2019 Sessions


The Failure of Focus
Liz Keogh

We know that in our landscape of people and technology, aiming for a particular outcome doesn’t always lead to us getting what we want. Sometimes the best results come from approaching a problem obliquely. But in Agile our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software. We like to start with the outcome, meet the needs of our users, delivering high-quality working software with happy teams and true agility… but how might that focus be holding us back, and what are the alternatives?

In this talk we look at some different strategies for approaching complex ecosystems, starting from where we are right now, and allowing innovation to emerge through obliquity, naivety, and serendipity.

Tech Track

Attack of the Monorepos
Rupert Redington

While working with a large distributed team on behalf of a profitable US budget airline Neontribe investigated monorepos to solve some technical problems, but we soon found that we came to value them for social as well as technical reasons. We’ll get an introduction to the theory, explore some of the available tooling and then illustrate the changes the team experienced; we’ll not be shying away from some of the terrible mistakes made either. This talk will contain packaging systems, semantic versioning, Javascript, bots, guilt and love.

C# 8: it’s getting closer.

Jon Skeet

It’s nearly here! The Visual Studio 2019 Preview is already available, so if you haven’t looked into what’s coming in C# 8, now is the perfect time to do so.
The most important feature of C# 8 is undoubtedly nullable reference types, but there’s plenty more to look forward to as well.
While I’ll make this talk as easy to understand as I can, there’s a huge amount to cover. Expect a fast pace, with lots of code.

A Test of Strength

Chris Oldwood

A session about what it means to write good (strong) tests, but also how we need to be “strong” (in character) to make that happen.

AR, building real AR applications

Paul Hutson

Augmented Reality is coming, we don’t know when the mainstream delivery mechanism will arrive, but we can start to work out how we’re going to use the technology for real applications.

In this talk I will cover where we are now with Augmented Reality, what new things are coming and how we can already start to build and test applications today.

Responsibiltity and the Dolphin Model

David Legge

Powering Data Science with AWS Athena & QuickSight

Matthew Bill & Danielle Ashley

In order to drive new data science functionality, we need data, lots of it and in a state where it can be used to train models and make decisions. Making sense of your big data for such research can be tricky, expensive and time-consuming.

Enter AWS Athena, which allows you to query multiple large data sets using SQL within seconds instead of days. When coupled with a data lake off the back of S3, it can also be a very cost-effective solution over traditional data warehouses. This data can then be analysed, exported and used to drive further investigations.

In this session, we will demo how you can use Athena and the complementary tool Amazon QuickSight to visualise data into a rich set of dashboards. This talk will benefit those who are trying to make the most of the data they store, as well as those who want an insight into how a multi-skilled data science team can use these tools to create new products.

Code Your way out of a paper bag
Fran Buontempo

Jeff Atwood bemoans many programmers not being able to code their way out of a paper bag [https://blog.codinghorror.com/why-cant-programmers-program/], so this is your chance to stand apart from the crowd.

We will start with a very simple example, and then use some machine learning techniques.

You will gain a handle on a small part of machine learning, witness virtual cannon balls firing out of a paper bag and discover how you can learn or solve problems using a mixture of random attempts and sensible ways to assess if they are any good.

Technical level: begininner at machine learning, some experience of programming will help.

Suitable for intermediate programmers, and possibly beginners, though experienced programmers who are curious about machine learning will get something from this.

From Managed Hybrid Hosting to Self-Service Microsoft Azure

Andy Courtenay

A deep dive look at a lift and shift approach to migrating an existing infrastructure setup over to Microsoft Azure. The trials, the tribulations, the facepalms and the ultimate freedom to grow it delivered in the end.

Session Length: 45 minutes.

Technical Level: Beginner / Intermediate

Aspect-Oriented Programming in .Net: Logging with Interceptors with Microsoft Unity Enterprise Library

Adrian Pickering

Sometimes, we write the same code over and over again. Not just boiler plates that give us momentum on successive projects, but individual lines or clusters of code that crop up over and over throughout a single programme.

public void DoStuff(woo string; yay string)
Log.Info($"DoStuff is being called at {DateTime.Now} " +
"- woo='{woo}';yay='{yay}'");
Log.Info($"DoStuff finished{DateTime.Now}");
catch(Exception e)
Log.Error($"DoStuff threw at {DateTime.Now}: {e}");

Does that look even vaguely familiar? Do you have another two hundred and eighty eleven methods containing Log lines that are pretty much identical?

