Thursday, March 20, 2008

Back from SPA


I’m back from the SPA conference. As usual I learned more from the conversations between sessions than the sessions themselves. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the session selection. This might be more a reflection on my existing knowledge and experience than the sessions themselves. Still I have a lot to think about and I’ll do some of that thinking here in this blog.

For me the highlight of the conference was Michael Feathers keynote “Big Ball of Mud: Economics and Legacy Code”. The scary bit of this is that Michael’s thinking mirrors my own thinking over the past few years. Central to this is Conway’s Law.

I’ll apologise now. It feels like all roads lead to Conway’s Law, I almost find it impossible to give a presentation to engage in a long discussion without seeing Conway’s Law in action. Melvin Conway originally discussed the idea in 1968 but it has lain, almost forgotten, for much of that time.

My own presentation at SPA went well. I was again working with Lise Hvatum with whom I explored Conway’s Law a few years ago. This time we looked at The Knowing Doing Gap. This is the gap between learning something and acting on it, particularly in organizations. The session was well received and we were very happy with it. I promise to upload some results soon.