It is not the GOTO talk on “Embedded Systems – Embodied Agents, Robot Programming in Java for the LEGO NXT Mindstorms” or the LEGO Lab, University of Aarhus class that’s important. Neither is the GOTO talk “What is Value” important in it self – the key lesson is in what you learn and bring home.
The students in the LEGO lab (at my alma mater 🙂 will try out the LEGO Mindstorms NXT series to learn about robots. First the industrial ones, that have a deterministic program, secondly about self-controlling agents. Compare it to the difference between an industrial robot in and assembly line – and a toy seal for psychological care treatments for trauma patients: One is sequenced and in a known environment , and the other reactive and don’t know the environment in advance. Reminds me of routinized and bespoke activities, Testing AND Checking, left and right side of the brain. Computer Science students in this course struggle to control the robot environment, but quickly learn that the real world is not ideal. They have to test and experiment, calibrate and think outside the LEGO box.
Similarly JEZ HUMBLE, talked about “What is value?“. A huge whiteboard of prioritized and estimated SCRUM tasks is not customer value in itself – it’s a tool to discuss the value for the client/Product Owner/Sponser/ the-guy-paying-for-it. Awesome is value. To get awesome – set a business model hypothesis and test it. Make the smallest viable product (When “minimal viable product” doesn’t work, the story of apple). But remember they are people too – even oracles can be wrong, and set up a measurement that will be counterproductive. Management only focus on “cost” because it’s easier to measure – test the business idea and what you care about: delivering valuable software solutions.
It’s not the talk, it’s the learning.
It’s not the CS class, it’s the experience.
It’s not the test, it’s the idea.
See also: Testers are developers too – and the other way around, dealing with uncertainty
[Disclaimer: I had press access to GOTO-Arhus2012 on behalf on GOTOCON]