EntreFEST

Community involvement has always been important to us. We embrace as many chances to share our experience as we can. One of these chances came in the form of a great local event that has been a huge catalyst for action in the Eastern Iowa community of entrepreneurs: EntreFEST 2019. As soon as we heard there was a new technology track added to the 2019 event, Mike Smith and I applied to be speakers.

EntreFEST is a chance for professionals to share ideas and innovation concerning entrepreneurship. This year's event included keynote speaker Jerry Greenfield from Ben & Jerry's, and featured speakers Melissa Perri from Produx Labs and April Dunford from Ambient Strategy. In addition to those 3 talks, there were multiple breakout sessions that followed either the developer, innovator, or entrepreneur track. There were also amazing networking opportunities throughout this event. If you have never gone, I'd highly suggest you consider giving it some support next year.

The event also connected to other local communities, like the University of Iowa. The Venture School Launch Day was incorporated into the event. For this day, I was a judge and had an excellent opportunity to watch pitches from the finalists and pass along some advise to these ambitious entrepreneurs. I have a feeling we will get to hear more successes from these groups in the future!

The session that Mike and I presented was titled: Software Development Best Practices. We broke it down into two sections; best practices at Bio::Neos and a group discussion. After being in business for 15 years we are certain of one thing: a set of best practices will make life easier when it comes to software development, but what constitutes a best practice will vary from group to group.

Because of the highly specific nature for these types of suggestions, we had to try to separate style from practice. We chose to focus on design and management so that the project keeps moving. For example, we highly recommending having a Version Control Policy in place so conflicts are minimized and you can keep your repositories organized and minimize the need for full team conflict resolution meetings. Mike had an excellent presentation on the difference between Clarity and Cleverness. It was really well done and informative, especially since it's a really difficult best practice to measure. We also talked about one of our newest best practices, using a Design Guide. We are still figuring the one out, but we are already looking forward to the discussions that it will spark within our team.

After we covered the best practices we held an open discussion with the attendees of our talk to ensure that some of the differences between our group and other types of groups were highlighted and thought through. The discussion was engaging and informative, and I wish we had had even more time to continue to talk with the group. Overall, I think the session went superbly, and I hope we get to do it again in the future. If you want to hear more details about our talk, or see our slides, just contact us!

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