With the smoke clearing from the altnetconf this weekend I thought I might reflect a little on the ambience.
Once again I was really pleased with how the Open Space format turned out. We find that we do not get any presentations as a result. Instead we just get conversations between interested parties. There is a lot more active participation as a result. A lot more voices.
I was impressed by the open mindedness that everyone displayed. At a simple level I was impressed by how open newbies were to the Open Spaces process. But more than that I was impressed by how willing everyone was to listen, and to share both their pain as well as their triumphs. There was little chest-thumping ‘we are alt.net because we do this’ and a lot more ‘how do you guys make x work’. I picked up valuable advice around acceptance testing following some openess on my part around the issues we had. There was a lot of feedback from people saying that they found a lot of value in the openess of that conversation, the understanding that other people struggled at times, that everyone was learning to some extent. Gojko used the phrase ‘group therapy’, which was a good summary about how much of this felt.
While a lot of people were using the usual alt.net suspects in terms of tools and frameworks (Castle Stack, JQuery Resharper,Cruise Control – or increasingly Team City) there was a lot more emphasis on principles and practices than tools.
My biggest concern for alt.net remains that it becomes the new orthodoxy leading to alt.alt.net. The open minded nature of the conversation this weekend was encouraging in that regard. People seemed keen to improve and to learn, not just play the same old tunes. There has been some traffic on this site of late about what alt.net means. I still believe that the XP idea of ‘Embrace Change’ remains at the heart of alt.net.