And wouldn’t life be that little bit rosier if Ops could tell you everything they will ever want logging before you commit changes to version control?

Aspects may help you to create more maintainable, more SOLID code and Unity Enterprise Library could possibly enable Ops to decide at run-time what they need to monitor.

In this talk, I will introduce you cross-cutting concerns, coding for them just once in your solution and explain how we can practice single-responsibility more responsibly.

What is Microsoft Teams and why do I care?

Tom Morgan

Teams is Microsoft’s latest communication and collaboration tool. If you already use Slack then you might think you don’t need yet another chat client, but you might be surprised at all the things Teams can offer your business to make you more productive. In this non-technical introduction, join Microsoft MVP Tom Morgan as he walks through how Teams offers a different approach to business communication, demos some key features not available on any other platform, and compares Teams to the competition in areas such as security, data governance, developer integration and more.

Donkeys are Aliens

Steve Love

Developing software isn't an easy thing at the best of times, and delivering working systems is something we as an industry still struggle with. However, it sometimes seems we spend a lot of
time making it unnecessarily complicated, and this talk is about identifying some of those things, and suggesting how to improve matters to make life easier for everyone - developers, managers and
customers alike.

Delivering working systems is about reliability, repeatability and confidence. These are the headline-grabbing things promised by many popular Agile Frameworks, but you don't have to *Do*
Agile to *Be* agile.

This talk isn't about advocating a specific process or even criticising any existing approaches. It's some observations made by an inveterate developer who has put some of these things into 
practice and seen good results.

Responsibiltity and the Dolphin Model

David Legge

Responsibility starts with yourself. “If you can’t manage yourself, you can’t manage anyone,” my Grandma used to say.

When something goes wrong, there are a number of ways in which you can respond.

The Dog Poop Initiative is a book written as if for children by Kirk Weisler. It describes a dog doing its business in a park and contrasts the common reaction of just pointing at the mess with that of someone who takes the lead by sorting it out straight away and scooping it up. It begs the question, are you a pointer or a scooper? Do you take responsibility and sort problems out, or wait for someone else to take the lead?

The 6 Stages of Debugging (a play on Kubler-Ross’s 5 Stages of Grief) describes different attitudes to the process of investigating a problem in software (or hardware), starting from “That can’t happen”, to “That doesn’t happen on my machine”, through to “How did that ever work?”. This gives us an easily imaginable demonstration of different levels of (not) taking responsibility, leading us to…

Christopher Avery’s book, The Responsibility Process, which outlines 7 stages of responsibility – and using debugging as an example, we will walk through each stage:

  • quit (can be reached from any other state)
  • denial
  • blame
  • justify
  • shame
  • obligation
  • responsibility

It’s referred to as a process because you can find yourself in any of the stages at any time, but the trick is to move your mental state to responsibility as soon as possible so you can deal with the problem.

The Responsibility Process is a tool for self-management only; if you try to ‘give’ responsibility and the recipient does not fully accept it, they can just end up in the state of (begrudging) obligation.

Taking responsibility is the only way to tackle a mess in a codebase; if you wait for someone else to sort out your mess, it will fester in the meantime. The Law of Entropy says that unless you actively work against it, disorder takes over your code, killing your project like the proverbial boiled frog. Is it going to be you that tackles it, or are you going to kick back and let someone else?

Leading by example will often mean others will start to take more pride in their work – and more satisfaction too.

As well as code, we can look at how to take responsibility for dealing with people. We will look at the Dolphin Behavioural Model, visually mapping 4 types of behaviour (passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive and assertive) and what kind of outcomes they look for. We can then show how you might deal with each of the types of behaviour – not that it makes it easy, but at least it gives you a shot.

The Dolphin Model allows you to recognise someone acting in a less than ideal way and then take responsibility for your relationship with them. The model provides a framework for how you might approach an encounter with them. It is tempting to just write them off. But by taking responsibility and making some effort, you can often turn around a difficult relationship and and build a constructive one – being more Dolphin is about seeking win-wins.

