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We love teaching others about software remodeling.

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Have a group that's interested in remodeling legacy code, recruiting menders, or introducing more empathy into your organization? We've got some talks that would likely make a great addition to your speaker lineup. Take a peek at the different topics that we've put together and get in touch to tell us about your group.

Andrea Goulet, Co-Founder & CEO

Andrea Goulet is the CEO of Corgibytes, a software-development shop dedicated to maintaining and modernizing software applications, and has been named by LinkedIn as one of the top 10 professionals in software under 35. She’s the founder of LegacyCode.Rocks and hosts a podcast dedicated to changing the way we think about legacy code. You may recognize her from prominent industry publications such as the First Round Review, Hanselminutes, and Developer Tea. Andrea is a sought-after keynote speaker and presents regularly on topics that help business and technical teams collaborate better. Her two most popular talks are “Communication Is Just As Important As Code” and “Empathy Is A Technical Skill.”

In her spare time, Andrea enjoys blogging about the intersection of social science and software. She loves watching her kids explore the world and is a sucker for a good physics documentary. You can recognize her by the JavaScript tattoo on her wrist.

M. Scott Ford, Co-Founder & Chief Code Whisperer

M. Scott Ford is the Co-Founder and Chief Code Whisperer at Corgibytes, a software consultancy dedicated to modernizing existing codebases. Scott, who has been called the “Bob Vila of the internet”, is a polyglot developer who, at last count, is fluent in over twenty programming languages. Scott’s love of software restoration and remodeling began in college where he and his team were responsible for retrofiting the testing tools for the X-31 jet fighter. Since then, Scott has maintained a test-focused approach to his work and found the most joy in projects where an existing codebase needed to be improved. Scott is also a guest lecturer on Continuous Delivery practices at Harvard University.

In addition to fixing old code, Scott enjoys anime, reading sci-fi fiction and comic books, contributing to open source projects, and spending time with his kids.

Becoming Technical: Overcoming the Doubt, Intimidation, and Fear of Learning to Code

PRESENTED BY:
Andrea Goulet

TOPICS:
  • Communication
  • Confidence Gap
  • Culture
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Students
  • Team Dynamics
  • Training
  • Women in Computing
  • Women in Technology

There’s a technical/non-technical divide that has separated the corporate world for too long. “Technical” folks are expected to stay heads down in the code while the “non-technical” people do the “soft stuff”: sales, marketing, communications, and strategy. But as cross-functional teams are becoming the norm and non-traditional training resources become accessible, the line between the two is starting to blur. For those of us who come from a non-technical background, it can be intimidating to stand up and claim a technical title. This presentation reviews three pieces of research that Andrea Goulet, the CEO of Corgibytes, a software development firm dedicated to modernizing codebases, found invaluable in her journey across the technical chasm.

This talk is particularly good for students and job switchers.

Communication Is Just as Important as Code

PRESENTED BY:
Andrea Goulet

TOPICS:
  • Communication Artifacts
  • Company Culture
  • Developer Engagement
  • Empathy
  • Legacy Code
  • Natural Language
  • Software Development
  • Team Collaboration
  • Women in Technology

The idea of a lone developer coding in their basement without social interaction is a thing of the past. These days, technical solutions are often developed by cross-functional teams whose participants have a range of technical experience. Now, more than ever, good communication skills are an essential part of being a software developer.

In this talk, Andrea will share immediately actionable communication principles that will help you get buy-in for your ideas, reduce conflict and tension, increase productivity, be liked and respected.

Andrea has taught communication skills to thousands of people in world-class brands across the globe, including The Smithsonian, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Verizon, and more. If you’re looking to take your career to the next level, this is one talk you won’t want to miss.

Should I Estimate That?: Complicated vs Complex Projects

PRESENTED BY:
Andrea Goulet

TOPICS:
  • Customer Service
  • Estimating
  • No Estimates
  • Operations
  • Project Management
  • Software Development

Legacy code is notoriously difficult to produce an accurate estimate. Why is that? In this talk, we’ll explore the difference between complicated projects, which are easy to replicate and estimate, and complex projects, which are near impossible to predict due to the number of interdependencies in the system. You’ll walk away understanding when to reach for a tightly-scoped fixed-price proposal and when an exploratory time and materials approach is more appropriate.

You’ll walk away understanding not if you should estimate a project, but rather when and how.

Empathy Is a Technical Skill

PRESENTED BY:
Andrea Goulet

TOPICS:
  • Business
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Culture
  • Empathy
  • Empowerment
  • Project Management
  • Teamwork
  • Women in Technology

Empathy is a technical skill. Don’t worry. You read that correctly. While empathy is often cited as a critical “soft skill,” it doesn’t stop there. Empathy is also an incredibly technical topic that is more accessible to analytical engineers and more vital to building software than you might think.

