A new year, a new conference for me. My first talk of 2017 was at the Software Quality Days in Vienna.
The conference began with a welcome to the 340 participants and an interesting opening keynote from Jürgen Appelo, a great Dutch guy, talking about “Managing for Happiness”. The talk was about work-life integration for creative people, e.g. via challenges, experiments, food and parties. He explained that a mental integration is more important than everyone being in the same office space and talked about how to get a distributed team to gel. Instead of crazy team building exercises, a technique called personal maps can be used. He also mentioned culture books and how they should be presented and realized so that they represent the company. I also loved his explanation of delegation poker.
After the keynote I attended a talk about the sociological challenges of doing reviews. The message of the talk was that 60% of errors happen in the first third of development, which makes early quality assurance incredibly important. Then I was up, talking about Usability while the party started and the band played. An unusual environment for me as a speaker, but my talk was well-attended and we continued the conversations well after the session had officially finished. I actually talked so much that my filling came loose! But no time for the dentist – there were two interesting talks I wanted to listen to early the next morning.
The first one was “Quality is created in our heads”. Using a rather well-chosen example of a condom, the speaker made the point that users have high quality demands because the rest of their life might be affected by bad quality ;) Another aspect of the talk was communication – does each person mean the same thing when they say quality?
The talk I was most looking forward to was “4x4 Design Thinking – Why successful Digitalization needs to be based on Empathy and Experimentation”. Given the complexity of the world, we need patterns to break down complex concepts, to question our assumptions and to encourage us to view things from a different perspective. After a quick visit to a nearby dentist, I attended the talk on “How does an organization move to agility”. This talk was eye-opening when I think about our relationships with our customers – we need to find way that different approaches can peacefully co-exist.
The two days went by incredibly fast, and I took away a great deal of inspiration for my work. I’ll definitely be aiming to attend again next year!