From the Developer’s Desk: All Things Open 2023 Conference Recap

From the Developer’s Desk: All Things Open 2023 Conference Recap

“Networking is simply investing in your community. It’s the genuine act of showing up”

All Things Open 2023 Promotional Image


After a year of remote work, the prospect of attending an in-person Computer Science event in late 2023 was nothing short of exhilarating. Making connections in Computer Science post-college can be challenging, and this conference offered the ideal environment for networking and forming lasting relationships. I couldn’t have been happier with the people I had the pleasure of meeting.


From the All Things Open website, the event can be summarized as “A Technology Conference focusing on the tools, processes, and people making open source possible.” That goal was definitely met — I mean — look at this Program Guide for Day 2 of the conference.

There were dedicated tracks for Software, DevOps, Security, Network, Linux, Cloud, and Database Engineers — just to name a few. So sit down, take a sip of coffee and lets summarize some of my favorite talks of the day:

How to Estimate Your Stories — Sr. Agile Scrum Master @ Discover

As I advance in my career I find that it has become increasingly important to be able to identify ‘How long should this task take?’ When it comes to delivering software to customers, there are deadlines and accurately estimating the time to completion is key — this was my first talk attended!

  • Estimate stories relatively based on ‘technical difficulty’ not based on ‘how long you think this will take’. This is called Relative Estimation

  • Agile teams should come together to point a story, someone’s ‘5’ might be someone's ‘2’. Having a Diverse skill set amongst team members can be huge for this.

  • Find a reference point. ‘What does 1 story point mean?’ How does the team collectively define ‘1’? Build your estimations around that.

  • Commit to Outcome! To help your product owners and upper leadership with metrics, only give User Stories points! Bugs do not ‘add value’ to the overall product, therefore should we point them? If scrum teams opt-in to only pointing Stories, this will allow leadership teams to see at a high level how fast the product is maturing vs how much time is spent putting out fires.

  • Never ‘re-point’ a story mid-sprint, Sprint retrospect should be a place where people call out their incorrect estimations… for better or worse!

Day Three Keynote Speech

  • Failure is not always a mistake, it might be the best choice under the circumstances

  • Surveyed developers reported +55% in quickness and +75% Usefulness rating using GitHub-Copilot as of Summer 2023

  • Spend 15 minutes a week reflecting on your career and what you want out of it.

  • Networking is simply investing in your community. It’s the genuine act of showing up. That’s all.

How to Make Your Software Terrible to Package — Dev @ Amazon

  • Protip, first name your project before starting (and maybe check for trademarks)!

  • Warning: Try to never hardcode compiler flags — make your compile flags easy to modify. This will help developers on other systems build your solution.

  • Dependency Bundling: Ask yourself how much you really need a dependency before committing to it!

  • Version your Github Projects. This will let consumers easily know which ‘commits’ are official builds.

  • Don’t make square wheels, if a Open Source Solution already exists with the project you have in mind — fork from it and enhance it instead of building your own solution from scratch

Ensure API Security with Contract Testing — Architect @ Postman

  • Build your APIs to the OpenAPI standard, this will allow applications like Postman to automatically test and ensure your api works before hosted in production.

  • Shift Left with your strategies of security as much as possible. When Designing an API that will retain or consume data — think of the following concepts.

Project Sputnik — Developer Lead @ Dell

This talk was about what it takes to lead an internal project at a company.

  • Put together a team of respectable peers to work part-time with you on the vision and project.

  • “You’re good enough” — You’ll never know it all, and that’s okay. We’re software engineers. It’s our job to solve puzzles on the fly.

  • It helps tremendously to have someone in leadership believe in your abilities to deliver or at least understand the importance of your project. (It might not have a ROI for a substantial time).

  • A Great Idea without execution is nothing (Walk the Talk).

  • Empower your team to feel passionate about your project idea. (Invest in swag, have a catchy name or motto)!


This of course was a brief summary of my favorite talks and insights talked about at All Things Open 2023. There were many technical talks on JavaScript and Security Engineering — but I’ll save those for individual breakdowns.

It’s easy to blog about the takeaways of the talks given, but probably the most valuable part of attending this event was simply the socializing aspect. When you have 4,000+ developers in the same location for 72 hours, there are many conversations to be had. Be weird, say some hot takes, or just mention your technical stack that you primarily work with — and bOoOm — you’ll be wrapped into a conversation for the next 30 minutes and come out with a new friend.

All Things Open 2023 Logo.

If you’re a part of the tech community in the Southeast USA, mark your calendars for October 27–29 2024 for next year’s All Things Open event!

Shoot me a DM on Twitter if you’re in the North Carolina area or hoping to learn more about All Things Open: