Socrates Belgium OpenSpace - November

Monday evening the 5th of November we hosted the first of many SocratesBE OpenSpace meetups at our office, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Read on if you’d like to know what SocratesBE is, what the OpenSpace format is, and what’s in it for you.

SocratesBE OpenSpace

Socrates stands for Software Crafting and Testing, and is an international community of Software Crafters that hopes to learn from each other in order to improve themselves.
Every country has their own local community, which shares the same values of self-improvement and inclusiveness through collaboration. Values that are very much aligned with those of Kunlabora.

The evening starts off with 5 minute Lightning Talks, given by any participant. After that, we collaboratively build a schedule for the rest of the night where topics and workshops proposed by our participants get a room and a time slot. You can join and leave as you please, making yourself responsible for the learning you get out of the meetup.
If you’re interested in more background on the techniques used, check the references at the bottom.

So what did we actually talk about?


Mechanical Refactoring

Michel Grootjans gave a lightning talk about how to apply refactoring with extremely simple and small practices using a Golden Master and running tests with code coverage.
After this already insightful lightning talk he also proposed this as a topic on the market place where it was demoed in more detail.
I learned that this is a very fun refactoring because at all times your tests are green, and you learn about the codebase in baby steps. This ends up being very motivating as well, in contrast to a Refactor All The Things! approach.

QUIC network protocol and WebPerformance testing

Robin Marx decided to give an impromptu lightning talk while other people were giving their talks. His talk was on the QUIC network protocol which is set to replace TCP.
Afterwards he also had a session on what Web Performance testing tools one could use and their benefits and disadvantages.

How to avoid regret…

… when starting a new project, using the knowledge and experience of previous projects.
Something our very own Bruno Lannoo wanted to discuss, which led us to talk about what practices and tools are non-negotiable and why.
This ended up as a very interesting discussion that also had an obvious tie-in with Olivier Costa’s lightning talk about a template he created.
This template is based on the Accelerate book, that can be used as an assessment of how good a team is based on metrics like feature lead time, deployment frequency and others.


Peaked your interest?

All you need to do is subscribe to the SocratesBe MeetUp group and we’ll see you on the next event in Leuven!
You could also join the SocratesBe Slack if you’re still stuck with questions I was unable to answer.
Next to the MeetUps there’s also a yearly unconference, with the next one happening very soon. You may expect a report on lessons learned when it’s over.



An OpenSpace is an unconference format, meaning it’s participant-driven.
It’s also listed in the Liberating Structures.

With a maximum of 5 minutes, lightning talks are about experiences you want to share, new things you learned, a question or hypothesis you want to pose, … And they usually link to a topic on the market place.

The market place is nothing more than a blank schedule listing 30 minute time slots and the available (meeting) rooms.
Everyone is invited to write a topic down on a post-it, and to come forward one by one, to briefly introduce your post-it and hang it somewhere on the market place.
Got multiple topics? Introduce one and requeue.
Of course, as people introduce topics it might trigger you to think of another topic, so feel free to write it down and queue up so you can suggest it and put it up on the market place as well.
After everyone posted their suggested topics we take some time to rearrange topics, in order for people to follow the topics/discussions that they’re interested in.

Then the discussions or workshops simply start in the rooms according to the market place.
At all times you can use your two feet: simply go away if you’ve lost interest or are unable to contribute. Since everyone knows this, it’s considered OK behavior, which adds to the open, inviting and inclusive atmosphere.

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