I have now been on the first QCon conference in history. The format felt a lot like JAOO, which was good. There were nothing in particular that caught my interest on the first day, I mostly stayed on the architecture track and listened to Kevlin Henney and Martin Fowler, who really are excellent speakers.
However I also listened to Jim Coplien’s From Design Practice to Code, and he provoked quite a few when he challenged some of the agile practices. Especially Test Driven Development (TDD) was under his attack. His point was that if development is test driven you should start by defining acceptance tests, naturally. But his question was how do you go from acceptance tests to unit tests without doing design. I definitely see his point, that you in many cases are forced to do a short design phase upfront before doing TDD. His advice was to skip TDD altogether, but I think TDD can be a great tool, especially for systems with well known architectural patterns and in the hands of experienced programmers.
I also met Henrik Kniberg, the author of the popular Scrum and XP from the Trenches. It was interesting to hear that he wrote all of his great paper during one weekend as a documentation of the experiences from his last project, without the intention of publishing it. When he asked his collegues what to do with it, the said “publish it on the web”, and the rest is history as they say. If he would have known the impact of his writings he would probably not have written it in that way, and then it might not have reached the same popularity.