Pipeline 2016 Conference Review

Gustavo Elias photo I have attended a number of conferences before, though not always as speaker, but Pipeline 2016 has certainly been the most fun to date.

You know how sometimes people get too serious about what they are saying? That in itself is not bad, but when I go for three days in a row to listen to people that go really deep into their topics, I start to think “Please God let it be over” by the end of it. Not so with Pipeline.

The talks where full of little jokes (and pictures of cats. Everybody loves pictures of cats!) and real life examples - the sort of examples that we face on a daily basis.

Keynote: Jez Humble's “What I Learned From Three Years Of Sciencing The Crap Out Of Continuous Delivery”

Funnily enough, as I write these words, Jez is sitting next to me typing something furiously into his computer. His next talk maybe? Anyway, Jez has been working on putting numbers into intuition. He is working closely with a Data Scientist writing up metrics to measure whether certain elements in Continuous Deliver (CD, link?) have any correlation with the way we write and deliver software. And there were a number of surprising results that you can watch at Pipeline's website (link?). I can't recommend his talk enough. Jez is a brilliant communicator. You won't be disappointed.

Helen Hosein's “Fixed Price With Agile & Continuous Delivery”

Helen exposed, from a project manager's viewpoint, what the different types of projects are, and how to approach them. Money constrained-, time constrained-, and anything in between. To be honest, it's quite rare to have a PM talking at a developer conference, so it was good to see the “other side”'s point of view. I think a lot of people agreed, because there were loads of questions at the end of the talk. Very brave from Helen putting herself in front of such a huge number of devs! If you are going to watch this talk, don't miss the questions at the end.

Dave Hunslow's “You Are What You Eat – How Branching Affects Team Culture”

Branch-based development is a controversial issue. And when branching is approached as “let's branch, develop for a few months and then merge back into master”, you can image there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Dave approached the topic very intelligently.

Gary Frost's “Financial Institutions Carry Too Much Risk, It’s Time To Embrace Continuous Delivery”

I have never seen slides like the ones Gary brought up. The talk was excellent, and it linked up very well with Jez's keynote. A good approach on how to minimise the risk of delivering software in financial institution. Definitely worth 20 minutes of your life, if only for the quality of his slides. A really good presentation.

Dave Nolan's “#NoStaging”

Basically, Dave listed many reasons to get rid of your staging server. I agreed before, and I agree a lot more now. And he had pictures of cats! What more can you ask for?

Sally Gobble's “So What Do You Do If You Don’t Do Testing?!”

I can't say I agree with what Sally said. She made a valid point when she mentioned that in certain environments you can't really do much testing. But the feeling I got from her was that you should be reactive to feedback from users instead of being proactive and test what you develop thoroughly. Controversial, in my very humble opinion.

Steve Elliot's “Measure Everything, Not Just Production”

An excellent communicator with an excellent presentation. Steve made a really good point about looking after your test environment, which is something many companies (including us) tend to neglect. It is brilliant to know that production works smoothly. But wouldn't it be good to have a test environment that runs smoothly as well? Take a look at the talk. You'll be convinced if you are not already. Spoiler: lame puns inside.

So all in all, I had a blast. I met a lot of people with great ideas, had a few interesting conversations and of course a few drinks in the pub afterwards with some colleagues, including Joe McKevitt who spoke at the conference too. Thumbs up for Pipeline!

About the author:

Gustavo is a Java developer in the Marketing Intelligence team at IG in London. He is currently juggling with Clojure, Spark and Hadoop, trying to make sense of them while delivering bonus and marking related software. He likes cats and food, though cats are not food, unlike what Alf might think. Find him on LinkedIn.