There’s no way to articulate how amazing it is when a community comes together to learn, share stories and insights in a completely inclusive and feedback driven environment.
This past weekend, I attended my first ever #DDDBrisbane conference alongside Team RedEye featuring Taylah Brown (Global Recruitment Lead), Lochlan Bunn and Armagan Ersoz (Software Engineers). DDD Brisbane is a non-profit community event run by developers for developers and has been running a yearly conference for the past eight years!
Jessica Kerr from Atomist kicked off DDD Brisbane with her keynote on Why Data Driven Design should take over the world.
Jessica shared the importance of establishing growth loops in the solutions that we are creating. In order for growth loops to be rolled out effectively, we need to shift our thinking from defining out aim as an ideal achievement to redefining it as an ideal state where we can build a system of strong forces that reinforce it.
As an example, Jessica highlighted that it is not sustainable when we aim for happiness as our desired output. However, if we shift our aim to connection, happiness becomes a side effect of our aim. Jessica blew the crowd away with her odd socks, passion for the area and use of a projector when drawing out diagrams that visualised her thought pattern.
Cognitive Bias in Experience Design facilitated by Della Churchill from Readify.
Della clearly defined cognitive bias as both the little quirks that make us human and a tool that we use to cope with information overload.
Della cleverly unpacked elements of the Cognitive Bias Codex by touching upon:
- How less is more: Fewer choices increases the chances of people coming to a decision quicker
- How prototyping challenges us to confirm what our customers and users are really thinking
- How when it comes to change management: Low barriers make it feel effortless and seamless for users which makes it easier for it to be the ‘norm’.
Della also shared a variety of interesting case studies like the normalcy bias which is the refusal to plan for or react to a disaster which has never happened to them before.
A Case for the Humble Developer by Poya Manouchehri.
Poya encourages us to be more empathetic to our teams and to ourselves when providing feedback through excellent storytelling that sheds light on how blanket statements on one’s ability negatively reinforces our thoughts on self-worth and the importance of saying nothing when your colleagues are being provided unhelpful feedback is counterproductive.
Poya inspires us to try a different approach to feedback:
- When we get to know our colleagues outside of work: we are able to view situations from a difference lense
- When we provide a gentle reminder to our colleagues when it is apparent they are using blanket statements: we help them do a self-check and snap out of negativity
- When feedback is constructive, it is specific, helpful and solution oriented.
A highlight for me was during Q&A when an attendee shared her story on how she helped junior members of her team embrace failure through sharing one moment of failure every morning and reinforcing it with a lessons learned.
Data-Driven Diversity by Larene Le Gassick from Work 180.
Larene shared a year’s worth of Brisbane tech meetup data, let us into what the secret life as a meetup organizer is like and spoke on how the transparency of information (such as speaker gender ratio) has started to affect change in this community, for the better.
Larene defines accessibility as transparency for awareness and data for the change in the right direction. The ratio of diverse speakers within the Brisbane Tech Meetup scene is steadily growing.
In order for meetup attendees to play a supporting role in encouraging more women to speak at events, they can:
- Turn up, nominate and support their colleagues
- Provide feedback to meet up organizers
- Spread the word to their friends and colleagues on women drive initiatives and community events
- Share the love online through photos and tweets
At the same time, Larene highlighted the importance of watching out for each other so our female speakers avoid burnout so they can continue to be awesome and cultivate more role models.
Attract, retain and grow technical women by Sammy Herbert from Work180.
Sammy spoke on how we can tangibly assist the growth of technical women as a community through taking positive action by:
- Interweaving support into our policies around career growth, flexible working, parental leave
- Creating a culture of feedback and recognition through inviting feedback often, being specific on behaviour and impact and thanking the person for delivering the feedback
- Supporting technical women through sponsorship where one is invested in their development so much so that they vouch and build their profile amongst peers and influencers.
Sammy also reinforced the importance of having a diverse hiring team, being involved in the communities your candidates interact with, writing job advertisements that truly resonate with the candidate and having a great team. Sammy also took the opportunity to highlight amazing technical women such as Anna Gerber, Vanessa Love, Ashleigh Wilson and featured our very own Armagan Ersoz.
Jamie Larchin from Work 180 provided an informative talk on Design Hacks for Developers.
Jamie’s journey to becoming a front-end engineer began when she fell in love with coding whilst studying to be a designer since then, she has been able to utilize her eye for design in the solutions that she develops. Jamie ran through case studies on the website experience and design of both Mailchimp and Airbnb, here are her top tips:
- Consistency is key: If you have a close look at a website, you’ll come across carefully thought patterns
- Know your goal: Make a star out of your primary goal instead of making everything bright and bold
- Environment matters: Consider where your users are when they are using your product and understand most users will scan content; ensure they aren’t overwhelmed.
Jamie recommended that every time we see an amazing website design, we continue to ask what makes this website awesome and how can we learn from the design.
Up next, Vanessa Love from Australian Bureau of Statistics whose ‘I ain’t afraid of no terminator’ talk was both very engaging and educational talk on the difference between machine learning implementations and why they cannot combine forces. Vanessa used a variety of case studies from ELIZA (an AI program built in 1964) to Microsoft’s Tay chatterbot (an AI program built in 2016) coupled with some fantastic audience activities to highlight that AI and ML aren’t the answer to every tech problem.
Overall, I was completely blown away by how the event organisers put in so much thought into creating an incredible experience from their commitment to sustainability by ensuring all crockery and cups with compostable, the call to action to provide feedback to the speakers after every session and the amazing variety of speakers on the day who were voted in by participants; there was definitely something for everyone.