That Conference 2015 Recap

I had the honor of being selected to speak at That Conference 2015 – yes, the conference is really named “That Conference”.  The conference was August 10-12, with some pre-conference activities over the weekend.  It’s the only IT conference that I know of that has tracks for both adults and kids.  My session was about tools to teach Kids to Code, which I presented that Monday.

I’ve put my slides from the session up on SlideShare and embedded them here.

My list on the topic can be found at

In addition to the planned sessions, the conference also ran an Open Spaces area, where people could volunteer to convene discussion circles on whatever they were interested in.

That Conference 2015 Open Spaces Schedule

I convened one on PowerShell and one on Business Productivity with SharePoint.  One interesting question that came out of the PowerShell discussion was “What unit testing frameworks are available for PowerShell?”. One memorable answer was – and this demonstrates the importance of picking a memorable name for your product – Pester.  Here’s an article from PowerShell Magazine on the topic.

For each Open Space circle, a big notepad was available for notes. Here’s the notes I took for my Business Productivity with SharePoint open space:


User Voice is a group of websites for providing product feedback. See my other article for a list of all the Microsoft User Voice forums that I am aware of.

The two Yammer networks that every SharePoint professional should be aware of are:


The other community site that I’d recommend is For a larger list of community resources, see my slide deck from the presentation I gave at Microsoft Ignite 2015 –

Note that the content that was formerly at has been migrated to

Someone in the group recommended Trello for project management.  It appears to be a much less formal approach than creating a work breakdown structure with effort estimates and task dependencies, for example. I find it interesting that the concept of boards that you see in Trello is basically the same UI metaphor that you see in Delve.

Thinking back on the conference overall, it felt really different than other IT conferences that I’d been to this year.  Microsoft Ignite is the place to go to hear about what’s the latest in Microsoft technology.  Chicago Code Camp and Chicago Coder Conference are places to go to learn new skills.  But That Conference is where you go to not only learn new skills, but also expose you family to the art, science, and profession that is computer programming.  It’s also where in the Midwest that you go to discuss with your peers computer programming as a profession.  This tone was set by the Monday and Tuesday keynotes.  The Monday keynote was given by “Uncle” Bob Martin, who gave us an overview of the last 40 years of the profession, explained why waterfall project management had become necessary but later fell out of favor, encouraged us to bring together the business methodology of Agile with the discipline of software craftsmanship, and encouraged us to self-regulate with professional licensing lest the government impose the same.  On Tuesday, an FBI agent spoke and reminded us that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility, and the threats are real and dramatic.  As a result of hearing his presentation, I’ve started using multifactor authentication with more of my accounts.  I also looked at the login logs for my WordPress blog (this site) and realized that there have been over 2000 unauthorized login attempts from around the world.  As a result, I turned on SSL for this site.

My understanding is that MSDN Channel 9 recorded the keynotes, and they should be available on demand at some point.

What more can I say? Don’t miss That Conference 2016.