I was reading “The Passionate Programmer” by Chad Fowler and came across an action point which literally read “go to a software conference”.

But spending hundreds of euros on a conference like OOP in Munich with travel costs and expenses for hotel and meals wasn’t quite the way to go as a father of two infants and plans of building a house.

A friend of mine – Thomas Berger – was always fancy about little independent conferences and barcamps which are very common in Berlin where he lives.

Sometimes You just have to keep your eyes open. And lo and behold I found a barcamp hosted by method park just 500 meters away from my company’s site. Like driving to work, getting home in the evening. Except on a weekend.

I purchased the ticket via openspacer and payed 29 €. I had not so high expectations because some colleague of mine stated that this event would likely be a recruiting thingy of the hosting company. Oh Boy, was he wrong! Ok, so what is a barcamp? A barcamp is a self-organizing event which lives from the input of all present participants.

For a barcamp You don’t hire expensive speakers. The folks decide in the morning about which topics they want to discuss all day long. Some come prepared with a talk, some have just a bunch of ideas they want to present and get some feedback from other professionals.

So Software Engineering Camp (#SWEC16) started at Friday 18.11.2016 and ended Sunday 20.11.2016. I did not attend the Friday evening opening because kids – You know.

So I went on Saturday morning. Because meeting with complete strangers is leaving my comfort zone big time, I was very happy to see Andreas Tennert from my company e.solutions around.

As a first time camper I had a hard time choosing my 9 sessions from the 45 topics. Luckily there is a rule for attending bar camps: when you cannot contribute or learn something, change the sessions. So it’s not like school where you are always waiting for the bell to ring. Here is the list of sessions I attended:


Working together in a large codebase – Joys and Pains

Laura – a former employee of method park – works for Google in the London office and was astonished how 25.000 engineers can work on the same repository. Takeaways:

  • Google uses Piper, their own versioning system
  • Everyone can contribute to every Google project, but the changes have to be reviewed by a project owner
  • Google does not expect You to be productive in the first year.

Unknown unknowns

Andreas made a talk about things we don’t know and that we sometimes even don’t know what we don’t know. Takeaways:

  • There are things we cannot even imagine that we don’t know

Comparing Software Dev culture Japan vs Germany

Susumu Sasabe showed us the differences and commonalities between these two development cultures. Takeaway:

  • Kaizen
  • More iterations

Security and the IoT

Alex talked about the Internet of unpatchable things. Takeaway:

Minimal Documentation of Software Systems

Oliver showed the gap between developer documentation and end user documentation. Takeaway:

  • arc42 template

My Manager doesn’t understand me

Steffen made a talk about the issue that a developer communicates the project status as “red” while the customer is told “everything’s green”. Why is that?



Wolfram made a very impressive demonstration of the MeteorJS framework by showing how they built a meeting documentation app. Takeaways:

  • Hot code push updates all clients whenever a database, client-side or server-side code change happens
  • Wrapper around npm for client-side and server-side package management
  • Integrates with Angular, React
  • With version 1.5 more databases are supported

Customer Journey as Team Journey

Nadja wanted to present the idea of a team journey as a meta-retrospective to discuss with your team on a regular basis how everyone thinks about the separate parts of scrum e.g. daily, planning, grooming and retro as well. Takeaway:

  • Scrum doesn’t have a built-in meta-retro per se but it should

No excuse for for not doing TDD even on the smallest target

Klaus introduced us to Test driven Development on deeply embedded devices. Takeaway

The Bottom Line

The organization of this event was really really good. Enough to eat and drink, quiet and comfortable location and a nice spectrum of sessions.

I was charged and energized, when I came back to work on monday. I had to tell everyone about this event. I was a bit disappointed that except Andreas and me no one from our company attended SWEC16. I’m already looking forward for the next SWEC which will definitely happen in 2017. I also booked another event Future Mobility Days in Nuremberg

Some other impressions from the SWEC16 event:

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