April 15th I went to the Dutch Java user group conference named J-Spring. This is the first of two blog entries about this conference. The J-Spring is a popular 1 day conference about Java and related technologies. It is a good place to get an overview about the current state of technology and meet fellow developers.
The introductory keynote was given by Sherali Karimov from Atlassian who talked about how agile is implemented at Atlassian.
Two things in his presentation I found particular interesting. These were:
- The disturbed
- Blitz tests
We are all familiar with it. Sometimes you and your team members get so many questions from different people that your own work suffers from it. At Atlassian they introduced the role: the disturbed. Whenever someone has the disturbed role, he/she is expected NOT to do any work but instead answer all questions from outside. The other team members can focus on delivering. The disturbed role is changed every week to another team member. Every week a new team member is responsible for answering questions from people outside the team. Besides shielding the team from outside questions, the disturbed role has another advantage. By switching team members to answer questions, gradually each team member gains the knowledge to answer those questions. It is an effective and practical way to share knowledge within the team.
Another concept that was introduced is Blitz tests. Atlassian uses there own products inside there own company. Whenever a new release of a particular product is released, it is deployed on the company’s production environment. People from within the company can subscribe to test the new functionality. The experience at Atlassian was that a lot of people subscribed and were eager to test the new functionality. They gave a lot of good feedback to the development team which resulted in higher quality software. I believe you gain a lot when you have the possibility to test every new release by certain people in your own company before releasing the product to your customers.
JEE and JavaFX
Look out for the second post of the J-Spring which will highlight some interesting points from the other sessions I attended.