The Blog

Jul 12, 2006

2006 IBM/Rational Software Conference 

by Maxim Porges @ 9:13 PM | Link | Feedback (0)

I was lucky enough to attend the 2006 IBM/Rational Software Conference, which was fantastic. One of the things that struck me was just how many people there are out there trying to practice IT craft the right way.

There were 13 tracks covering everything from Requirements Analysis to Architecture, Portfolio Management to Software Quality. There was so much good stuff happening in each time slot that I would literally narrow my options down to three or four sessions, and still not be able to decide which ones to go to.

Luckily, I found a way to almost attend the whole thing.

Having been blown away by the experience level of the presenters, I dropped $150 on the conference audio CDs, which arrived yesterday as a 6 CD set. Coupled with the presentation materials (downloadable from the conference web site, thoughtfully pre-converted to PDF), this gives me access to the entire conference. Not quite as good as being in all the sessions, but light years ahead of not having any access at all.

I think my favorite sessions of the conference were as follows.

Agile Requirements Management with Use Cases (by Ian Spence, Chief Scientist at Ivar Jacobson Consulting)
Ian did a great job presenting how to cut the crap and get down to details with requirements management. Something I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with at CFI is the amout of ceremony involved in getting our projects/enhancements rolling. We spend so much time talking about and documenting the problem that we never seem to get anything done. I'm dying to get in to my software architecture role full time so that I can experiment with some of the agile techniques that Ian covered. I'm also picking up a copy of Practices of an Agile Developer (highly recommended by my CF conference buddy John Paul Ashenfelter) to see what other clues I can glean for getting things done quickly while maintaining a responsible level of lifecycle and documentation.

Managing the Service Lifecycle with IBM Rational Software Architect (W. David Pitt, Research Director at Number Six Software)
This session was great because it covered some useful techniques for managing services in a SOA environment using Rational tools (which we have at CFI). Truth be told, the techniques applied to any SOA shop regardless of tooling, so it was great stuff either way. One of the things I liked the most about this session was that the David validated my plans for setting up our SOA and abstraction layers. It was nice to have somebody to talk to from experience about this sort of stuff. No disrespect to my peers, but many of them are relying on me to make the right decisions in this area (obviously, because it's my job), but I don't have that many people at work to bounce these sort of ideas against.

Overall, I'm really looking forward to getting all the conference materials downloaded, after which I'm going to burn them on DVD as a kind of cohesive record of the entire conference. Amazingly, this conference takes place annually in the consistent location of my current 'hood of Orlando, FL (at the Swan & Dolphin resorts on Disney property), so I'm definitely planning on attending the conference again next year.