For those of you who know him, in the world of ColdFusion, Kev McCabe is a voice to be heard and respected. He’s an Adobe ColdFusion Professional and also works as a freelance ColdFusion consultant. He’s a sought-after presenter and is regularly to be found speaking around the world at various digital conferences.
We invited him in (Thursday 18 September 2014) to talk to us about Software Craftsmanship with the focus on Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) and Test Driven Development (TDD). His presentations have certainly fuelled debate and discussions here and his practical sessions have been insightful. What most impressed us was that one of the sessions involved both project managers, account managers as well as developers. Refreshing for the disciplines to have some time out together whilst at the same time learn something new.
Without giving the game away, Kev put us in teams of 3 (the three amigos as he termed it) and gave us exercises to perform with a cognitive scientific tool more affectionately known as ...LEGO! As you can imagine, our inner child was reawakened after lying dormant for years (or minutes for some of us) but there was a serious motive behind it: could we build from a set number of pieces, a scenario and write a series of tests to prove we had achieved the task set? Was it possible to demonstrate a family, house, vehicle, tree and animal with the correct testing procedure?
The results were fascinating - here’s a selection of comments from the guys that were involved:
“Kev’s utter passion for the topic, great presenting style and the interactivity of the sessions made the day very useful for the whole development team as well as giving the project and account managers an insight into the development process.” - Andrew
“I found the session very interesting and thought that what Kev was saying made a lot of sense. Over the next few weeks we are going to be looking at some of Kev’s suggestions in more detail and to see how we test these for ourselves. It’s helped by the fact that Kev is a really nice guy and presents his ideas with a passion, he certainly knows what he’s talking about.” - Adrian
“The keyword was ‘communication’, which is always good to reiterate. I also liked the idea of pair-programming when sharing knowledge is more important and efficient for the business as well as the people. It reminds me of practical computing sessions at uni, but more structured!” - Maryse
“Getting project managers involved with the principles of TDD was great and the insights into improving communication and closing the gap between the client’s expectations and the developers’ visibility of them could prove very useful.“ - David J
“Big Mad Kev was an articulate and passionate speaker who managed to convey his subject matter with humour and engage the interest of a wide selection of technical and non-technical staff. The one word that was heard spoken most often after his talk was "communication" and I've no doubt that the few hours he spent here will make an impact on our working practices for years to come.” - David W
“As a non-developer, this was a highly interesting insight into TDD, which was an entirely new principle to me. It also demonstrated how differently the project managers and developers think. I particularly enjoyed the part where I could demonstrate my skills with the ‘cognitive scientific tool” - Carly (‘I love LEGO’) J
“I found the whole event insightful and inspiring - I am already looking forward to implementing BDD and TDD into my working practices, although being a little bit of a control freak I am feeling a little apprehensive about relinquishing control of MY keyboard for the pair-coding sessions!” - Chris W (we can sort out your keyboard issues Chris!)
“Although I’ve looked into TDD I had never considered BDD and love it or hate it, it’s likely to play a large role in future software development. Software development approaches are changing fast and talks like this help you keep up to date and stay open minded.” - Chris V
“Kev delivered a really useful presentation that gave me a good understanding of both BDD and TDD. Kev’s enthusiasm for software craftsmanship is second to none which made the whole presentation that much more interesting. I’ve also gained some very good insights into how different technology companies operate and the methods and ideas that they adopt to try and increase the quality of what they deliver.” - George
“Big Mad Kev showed us all how important communication is between developers, project managers and clients from the very start of a project. His passion was very infectious and as a developer it definitely makes me want to work harder and better myself that bit more. The lego was cool too!!” - Mark
“Kev's outstanding enthusiasm is contagious and encourages us all to be better developers. Not only that, he explains potentially tricky concepts to all roles within the business in a way that everyone can understand and appreciate. The impact that just one day of presentations has made is invaluable.” - Greg