software developers

Power, dissent, and bullying in software developer communities

When developers marginalize women and minorities, we conspire to isolate ourselves from the larger society. We defeat our own attempts to change the power structures around us and improve our lot and our output.

Agile 2008


Steven Doc List and I held a 20 minute presentation and 60 minute open space on software ethics. I think the format works. Software ethics is not rules or reason, it is navigating essential complexity in building software and in moral choice. Descriptions that “abstract away its complexity often abstract away its essence” (Fred Brooks) We embrace essential complexity using the values and practices of agile software development. We can become better software developers using the same tools we use … Read More

Collaboration and Product Ownership

I’m presenting a paper, Great Scrums Need Great Product Owners, at the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. The presentation is part of the Agile mini-track co-chaired by Jeff Sutherland and Hubert Smits. I co-authored the paper with the senior member of my product team, Ilio Krumins-Beens. We survey literature to describe pragmatic and collegial relationships which satisfy the definition of collaboration and honor roles while barely tapping or actually working against the potential of a project and its participants. … Read More

Scrum Gathering – Agile and Ethics

I’ll be presenting two talks at the November Scrum Gathering. One of them is dear to my heart. I’ll be using this blog over the next few months to work up my ideas and document conversations I have around this topic. The Ethics of Scrum and Agile Software Development. Here’s what I proposed: Presentation Description Are Scrum and XP inherently ethical? In the face of contradictory beliefs over what we do and how we do it, we software developers, agile … Read More

The Beauty of Team

The team Ript page

Our team just beta-released our first consumer product. Along the way, they accomplished something of more strategic value. They matured into a performing, self-directed team. A decent manager encourages software developers to do their best work while allowing them full personal lives. The heart of this effort is fostering strong teams. Individuals have bad days, make mistakes, lose momentum. A team watches each other’s backs, challenges each other, teaches each other. They build upon each other’s creativity. The beauty part … Read More