With three projectors in action, thirteen prizes including a significant one, twice the beer budget, fifty percent more people and nine speakers, this years December Lightning Talk Competition was a proper extravaganza. As the twitter stream exploded into life and people began arriving the organisational stuff was left behind and a joyful evening unfolded.
As a testament to how the community has grown over the past few months the same event last December attracted nineteen attendees and four speakers. This year seventy one people showed up and the nine speakers had to be whittled from a possible twenty one people who submitted a proposal.
Andy Stewart kicked off with a comic book slide deck of test anti-pattern villains from the dark side and despite the vuvuzela equipped audience, fully tooled up to blast him off stage, he finished with nearly a minute to spare and only applause was necessary.
That set a surprisingly well disciplined trend for the evening with Amy Thompson following, Agile Coach of the Year trophy by her side, with top tips on how not to “boil” your Scrum team and instead rally them to be “synonymous with success”.
Ash Winter prompted much re-tweeting of his statement that the “Project kick-off phase is just an excuse for a big cuddle” and was yet another on time finisher to loud applause. Next up was Bettakultcha compare, artist and speaker Ivor Tymchak with nothing more than a mug, a washer on a piece of string and a wooden spoon. His ten minutes flashed by with wisdom, philosophy and a feat of anti gravitational trickery that did work the second time around to the huge enjoyment and appreciation of the crowd. Having speakers drawn from a wider than usual catchment added the twist of variety and perspective that an Xmas celebration should have. Paul Berwin proved the point further by using his ten minutes, plus his lawyers viewpoint, to add more insight, humour and questions to the recent agile contracts theme the Agile Yorkshire has followed.
A mid point in the evening had been reached, a second slab of beer needed unpacking and a couple of technical adjustments to ready a laptop for code demo.
For the second half Simon Davey delved into his unhealthy obsession with turtles of the graphical kind with a little nostalgia, an openGL code demo and his involvement with the STEMnet educational movement. Kudos to Simon for that. Stephen Blower used his slot to work on testers moral and reminded everyone that testing is a profession that can’t be done by dragging random people off the street. Stephen’s slot was all the more entertaining for its crash into extra time and the resulting hoots and baying reaction of the audience.
The penultimate speaker was Stephen Carter with his popular deconstruction of agile grammar, jokes and irony and last of all came James Jeffries. Poor James had to wait patiently for ninety minutes, unable to relax, but delivered a most educational and experience born presentation of kanban mechanics, flow management and system design and was a fantastic end to a charming evening.
A brief question and answer session followed while votes were collected and scores calculated. The results gave Ivor Tymchak top honours and the significant Amazon Kindle Fire first prize, followed by Simon Davy second and Ash Winter third. Everyone who spoke walked away with a prize and there were even a few left over prizes for the audience draw and the “five to” twitter lottery (if you don’t know what that is come along to find out).
With Gravitas sponsoring the “after-drinks” a healthy section of the audience had soon filled the Midnight Bell next door to re-live the evenings rapturous events. Thank you Helen, Usman and Gravitas for making that happen.
Thanks must go to the team and everyone else who helped set up all the gear and helped make the evening run as smoothly as it could. Plus a special thanks to Paul Cresswell who runs ILTO Photography for taking some fantastic photos. Please tweet him some love and kudos as appreciation for his generous support of Agile Yorkshire. Finally thanks to main sponsors Callcredit and NewRedo and to our prize sponsors O'Reilly, JetBRAINS, Manning, Wrox and PluralSight. Roll on the next one.