This session is about taking responsibility for yourself, which will be leading by example – when people see you act like this, it will build trust and encourage others to do the same, setting a professional standard.


Crack the motivation code!

Cassandra Andrews

Imagine if you knew precisely what motivated each member of your team, how motivated they were and what you could do to improve their motivation!  

Cassandra Andrews interactive workshop focuses on motivation in the workplace and introduces ‘motivational maps’, an incredibly accurate and user-friendly tool which enables us to unlock and measure employee motivation.

Understanding exactly what motivates individuals in an organisation can be used with significant impact to support business growth and profitability by maximising employee and team motivation, retain employees and recruit the right people to complement existing teams.

At the workshop you will discover how to create high performing teams by learning:

  • What motivation is, how it can be measured and how it impacts the workforce.
  • About the nine motivators identified in motivational maps.
  • How to increase team performance by identifying conflicts in motivation.

To enable all delegates to get their own ‘wow’ moment from the workshop, there will be an opportunity for four attendees to win a complimentary individual motivational map with feedback/insight session and discounted motivational maps available for other attendees.

Build a Bot in 90 Minutes!

Tom Morgan

Bots are changing how we interact with data, but it can be hard to know where to start. What better way than to watch someone do it live? In this no-slides, full-demo session, Tom will attempt to build a fully working bot from scratch, using the Microsoft Bot Framework and Microsoft Cognitive Services to add natural language processing. Don’t think you’ll get to sit back and take it easy through – your participation will be required! If you thought building bots was something you couldn’t do, this session will change your mind. Look out for the ‘5-minute bot’ at the end as well!

Finding Value

Matt Draycott

In this interactive workshop Matt will present a range of tested, hands-on tools and techniques which he uses to help people shape their ideas into impactful business ventures. During the session Matt will help you to understand processes for developing ideas, forming and shaping them into ventures, understanding the value these may have for consumers and, how to conceptualise this as a model. All of the tools Matt will use are freely available and, there will be copies to take away with you. The session is aimed at pre-start and start-up innovators who want to shape their business idea and it’s value proposition but it will be of value to anyone who wants to learn techniques to develop ideas and find value.

Approval testing: Superpower your automation feedback

Mark Winteringham

How do we ensure the feedback we are getting from our automated tests is targeted and informative? What information are we throwing away in an attempt to check for specific data?

How we design assertions and the tools we use to determine the value of our automated tests. However, most of the time we neglect our assertions, relying on libraries such as Hamcrest, Chai and Assert. Enter approval testing, a different approach to assertions that can improve tests feedback loops. By increasing the scope of what is being asserted without sacrificing speed, reliability and maintenance, approval testing can help superpower your automated tests feedback.

In this practical workshop, attendees will learn the how and why of approval testing techniques by creating automated tests using approval testing against different application layers.

  • By the end of this workshop students will be able to:
  • Discuss the goals of automated regression testing and feedback loops
  • Describe how approval testing works and differs from traditional asserting
  • Construct approval tests for different interfaces ranging from API to Visual
  • Construct methods to ignore specific data during approval testing

Day of Deliberate Practice.

Jon Jagger

During the session we will discuss and practice software craftsmanship, communication and creativity, focusing on TDD, pair programming, trying out new things and revisiting old ones. Deliberate practice involves careful repetition and reflection to master, explore and understand a technique, to know its boundaries, to make it second nature.

  • Hands on workshops & lectures
  • Shared Learning Environment
  • Effective coding habits
  • Collaborative Development

If you code every day, keep in mind that a change is as good as a rest — yes, there will be coding, but it’s not your workaday coding. We will be using cyber-dojo, an innovative, collaborative, open source environment. We are going to have fun — join us!

Test Driven Development – TDD

Pair & Mob Programming


With time to look at different code, and code differently, this session will open your mind to different ways of doing things and new ways of approaching old problems with great rewards. Using Jon Jagger’s innovative cyber-dojo environment, you will get to re-examine coding habits and debate modern practices with experts and peers.

This session is open to individuals and teams of all abilities, the only pre-requisite is some experience of software development and a desire to learn:

All programmers who want to step back and examine how they can be better

Junior programmers who are looking to master their craft

Experienced developers who want to reflect on their own practices and hone their skills

Bring a laptop – wifi and access to http://cyber-dojo.org/ required.

