When I ask fellow developers what they think about empathy, the answer is often “not much”. However, I believe that the skill of empathy, being able to place yourself in another’s position, is crucial to designing, building and operating software at any scale. Join me for a whistle stop tour of the benefits of empathy, which I have learned from working on a wide variety of software projects over the previous ten years. I will share stories of success and failure, and suggest practical techniques that you can harness in order to help your team develop empathy.
When gathering requirements and performing business analysis, it is obvious that the ability to experience from within another user/customer/being's frame of reference is a valuable skill, but the same can be said when writing code. If we follow Martin Fowler’s train of thought where “any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand” we can see that empathy is at the heart of this skill. We could also argue that the rise of “DevOps” is simply both sides of the traditional divide trying to understand each other better. Developing the skill of empathy isn’t necessarily easy, but in this talk I will share my learnings, techniques and tricks for developing more effective software.
Daniel Bryant is a Principal Consultant at OpenCredo, and specialises in enabling agility within organisations. His current work includes introducing better requirement gathering and planning techniques, focusing on the relevance of architecture within agile development, and facilitating continuous integration/delivery. Daniel’s current technical expertise focuses on 'DevOps’ tooling, cloud platforms and microservice implementations. He is also a leader within the London Java Community (LJC), contributes to several open source projects, writes for well-known technical websites, and regularly presents at international conferences such as JavaOne, Devoxx and FOSDEM.