Swansea Con – Hell Yeah!


My Journey to Swansea was fine, my Journey back was not! The middle was a blast. Awesome people, awesome talks and I even got to do some graphical recording. A big theme that came through the talks I attended was being agile over doing agile and solving problems or outcomes over deliverables.  TL;DR If you just want to see the drawings of the talks skip straight to the bottom of the page.



SwanseaCon roared almost literally into life with Sander and his usual brand of waterfall and agile frustration. Go into production as early and as often as possible. What I have termed Sanders New Testament! Small teams with short cycle times, building small components, learning continuously, autonomously. Can i be a disciple?




Kim then talked about continuous delivery. All good stuff but the takeaway for me was the stats around project size. Something I regularly spout as an agile coach but the exact numbers were great to see. Large projects fail and small projects succeed!


Then it was my turn to talk about motivation. A highly personal account of challenges faced. I was a bit nervous about presenting about motivation at a craftsmanship conference about motivation, but for me the key point that your mind your brain is the biggest tool in your development armoury. Slides can be found on slideshare. Luckily Richard Bradshaw was on hand to take over the sketching duties …….




Another take away from day one for me was a slide from Georgina McFadyen on talent and demonstrated a couple key points i wanted to get across talent isn’t god given, and your attitude is crucial.



I was then lucky enough to see Seb Rose talk about everything BDD, ATDD, Spec by Example related. A key tool in any agilists tool bag BDD when used well can be a powerful vehicle for embedding a culture of collaboration. When used dogmatically it can be an expensive and unnecessary ways to create test automation.


That ended day one except for a post SwanseaCon meetup which was owned by a chap called Lawrence Weetman making use of his GCSE Drama to play two characters in a witty lightning talk about microbial resistance (Agile)!


Day 2 – The day of the train breaking down! 


A day of variety and tiredness for me. “L Dog”, “THE WEETMAN” started off the day for with a wonderful exploitation of an argument with his wife. Limiting WIP (PlatesInSink) and demonstrating with a quick plate passing exercise was wonderful. Littles Law, WIP, cycle time and Kanban.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Then a police man told us we weren’t allowed to tell anybody about his talk! A great simple intro to product ownership lessons salient points for me:

  • Outcomes and Value of Deliverables and Story points.
  • Always put the customer first, examine your bias and assumptions through customer and user research.
  • Listen to the team and trust in self organisation but experiment and measure while doing so


I then was “Snowdenowned” – a new word coined to describe the feeling when you realise you know almost nothing and Dave Snowden knows lots. David talked about the Apex predators of the computing industry, IBM, Microsoft, Apple. All wrapped up with a dig at the certification rent seekers of our industry.


My day finished before i got on the train of doom with Kevin Henney speaking lots of agile common sense. Often we push the problem we are solving into the background and focus on the solution, true! Agile is about responding to change. Kevin finished by giving us some handy story writing tips based on his creative writing experience.



My train broke down, did i mention that! It took me ages to get home (2am) but i would definitely do it all again. SwanseaCon is a truly awesome conference run by an amazing person who puts in a huge amount of effort to make it happen. A massive thank you to Viv Richards for putting such a great event together and inviting me again. If it runs again I would love to be there again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s