Business Track

Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

Ed Perkins

What do you learn on a coding bootcamp? How easy is it to get a job afterwards? Should I employ a bootcamp graduate? Can you really learn to code in three months?

As a recent graduate of London’s prestigious Makers Academy, I will try to answer these questions and give some insight into the intensive training processes that focus not only on coding, but also around working with others, communicating, tech culture, employability and looking after your own emotional well-being.

Makers is ‘designed to turn people with no knowledge of web development into job-ready junior developers in 12 weeks’. So does it work? After a fairly major career change from being a musician and educator, I set about turning myself into an employable professional web developer. Find out if all the hard work paid off and discover what life is like for a bootcamp graduate one year after graduating.

Session topics: People/ Business

Session length: 45 min presentation,
Technical level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Business

Don’t fall over like Elon Musk did – How to stay energised and disrupt an industry

Ian Hacon

Elon Musk is one of the most famous workaholic cases in recent years. So much so, many others quoted him as a badge of honour when they too worked too hard. In 2018, his wheel fell off, forced to take a total break due to exhaustion. This session will help you understand how looking after your own energy is good for business and you will leave with some easily implementable steps to do so.

Orchestrated Mobility – Changing The Way We Move

John Fagan

By late 2030, its predicted that 95% U.S. passenger miles travelled will be served by on-demand vehicles owned by fleets, not individuals, in a new business model Transport-as-a-Service (TaaS).

Citizens will pay a monthly fee to go anywhere they wish, much like we do today using on demand services for music and video, like Spotify and Netflix.

TaaS will unify public, private & autonomous transportation into an efficient service and is predicted to deliver a largely carbon-free road transportation system.

In this talk i will…

  • Vision of Transport as a Service
  • Key Drivers (Technologies, Autonomous electric vehicles, ride sharing, costs and barriers)
  • Impacts on society, economics and the environment
  • Who should be the Netflix for Transport?
  • Examples of use cases and disruption happening today

About Axon Vibe

Axon Vibe is a location-based AI platform that detects and predicts real-world human behaviour.

We enable public transport operators to lead one of the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruptions of transportation in history.

Lowering the Iron Curtain: Western and Eastern Europe Gamedev Culture

Chris Filip

Europe is divided. There are many axes that this statement can be split on. Each of the 50 countries in Europe have their own game development industries. Yet, culturally, there is one big divide: the former Iron Curtain, separating Western and Eastern Europe. And most of the 50 countries in Europe have their own language, history and culture. How does this translate in doing business, and, specifically, making games in Europe?

In his talk, Chris will provide the historical, cultural and educational contexts within game development which divide Western and Eastern Europe, as well as provide facts and statistics which will help game developers and studio managers make informed decisions about expanding or outsourcing to these countries.

At the end of this talk, the participants will have learned the cultural difference in the game development industry between Western and Eastern Europe. The participants will be able to better understand how to approach outsourcing to and opening new studios in Eastern Europe, what the advantages and the potential pitfalls might be.

Session topic: Business

Session length: 45 Minute presentation

Technical level: Business

The Schizophrenic Organisation

Sergios Tsagarakis

Session abstract: A look at agile transformation through the eyes of a fictional and slightly extreme organisation. Picking up on common problems and exploring what the reasons could be before drawing a conclusion.

Session topic: Business

Session length: 45 min presentation

Technical level: Business

Harnessing the power of subscription technology

Juliana Meyer

Thousands of professionals are discovering ways to transform the way they work and the way they earn a living. Leveraging the skills we each have, the talk uncovers how anyone can can build their own subscription business using the knowledge and talents they already have.

I’ll go deep into the steps needed, opportunities available, the how and why, and what has worked and not worked for others. This has already been a game changer for others who learnt this from my previous talks which then transformed their lives, their living, and their opportunities.

Given the key trends of subscription, technology and self-education, I’ll explore and explain how anyone can successfully launch their own apps from home to generate a passive income and lift the lid on exchanging time for money.

Running a business is hard

John Gostling

Running a business is hard….harder when you don’t have much experience of running a business! 6 years ago I joined Breakwater IT as a Systems Engineer, I quickly realised there was so much potential that had yet to be tapped into, and every day since then my focus has been on releasing this, creating a better company to work with, and to work for. It’s been a constantly evolving journey, 2 steps forward, one step back (sometimes two!), but things are finally starting to fall into place.

