New York Mobile Forum (30 Nov 2014)

This the first ‘Mobile forum’ event I’ve seen in New york. Invite only and held at the facebook office at Astor place. The format was based around small groups brainstorming and open discussion; then group facilitators would present key points to all attendees. I made a lot of notes, but chose the top 5 take aways I had.

You should be using Slack

for internal communications I heard Slack recommended throughout discussion. Especially its search functions. I actually haven’t had the chance to use it, but am now very keen.

Train web developers into native.

Mobile teams need more developers than the market can handle, and web is becoming a secondary platform to native. Etsy spoke about having dedicated roles for training into the native space. Identify developers who are keen to make the transition and give them full support.

Build a testing culture, but tread lightly

The tools are still in infacy to support native TDD. Culture spawned from the web world (where testing is simpler) have transitoned and can adversely impact delivery if taken at full speed.

Modularize with respect to overheads

Modular code is a given, but splitting your app into libraries takes an extra level of foresight. The tools are not great, and you will incur overhead costs, but some time in the future you will need to draw a line in the sand and split your architecture out.

force yourself to have 1-on-1’s

Giving and receiving feedback is not natural, but without it teams and the individuals within cannot grow. The 1-on-1 gives a unique opportunity to get a certain level of honesty and feelings out in the open. Especially important in remote teams, but I would reccommend regular 1-on-1’s in all dev teams.

The format

Really liked the peer-to-peer discussions. I was seeing conversations about exact problems I’d faced and insights into others unique solutions. I’d like to see some more controversial, ‘out of the box’ topics next time. And maybe splitting platform specific discussions to their respective audience (I was not too interested in Android JVM issues presentation).