzBuzz)
  • ReasonML Intro

What really stood out for me was the session on “test && commit || revert” CI/CD and TDD, mostly because Xavier said a lot (and others said some more) about how and why we write commit messages and how fast and how intense we get feedback for our mistakes (from humans or machines) and I think I might do a Learning Hour talk on TDD variations and all those things like feedback and commit messages that have something to do with it.

And I did Katas! I finally did the Kebap Kata (I was too afraid I’d publicly mess up last year), a fun Scala session in the evening and I participated in Sunday’s Code Retreat where I (partially) implemented Game of Life in Kotlin, Elixir and Haskell.

There are so many things that I missed that sounded great, though. I think I will spent some time during the next weeks reading session results and begging people for more information on those sessions I did not manage to participate in. Some of the topics that I’m definitely curious about:

And I spent my train time from Köln to Hannover and back on refining an idea I have for a learning project/application. It is related to the “apprenticeship” program I am trying to develop and to my needs of tracking what I learn in a better way. I have a plan now. Let’s see how this goes.