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Dylan Smith ALM / Architecture / TFS

In the morning I went to “Incorporating Agile Development into Your Organization”, given by Peter Provost ( and Adam Riddlehoover (  This was an awesome lecture about the techniques you can use to introduce Agile concepts into your dev process, and the benefits you can expect to receive.  They talked about things such as Pair Programming, Test Driven Development, Daily Standup meetings, customer involvement, etc.  They really pushed the idea of Pair Programming, which prior to this session I thought was a little wacky, but now I'm starting to see all the benefits you can receive from it.  When he called it “real-time code review” that really made alot of sense.  It also is a great way to provide training to new or junior devs by pairing them up with a more senior dev, and this is something I've used in the past with good results.  It can also be used to achieve a more consistent coding approach across the project by making developers work together on the code.  The key benefit is just the improved communication that will be achieved between the development team.

Later in the day I was sitting around chatting with Peter and Alan from the talk about TDD and Agile in general.  Peter was telling me about a really cool idea of a “TDD Game”.  He talks about it on his blog (, but here's how it works:

  • One person writes a test. If it passes, he must pass the keyboard to the other person who gets to write a test.
  • If it fails, he passes the keyboard to the other person and they have to implement the required code to make it pass.
  • If "the light is green," the person who has the keyboard can choose to perform a refactoring instead of writing a test. In fact, if the implementation given by the other person has some duplication that needs to be removed, they are obligated to do just that. (After which, of course, the other person gets to write a test.)

That sounds like a great exercise, and when I get back to Winnipeg I might grab one of my devs and try it out between the two of us to see how effective it is.  If it goes well I'll get the rest of my devs to give it a go.

They also told me about an Agile conference in Minneapolis next month where Peter is going to get up on stage and actually do the TDD game live with another guy.  I'd love to go to this thing, especially since it's so close I could just drive.  Not sure how that will go over though since it's only like a month after Tech-Ed.  I'm also going to insanely busy next month getting ready to roll out a big application at Westeel.

I also went to the “Next Generation Data Access in .Net Applications with ADO.NET vNext”.  That talk was allright.  It was my first look at LINQ which I think will be pretty awesome, but they were focusing on an ORM layer that sits ontop of LINQ.  I wasn't that impressed with that part of it.  It seemed to me like just another form of typed datasets, only without genned code.  I suppose that can be said of any ORM solution though.  I think I'd have to play with it myself before I can really get a good feel for it.

At the end of the day I checked out “Delving into Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Testers”.  I don't really know what I expected, but I didn't really enjoy that session.  It was all about load testing web applications, which I suppose I should be interested in; seeing as how we develop all our backend using Web Services...but I just really have no interest in sitting around for an hour hearing about it. 

After that they had dinner in the Expo hall.  All the food here has been amazing.  They have freezers full of pop, juice, water, etc everywhere.  Big deep freezes full of ice cream stuff (Hagen Das bars, drumsticks, etc).  The meals are just awesome, the type of stuff you would order in a restaurant.  Even the breakfast was great, had scrambled eggs, pancakes rolled around a blueberry filling, bacon.  Just awesome.  The dinner that night had free beer for everybody.  When you have 10,000 people there, that works out to alot of beer.

I hung around drinking beer chatting with the architecture guys for a couple hours.  Dropped my bags off at the hotel then headed out to club Avalon which was rented out for Tech-Ed people for the night.  They had a Jam Session there which is like karaoke, only with instruments as well.  Was pretty cool, had like 20 people up on the stage playing all kinds of instruments.  Surprisingly it actually sounded really good.  Mostly classic rock stuff.

I'm about to head over to a Birds Of a Feather session put on by Joel in 10 minutes.  I'm still trying to figure out how to get my pictures off my RAZR, so if anybody knows how let me know.  I can get my computer to recognize it via bluetooth, but when I go to the services the only one listed is Dial-Up Networking Gateway.  Isn't there supposed to be something in there called like OBEX Filesharing??

Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 12:18 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Tech-Ed Monday

# re: Tech-Ed Monday
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I think you should have less blogging about the geeky stuff and more about the beer you were sitting around drinking.
Left by Al Kaholic on Jun 13, 2006 6:57 PM

# re: Tech-Ed Monday
Requesting Gravatar...
I think you should have less blogging about the geeky stuff and more about the beer you were sitting around drinking.
Left by Al Kaholic on Jun 13, 2006 6:57 PM

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