 This is a very open self-appraisal of the how we have transformed a loss making company into one that turns a profit and is currently growing at 20% year on year.

Developing an app to promote emotional resilience


Since summer 2017, Dr Laura Biggart and Dr Kamena Henshaw, from the School of Psychology, have been working with UEA computer science students and Steve Jones and Adam Ziolkowski from JoziTech to develop a student support app. Currently the app is focused on supporting students’ transition into Higher Education. In this session we will talk about the development of the app, the research background to the features, and the feedback since our launch in September 2018. We will conclude with a discussion of our future plans, including evaluation of the app and our plans to work with other organisations to develop bespoke OpenUp apps

Process Track

Title: Bug-First Development – Agile Software Development For User Story Prospecting

Adrian Pickering

The idea behind bug-first or bug-driven development is devilishly simply: Everything is a bug until it isn’t.

As far as a user is concerned, there is essentially no difference between a bug, a feature that hasn’t been delivered and one that is otherwise unusable, say through substandard user interface or user experience. Bug-driven development essentially asks the user what operation they want to do next that they currently can’t undertake. The benefit this brings is laser-focused story discovery and prioritisation.

45 minute Process session – beginner to intermediate.

Working remote vs Working colocated

Paul Boocock

We often talk about waterfall, scrum, agile and many other processes but these are often considered from a colocated perspective.

As demand for remote working continues to increase, we will discuss if our usual processes work in a remote environment and what changes or considerations do we need to make to support remote workers?

Session topics: Process

Session length: 45 min presentation

Technical level: Intermediate

One Team, Two Teams, Many Teams: Scaling Up Done Right (90 or 45 minutes, 90 preferred)

Giovanni Asproni

Scaling up software projects is one of the trends of the moment—many companies, big and small, try to do that  to increase the speed of delivery of their projects.

However, scaling up can be quite difficult (even going only from one to two teams),  especially if it is done focusing on the wrong aspects – most companies give too much weight to formal structures and processes (e.g., mandating the use of SAFe, LESS or other frameworks), and not enough weight to other aspects that would give a bigger bang for the buck: eg removing friction, improving communication channels, setting clear goals, delegating responsibility and accountability, etc.

In this session I’ll share my experience in successfully helping companies to do the right thing in projects ranging from two to about eighty teams, and I’ll offer some tools that you will be able to use right away in your projects.

The session, among other things, includes:

  • A description of what needs to be done right before scaling up
  • Strategies on how to decide when to add new people to a team and new teams to a project
  • Things to consider when deciding the structure of the teams (eg feature vs component teams), and its relationship with the shape of the system
  • How to use simple rules to allow teams to collaborate productively
  • An explanation on why each project has a upper bound in its ability to scale, and what to do about it

Jugaad: Bringing Troubled Projects Back On Track (90 or 45 minutes, 90 preferred)

Giovanni Asproni

What do you do when a project is not going well—e.g., the client is upset, the team demoralized, the quality of the product is low, the project is late—to bring it back under control and make the client and the team happy again?

How do you that in highly politically charged environments?

In this talk I’ll answers the questions above and more, by sharing my experience in doing that in several projects of various sizes (from small to quite big) using some jugaad—a Hindi word, which, roughly, means thinking in a frugal way and being flexible, which, in turn, requires the ability to adapt quickly to often unforeseen situations and uncertain circumstances in an intelligent way.

I’ll describe, among other things, how to:

  • Work in highly politically charged environments
  • Deal with difficult (and powerful) people and speak truth to them
  • Help the teams to improve their morale and motivation
  • Make progress with limited resources
  • Use different leadership stiles (including command and control)
  • Make your client happier
  • Deal with serious mistakes

Reengineering a Library

Burkhard Kloss

Session abstract: Over the last few years, I’ve been consulting on reengineering a quant library. As is wont, the library had originally accreted, rather than been designed; eventually, it had turned into a ball of mud, and maintenance was becoming increasingly problematic. We decided to rewrite the library from scratch, using best practices as we understood them, and eventually turned it into a piece of code we can be proud of – and maintain and extend without too much pain.

