Thursday, June 26, 2008

Alt .Net meeting- why do only developers attend?

At every Alt .Net event I've been to (all three of them but I'm still kinda new to this) as well as every conference, it seems like the vast majority of the attendees are developers. While we're there, we have sessions on things like "how to convince project managers to use Agile" and "how to talk to business people" and stuff like that. Then we return to our jobs and try to convince these people that we're right or that code quality is important or that unit tests help improve your product or other things that are obvious to us (especially after two hours of discussion). So here's my question:

WHY DON'T THE BUSINESS PEOPLE ATTEND OUR CONFERENCES?????

whoa, I just had an epiphany:

WHY DON'T WE SOFTWARE PEOPLE ATTEND THE BUSINESS CONFERENCES????

It seems like we're trying to figure out how to communicate with the "other side" that is the business. We are saying that we value communication, engagement, and people over process, however all we're doing is creating a process for trying to communicate with them. Isn't this a violation of our own principles? Certainly seems like it to me.

It works both ways, people

Instead of just talking to each other about how we communicate with the business people (and I assume the MBA conference probably has similar ideas about talking to software people), why don't we practice what we preach and bring some of these business people to our conferences and directly engage them in this whole communication thing? We can tell them how we communicate and what our needs are and what is important to us and most importantly, why these things are important. In turn, they can tell us the same thing from their perspective. I think that this would be infinitely superior to what we do now.

If you build it, they will come (and they've built it and we're sitting around)

On the flip side of this, how many of us developers actually attend any business-oriented conferences? Have any of us? What about presenting a session at them? Anyone do that? I certainly haven't and I have only myself to blame for this. I think it's time for us as a community to take action and not only bring the business folks and managers into our movement, but actively reach out to them and approach them in their community as well and let them bring us into their world for a change. Anyone out there agree with me? Anyone have any ideas on how we can do this?

2 comments:

Chris Bilson said...

The problem with business conferences is they are freaking expensive.

If you want to see a little more of the "closer to the business side" you should go to agile open nw. I'd say it was 50/50 or less developers. Also, barcamp, that sort of thing.

But if you want to go to something like an accounting conference or an investment advisors conference, you need to be ready to either pay a lot or expense a lot.

Where is the alt.accounting conference I want to attend?

Justin Bozonier said...

I'm okay with expensing a lot. :)