I am fortunate enough to work for a company who is prepared to fly its staff across the Atlantic to attend a conference – which means I’m at one of the biggest (maybe the biggest) IT conference in the world – Oracle Open World.

Day 1 is a bit of a precursor with all the sessions being driven by various user groups. With about 30 sessions running at anyone time today it’s a job just to work out which sessions to attend.

This gives me my 1st observation of the day – if session is a panel based then say in the title. I attended one session that was meant to cover the development ecosystem, with the expectation of either getting a better handle on tooling around development of things like PL/SQL or perhaps the adoption of more contemporary tooling such as Maven or Git. What happened we heard was a conversation between a couple of panelists which really left me thinking that a lot of Oracle development is still in the dark ages technically, didn’t really appreciate what Agile says about documentation and the world was either agile or waterfall – the fact that Oracle Unified Methodology (OUM) is a derivative of the iterative RUP model.

The second observation is, tell me something don’t just throw facts at me with just slides full of bullets, you won’t hold people’s attention. In fact one session resulted in people walking out in droves.

That said, we also saw some very good presentations, and in fact these tended to keep amount amount of slide content down, but there is a narrative, building and emphasising key points. The presenter spoke with an intonation that showed that they where presenting because it was a subject they cared about and wanted to share their understanding, not because they want kudos for appearing.

The last lesson, is declare whether slides etc will be made available, so you have people’s full attention, rather than them bashing at their mobile devices making unnecessary notes. Although this sounds counter intuitive to the previous point you can enrich the slides with notes, to support later slide review.