This talk is a personal retrospective on techniques and processed we applied; what worked, what did not, and why.

# Evolution from #NoProjects to Continuous Digital

Allan Kelley

Once upon a time there was IT, and IT departments had projects. Projects were always a bad fit for software development but somehow we made them work. As IT became Agile the damage caused by the project model became obvious and #NoProjects emerged to help teams go beyond projects.

Today growth businesses are digital. Technology is the business and the business is technology. Projects end but do you want your business to end? Or do you want it to grow? Growing a digital business means growing software technology.

In this presentation Allan Kelly will look at how #NoProjects came about, how it evolved into Continuous Digital and why it is the future of mana

Miscellaneous Process Tips

Jon Jagger

This session will explore three important process laws.

1. The New Law.
Why does nothing new ever work?

2. The Chatelier’s Principle.
How do systems change? How do they stay the same?

3. The Composition Fallacy.
No difference plus no difference equals no difference is a fallacy. Why?

People Track

Tanzt Kaputt Was Euch Kaputt Macht!

Dom Davis

It doesn’t matter what language you use, what platform you code on, or what editor you prefer; there’s one underlying thread common to all code: people.
When it comes to people, you hear the phrase “neurotypical” quite a lot these days, but looking round the industry I do wonder how many of us are neuro*a*typical. So regardless of if you’re a techie person, or just work with techie people, this one is for you. We’ll go delving into the people aspect of software development, with some light abuse of the German language along the way. Don’t worry if you don’t speak it. I don’t either.

*CAPS LOCK ON: How language affects our world*

Tom Haczewski

Do our words really have that big an impact? Tom explores the impact of small changes in language and how we speak to others to help our teams be more open and inclusive, and our projects be more successful.
Tom has almost 15 years of experience in design, development and usability, for both client- and agency-side backgrounds. Over his professional career he’s worked with Virgin Money, ASDA, HMV, Arco, Econsultancy, BBC and RAC before starting The User Story. He’s spoken at international conferences and events, and has a guest lecturing position for BSc User Experience and Interaction Design courses at Norwich University of the Arts, inspiring young people into a career in user-centred design.

*CAPS LOCK ON: How language affects our world*

Tom Haczewski

Do our words really have that big an impact? Tom explores the impact of small changes in language and how we speak to others to help our teams be more open and inclusive, and our projects be more successful.
Tom has almost 15 years of experience in design, development and usability, for both client- and agency-side backgrounds. Over his professional career he’s worked with Virgin Money, ASDA, HMV, Arco, Econsultancy, BBC and RAC before starting The User Story. He’s spoken at international conferences and events, and has a guest lecturing position for BSc User Experience and Interaction Design courses at Norwich University of the Arts, inspiring young people into a career in user-centred design.

All in Your Head

Kevlin Henney & Fran Buontempo

What’s this talk about? It’s about 45 minutes. It’s about depression. It’s about coping. It may well be about you.

It’s got Greek. It’s got Latin. It’s got pictures. Lots of pictures.

It’s got lyrics and guitar pedals and pictures and SF and comics and quotes and truth tables and philosophy. But mostly pictures.

And it may well have something for you or someone you know.

Society (n+1).0

Jon Skeet & Jennifer Wadella

smashing the patriarchy and other ways of changing the world (Yes, this is as political as it sounds; I haven’t written it yet, but the general gist is “we say that software changes the world; let’s listen to other people and change it radically for the better”. It will be pretty obviously feminist, but more as a “prominent background” than me actually trying to sell feminism at every turn.)

Ubuntu, Mental Health and #MyVillage

Katherine Gilmartin

Mental health needs or illness is a subject many communities choose to ignore. By plotting out visually what is available or lacking in our social landscape we can identify where to move forward to be present in our community to avoid isolation, loneliness and crisis.

Ubuntu is part of an African proverb and where the open source software operating system go it’s name. It’s open source herritage starting from, we’re all in it together, an ethos of village life.

Wellbeing is becoming a popular interest, which can be pushed further into the uncomfortable to establish a concept that daily self care looks different for everyone. An artist using skills attained from MH recovery, to break down stigma and help others thrive in their individuality and lean into the support they have.

Exploring ideas of why we value community and how we can develop these ideas to help us be accountable in our career and social roles. We all have mental health, we’re all in it together.