Highly-technical Management of Software Development

Alex Martelli, Uber Technical Lead, Google, Inc.

Track: Programming
Date: Friday, July 28
Time: 11:35am - 12:20pm
Location: D137-138

Many software projects struggle with management issues, particularly because traditional management techniques are quite badly tuned for the very peculiar mindset and social skills of brilliant software development professionals. One solution is to have, as the manager, a developer who is at least as good as any of the managees, and also experienced, enthusiastic, and flexible enough to "use himself as an available technical resource" to fill in the gaps that always appear in the inevitable emergencies.

Even when all the ingredients are in place, there are still abundant traps and pitfalls to avoid. This talk touches on such issues, focusing on planning and scheduling, time management, what software development methodologies and tools work well or badly in such an environment, building mutual trust, and learning to delegate and when to back off. The talk is based both on the speaker's own experience, and his observation of others; the talk is rather short on abstract theories, favoring instead a practical slant.

The talk is oriented to an audience of senior developers and managers with a highly technical background. It will provide the audience with immediately applicable tips and ideas (mostly for their NEXT project, since changing horses in midstream in a project which happens to be badly founded is a much harder problem than doing things right from the start -- dealing with the thornier issue would take "at least" fortySIX minutes!).