Xebicon 2015

This year Xebicon organised their annual congress in de Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam. A venue I usually experience in the dark so this was a nice chance. Topics this year where Continuous Delivery, Microservices, Software development, Big Data Analysis, Agile, Datacenter automation, IoT and Test automation. The keynote was done by two agile coaches, Kristian Lindwall and Anders Ivarsson, from the Spotify company. They explained how they implemented agile in their whole company. An impressive story but which also made me wonder if I’m ever going to see such a company in Holland which will take agile to such an extend. One of their focus points is to make teams autonomous in a great extend. Like I said……inspirational!

Spotify

The first track I went to was the one of Dave Farley. He talked about Acceptance Testing and its patterns and anti-patterns. How you could setup your acceptance testing by creating a Domain Specific Language so you can make an abstraction layer between the tests and the things you want to test. This way you can create your tests in a declarative way and not all your tests break when you chance the implementation. You just have to fix your abstraction layer instead of all your tests. A good presentation with some very nice pointers.

The second track I went to was about Deploying multiple times a day at the Kadaster by Raymond Kroon. I was hoping to hear about how they managed this, not only in a technical manner but also on an organizational level. I was a bit disappointed here. The presentation was more about the point when he joined the company and which changes they implemented after that but in a very high fashion. He isn’t a native english speaker which kind of affected the presentation a bit in my opinion. He went too fast and missed a certain coherence due too that.

The third track was of Adriaan de Jonge with So you think your release is too complex for CD. A solid and interactive presentation which discussed several know issues companies had when trying to achieve Continuous Delivery. From Legacy Systems problems to Vendors who aren’t as agile as their customers want them to be. Good stuff!

Continuous Delivery

The fourth track was probably my favorite of the day. Serge Beaumont talked about the 24 man DevOps team. He said it had been a while since he stood on a stage presenting but this wasn’t noticeable at all. He put down solid statements and do’s and dont’s. Wat is truly devops and what’s not in his opinion. He had some nice new things which I hadn’t seen before like a fast and off-team lane on the scrum board. The fast lane is mend for items that meet the definition of the fast-lane. Bugs for example which have priority to be fixed during the sprint or just items which where unaccounted for during the sprint planning. People can mention during the standup that they spend some hours in this fast lane. He gave nice examples of how to measure the velocity based on certain percentages of these lanes. Again very good stuff!

scrumboard

The fifth track I went to was something I wasn’t familiar with. Automated visual interface testing by Sannie Kwakman. Another good presentation about different frameworks which can make visual testing of an interface possible. Some work screenshot based, some work css based and some are hybrids. A clear and good presentation but something I probably won’t use in the near future.

The last track was about Organizing massive test automation at Bol.com. A nice finisher of the day in which Jeroen Ruigers and Viktor Clerc talked about how they setup all their tests and how they managed them. Which tools they used and which obstacles they had faced. A nice look into the test kitchen of Bol.com using tools like Fitnesse and TestXL.

bol.com

To round it all up, it was a very nice congress. The arrangements where good, including food and drinks. The lunch line was a bit long ( but hey, you can’t have it all 🙂 ) and the talks which I visited where mostly high quality and interesting. Thanks Xebia and see you next year.

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