uWestFest Reviewed: An English Perspective

Growing up with Umbraco

There was a small delegation from the the UK at uWestFest 2016 including Pete from Offroadcode and our own Theo from GrowCreate. Both Pete and I were sunburnt within hours as the weather was glorious and the venue at the University wonderful.

the US is fast gaining on the UK as the most active Umbraco community in the world

As ever the event started with the Umbraco HQ keynote where we were updated on the stats for active Umbraco installs, and the US is fast gaining on the UK as the most active Umbraco community in the world. I am sure that the number of Gold Partners is going to dramatically increase in the US as the competition for the top tier Umbraco projects increases.

There have been 314,189 active installs (March 2016) up from 317,344 (November 2015), and although Niels says he would eventually like to move away from the idea of versions with

Umbraco as a Service (UaaS), v7.4 has had 15,642 installs in the US alone. This shows huge interest in Umbraco as an open source CMS and the feeling in the UK (Oxfordshire anyway!) is that Umbraco could be about to explode in the US!

Managing scope creep through better process

Heather Alvis had a great talk which was just my bag. It focused on process and how she managed scope creep through detailed requirements gathering for the Grid Editor. What I liked was that although at GrowCreate we have a discovery phase that captures technical specifications and style guides there is a huge argument for breaking down the design of reusable components (widgets) for the grid into defined tasks to mitigate scope creep. I liked it a lot and feel that a little extra time spent on requirements will make a huge difference to project delivery.

Diverse agencies help build better products

Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic at uWestFest. Erica Quessenberry from Skrift talked about building better products when there is diversity in the workplace. She also advocated that focusing on skills, eliminates distractions when hiring a candidate. Erica concluded that although most of us believe we are ethical and unbiased and we imagine we are good decision makers … we are not! Thank heavens Cecily Lalloo, our HR manager keeps in check, and enables us to make great hires from all around the globe.

Balance undefined

Bob Baty-Barr spoke about redefining balance in our lives and helping Umbracians navigate life challenges. I think the idea was that work, relationships and health are flexible and interact with one another. Kind of a push, pull, ying yanging that is forever changing! Rather than defining balance; 'balance undefined' feels more appropriate!

Let's get personal

uWestFest has been a adventure. Theo and I are really pleased we helped to sponsor the event and made the trip across the pond. Theo’s talk on Personalisation and Umbraco looks like it will be repeated at CodeGarden 2016 (€600 euros before March 31st) and we’ve also got to know San Diego a little. Thank you America.

Adam Weston

Adam Weston is the MD and Creative Director at GrowCreate, specialising in designing websites and applications using Umbraco the open-source CMS for .NET organisations. At GrowCreate he acts as client advocate and encourages his team to push Umbraco to its limits.

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