There and Back Again

By Geoff St. Pierre
March 27, 2020

Blog Post - There and Back Again

Covid-19

In the wake of the covid-19 world pandemic the NERD Summit and MidCamp both decided to go virtual in 2020. This in turn led me to a heretofore inconceivable possibility; to attend BOTH NERD Summit and MidCamp!

Coffee

I started the day in Amherst, MA with some hallway coffee chat (virtually). In the chat we talked about our current projects and what we might be expecting/hoping for at NERDS. In the chat I met some new people one of whom mentioned that he was planning on bouncing back and forth between NERDS and MidCamp, and I thought that was brilliant! So, I did too.

Incident Management

The first session I attended was in the Windy City: The Agile team’s guide to harnessing change and responding to disruption presented by @meghandavis.

This was out of the box for me as I typically spend most of my time at technical presentations, but I've been opening my horizons to learn the business aspects of dev.

The presentation did not dissapoint. I learned how Meghan deals with disruptive incidents in a digital agency framework. It was great to hear the process and management wrapped around the incident. Here is the vid:

The big points for me were:

  • live stream your thoughts into an incident report
  • have a postmortem with all members of the incident team present
    • blameless focused on facts and future proofing processes
  • edit the doc into an internal company and client facing asset

Backstop JS

Back to Amherst, MA for BackstopJS: Avoid misery with Visual Regression Testing by Melissa Rossii (@mrossi113) & Chelsie Johnston (cj101). I was familiar with the idea of visual regression and BackstopJS, but have never tried it. This session was well presented, with concrete ideas about why and how to BackstopJS. vid:

Here is an example template repository to get you started:

Improvise Into the Unknown

Onto keynote at NERDS: Improvise Into the Unknown by @pamvictor. Pam is a great story teller and I was glad to recieve this message. She reminded me to breathe, take my time, and produce my best work. Enough of me blabbing about though here is the vid:

My main take aways:

  • fight the internal Khan
  • go slow
  • think/engineer
  • produce your best work

Accessibility Panel

Then I attended a panel talk: PANEL: Accessibility moderated by @stephencross and panelists @mikemiles86, @dbungard, and Abby Kingman.

This discussion was both informative and comforting. It made me feel like Tandem is on the right track with a11y, but there is more work to do! Video for posterity:

Main take aways:

  • lighthouse/pa11y are necessary but not sufficient
  • think about a11y from all aspects: design, UX, dev, and content

Conclusion

For me this was about not giving up in the face of covid-19, and stepping outside my comfort zone and learning some great things about business, tech, life, and a11y.


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