IJYI's Highlights from Nor(DEV):Con

Fresh from our trip to Norwich for nor(DEV):con we thought it would be good to share some highlights of the event.

The day kicked off with a fantastic Keynote presentation from Liz Keogh on The Failure of Focus. This really set the tone for a day of inspiring talks and workshops.

It was really great to see the organisers of nor(DEV):con putting the spotlight on the holistic side of tech life and looking at mental health in the workplace. This was covered in the People Track and was sponsored by Mind – Norwich and Norfolk. Some of the most popular sessions for the IJYI team were on this track. David Freeman, one of our Senior Developers has picked a couple of stand-out sessions on this topic:

“One of the best talks of the day was *CAPS LOCK ON: How language affects our world* with Tom Haczewski.

This talk focused on the use of language and conscious and subconscious bias around our language choices. The concept of our passive use of language choice always needing a quick check to make sure we’re not falling back on lazy habits.

A good example was the term considering diversity as contrasted with inclusion. It’s not enough to prevent people from being excluded, people need to feel included. The speaker proposed we need to actively monitor our use of language because we all have a level of subconscious bias toward people more like ourselves.

He showed an example of using https://textio.com/ to grade job descriptions for masculine vs feminine language choices which may subconsciously favour one gender over another – really fascinating stuff and worth a look”

Another of the topics which David highlighted was Ubuntu, Mental Health and #MyVillage with Katherine Gilmartin

“Katherine spoke about the needs for people to have a support network, how she went about building her own after a tough start in life, and the importance of being honest at work and in your personal life when you’re struggling and need help. It wasn’t your usual IT or corporate focused talk and gave a very human perspective on struggling to cope and the importance of prioritising your mental health. It was a really thought provoking and inspiring presentation”

Attendees who visited the Business Track were treated to an interesting line-up which started with a fascinating talk from Cassandra Andrews called ‘Crack the Motivation Code’. At IJYI we’re extremely invested in motivating and empowering staff so this was music to our ears! This interactive workshop focussed on motivation in the workplace and introduced ‘motivational maps’, an incredibly accurate and user-friendly tool which enables us to unlock and measure employee motivation.

For a bit of fun during the day the IJYI team ran a ‘Nerf Gun Challenge’! Entrants were tasked with eliminating as many “software bugs” as possible for the chance to win $200 of Azure credits. A lot of fun was had and our lucky winner was Kacper Bawol from Sessioncam. Congratulations!

Speaking of bugs, an interesting session in the Process track was ‘Bug-First Development – Agile Software Development For User Story Prospecting’ with Adrian Pickering.

Adrian states that “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.

John Nicholson, IJYI’s CTO gave the closing Keynote session on Friday with his presentation ‘The Complexity Gap – Exploring Current Practice’. The session really got audience members involved because John used a great tool called Mentimeter. This tool allows presenters to use realtime voting. Interactive tools like this really help to bring presentations to life and keep an audience engaged.

Huge thanks to the NorDevCon team, sponsors, speakers and attendees for making this year’s event such a great success. As Elite Sponsors we were hugely proud to be a part of nor(DEV):con 2019!

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