Learn, Share, Practice at SoCraTesBE 2015

Written by , in category Software Craftsmanship

23 September 2015

Why I love SoCraTes events

I have attended several software craftsmanship and testing unconferences and similar events over the past years and all of them have left me wanting more. The openness, the sharing of knowledge and the freedom to fully decide on my own learning experience have been enough to inspire me to bring this wonderful concept to Belgium. I luckily found an excellent partner in crime to help organise the first SoCraTesBE in Koen Metsu. Together we have been able to find a beautiful location: Floreal at the Belgian coast, next to the biggest marina in our country.

How I learned new things there

During these events I have been able to write code in coding dojos. I have paired up with some really cool people from all over Europe. I have been part of group discussions on a wide variety of topics ranging from Domain Driven Design over usable software design to Agile/Lean/Scrum/Kanban. I have attended presentations about impact mapping and interaction driven design. Not to mention the numerous informal conversations that helped me grow my understanding of software development as a whole.

What happens at SoCraTesBE?

The gathering runs from Thursday 22th October to Sunday 25th October, 2015.

We’ll kick off Thursday evening with introductions, then we’ll run a group warmup session, talking about an issue relevant to all of us. After that, we’ll have dinner together to continue the conversation, twist it around and branch it in every direction.


On Friday and Saturday, we’ll run an open space, in which every attendee is welcome and encouraged to propose talks, discussions, workshops or whatever else they choose to further every attendee’s knowledge and understanding of creating and maintaining software. Being a self-organizing event, SoCraTesBE participants create the schedule on the fly, every day before the Open Space starts. This “schedule” is known as the Market Place. The market place is basiscally a map of timeslots and locations for sessions like in the picture above.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, attendees are encouraged to run social activities, from pair-programming to board games and everything in between.

The conference is officially over on Sunday 25th after breakfast, but people can still join us for a nice walk along the coast or the beautiful Nieuwpoort Marina, run a code retreat, or other informal activities.

My favourite law: the Law of two feet

When the market place is set up, everyone is free to attend any session they are interested in. If at any time during a session you find yourself neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet and join another session. This is my favourite way of optimising my learning experience. I have used this at normal conferences as well after having informed the presenter that I will be using this law.

Here are some sessions I attended during previous SoCraTes events:

  • How to improve your Functional Programming with Functional Calisthenics
  • From zero to full Docker in 2 hours.
  • What is usable software design?
  • Refactoring legacy code workshop.
  • Practice TDD Katas in your favourite language.
  • What are the values behind Extreme Programming?
  • Agile estimating and planning workshop
  • Try out story mapping workshop.
  • Techniques for building living documentation.
  • Agile / Lean / Scrum / Kanban – what to choose?

See you there

I really hope to see lots of people there to learn and share, build new connections and have loads of fun. There is still room for some extra people, so what are you waiting for? Have I mentioned already that this is a full non profit event where you, as participant, only pay for the hotel and the food? How awesome can this get, only €300 for all of this? Don’t wait any longer and just get your ticket, you know you want to join us wink


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