A few of us journeyed down to London a couple of weeks ago to attend the White October event, The Lead Developer Conference. It was a jam-packed day, with talks about how to be more productive, introverts and their behaviour, and interview tips.

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We were greeted with coffee, cake, and name badges (and of course a bag of free goodies) and at 9 am sharp the conference began.  Meri Williams, the event organiser, welcomed everyone and kindly reminded us all about the code of conduct.

First up, Camille Fournier explained that it's good to learn new skills, but to make sure they’re the ones you want to learn and that sharing knowledge can be scary, but also beneficial, so do it as much as possible. Camille also explained that bringing problems to the table is not good enough, you need to own them, and present solutions. Camille demonstrated that you can’t clone yourself, but you can improve yourself. One way to do this is to gather feedback, including qualitative feedback. This may be difficult at first, but you will reap the rewards.

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Later on in the day, after a delicious lunch and some mingling with other attendees, we heard from Sam Barnes – 'People are weird, I’m weird’. Sam took us through life as an introvert and the common misconceptions. He explained that leading a team takes more than knowing about latest tech and trends. It’s about knowing how to manage people and understanding that blanket rules don't work.

I enjoyed all the talks at the Lead Dev conf, but these two stood out the most for me.  The day confirmed a lot of what we’re already doing as a company. Other talks included Patrik Kua’s advice on holding regular retrospectives, interview tips from Cate Huston, and Trisha Gee’s talk on staying ahead of the curve, including hack days.

The Lead Dev conf was a great opportunity to see technical and leadership talks blended. This is something I would recommend for other technical leads.  

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