I’ve been lucky enough to attend two of Thoughtworks‘ Away Days over the last month. Most recently I attended the UK Away Day this weekend that provided a great opportunity to catch up with some people and generate some new ideas. I’d write up more about the Indian Away Day I’d attended two weeks prior, but running a two week training course almost immediately has taken away my time to reflect and my memory’s a little foggy these days.

Here’s an overview of the sessions that I attended:

  • A Lessons Learned session applying Ruby on Rails – An interesting session presented by Paul Ingles and George Malamadis about their approach to building a fully functional website with some of the pitfalls. I love these sorts of sessions as you get the insight into the decision making processes with talk about the constraints and thinking that pushed patterns into the direction of the end result. Really nice and a great topic to start leading into the Meta Programming session later than evening.
  • The Space Within – Hosted by the very calm Manoj Ramachadran who ran through a number of exercises to help improve the “quiet” times in our lives and give us an ability to become more effective. I found this interesting as it gave me insights into other methods to try.
  • Features of C#3.0 – Presented by Troy Gould and a great statement opening it along the lines of C#3.0 is included in .Net 3.5. How confusing is that? An interesting code example comparison by comparison of features new to C#3.0 introduced to support Linq. I think pretty much everyone was thinking how these features could be used effectively, and where they would be more likely (ab)used.
  • Case Study of a Consulting only session – An ever excitable and interesting co-presentation with Luke Barrett and one of our clients where the focus wasn’t directly about delivering working software, but focusing on delivering value even earlier by clarifying a business case and helping evaluate its feasibility. I enjoyed hearing the application of the same lo-fi techniques and methods bringing value in a different space for once.
  • Meta Programming – A fun session running through features of Meta Programming in Ruby by Farooq Ali and Julie Yaunches. I really enjoyed this session, and glad I could attend this since I’ve had the pleasure of working in the same room with both of these people and they’re passion for Ruby really shone throughout the presentation. They reminded me of the power language gives, and definitely helped me refine some thoughts I’d been having about the environment or approach needed to pull this off successfully.

I had a great time catching up with loads of people and had plenty of fun after the conference gathering at Sway.