The programs in the Arch2Arch series feature panel discussions. The topics for the panel discussions are agreed on in advance, and the panelists for each discussion are selected on the basis of their expertise on the selected topic. But that’s really the extent of the preparation. I typically compose my questions for the panels only an hour or so before, sometimes soliciting questions from Twitter.
Panelists are advised not to do a lot of preparation for the podcasts, which some find a bit unnerving. But I tell them I want a conversation, not a presentation. I’ve been happy with the results, and based on the steady increase in the number of podcast downloads, so are the listeners. And so far, none of the panelists has expressed any regret in participating.
So I started thinking: If minimal preparation makes for an interesting program, what might happen if there was no preparation at all?
So I pitched an idea to the entire roster of the more than thirty previous Arch2Arch panelists. What would happen if we scheduled a discussion, and just let the conversation flow? No preparation at all, no assigned topics, just the kind of conversation that happens when a bunch of software architects get together to talk, just like a meet-up, but in a virtual, audio-only space.
I wanted to do this using a popular free VOIP service, rather than through the usual telephonic conference call, because the superior audio quality would make it much easier to follow the conversation and distinguish the different participants, particularly in a large group.
So a date was set, and at the appointed hour, four people showed up for our virtual meet-up, each of whom has participated in previous Arch2Arch programs:
This test-drive of the concept lasted nearly fan hour and covered a lot of territory. The latest Arch2Arch podcast is one slice of the conversation, a segment I kicked off by asking each of the participants to fill in the blank in the sentence, “Most conversations about enterprise architecture are too _____.”
As with any experiment, results can sometimes be spotty. The five of us involved hadn’t figured on some of the consequences of the VOIP service’s superior audio quality and failed to take measures to control background noise, sniffles, and other sounds that would go unnoticed on landline handsets and cellphones. That segment, despite my best efforts to clean it up, is unlistenable. But after the first few minutes we made the necessary adjustments, so the rest is broadcast -quality, which you’ll hear.
Stay tuned: RSS.