In this engaging keynote, Andrea Goulet, a noted expert on communication in the software industry, will debunk several myths around empathy. Empathy is a feeling? Nope. Technicians can’t access empathy? Nope. Empathy is just a high-level, touchy-feely fad? Nope. Andrea will demonstrate how empathy is a crucial skill for developing software and will focus on giving you practical and immediately actionable advice for making empathy a central focus of your daily development practice. You’ll walk away with a solid understanding of what empathy is, what it isn’t, how you can build your empathy skills, and a framework for using empathy while coding. If you’ve ever thought that you’re “good with machines” but have struggled to understand people, this is a talk you won’t want to miss. 

Makers and Menders: Putting the Right Developers on the Right Projects

PRESENTED BY:
M. Scott Ford or Andrea Goulet

TOPICS:
  • Communication
  • Company Culture
  • Legacy Code
  • Makers vs. Menders
  • Project Management
  • Refactoring
  • Software Development
  • Staff Engagement
  • Team Collaboration

When you think of a developer what comes to mind? A brogrammer living in San Francisco working 23 hours a day on the next Facebook? If so, you wouldn’t be alone. Like so many industries, software development is rife with stereotypes. And one that is particularly pervasive is the idea that all developers, if given the chance, would opt for a complete rewrite of an application.

While it’s true that there are many software developers who do enjoy starting with a clean slate, there is also a group who loves working on making existing applications better. Rather than starting from scratch and building an 80% solution, these developers are ideal for taking over a project once it’s become stable, and nurturing it for a long time. Neither developer is better. Both are needed in the software world. In this talk, you’ll learn what motivates the small but passionate group of “menders” — people who love taking an existing project and making it better over time.

The Marriage of Communication and Code: How Strategists and Technicians Can Effectively Work Together

PRESENTED BY:
Andrea Goulet or M. Scott Ford

TOPICS:
  • Communication
  • Communication Artifacts
  • Conway's Law
  • Growth Mindset
  • Legacy Code
  • Software Archaeology
  • Team Dynamics

Communication and Code are more inextricably linked than you would ever imagine — at least that’s what Corgibytes founders Scott Ford and Andrea Goulet discovered. After running their software consultancy for two years together, they decided to tie the knot and get married. Little did they know that couples counseling would be a catalyst for supercharging their ability to navigate difficult conversations with clients, collaborate better with their team, and expand their own skill sets. Now, they’ll share their top five tips with you so you can immediately improve your communication and accelerate your career.

Software Remodeling: Resisting the Rewrite Temptation

PRESENTED BY:
M. Scott Ford or Andrea Goulet

TOPICS:
  • Communication
  • Company Culture
  • Legacy Code
  • Makers vs. Menders
  • Project Management
  • Refactoring
  • Software Development
  • Staff Engagement
  • Team Collaboration

What is legacy code? Most developers have some choice words to describe it: dirt field, rescue projects, and spaghetti code, just to name a few. But the truth is, whether we like it or not, most of us spend more time modifying existing codebases than we do starting a project from scratch. It’s time to reframe how we approach our work and learn to love legacy code.

In this talk, M. Scott Ford, Co-Founder and Chief Code Whisperer at Corgibytes, a firm dedicated to modernizing existing codebases, will share ways that developers can learn to appreciate modifying a codebase they didn’t write. We’ll talk about the Maker/Mender divide, discuss differences between new construction and software remodeling, provide insights into tool, language, and process choices, and more. This talk can be modified to be more technical or less technical, depending on your needs.

The Pyramid of Tests

PRESENTED BY:
M. Scott Ford

TOPICS:
  • Automated Testing
  • Behavior-Driven Development (BDD)
  • Behavioral Tests
  • Continuous Deployment
  • Continuous Integration
  • Integration Tests
  • Test-Driven Development (TDD)
  • Testing
  • Unit Tests

Automated Testing has quickly become a must-have methodology for teams who are scaling quickly and want to reduce errors in their production code. But look around, and current training materials tend to describe an idyllic paradise that just doesn’t seem achievable for your application. In this talk, M. Scott Ford, Founder and Chief Code Whisperer of Corgibytes, a software development shop that focuses exclusively on modernizing codebases, will walk you through his process of introducing automated testing into an app where coverage needs to improve. You’ll learn an integrated framework for understanding how a variety of different testing strategies can work together in a larger system and how to identify where to focus your development efforts.

Embracing the Red Bar: A Technique for Safely Refactoring Your Test Code

PRESENTED BY:
M. Scott Ford

TOPICS:
  • Automated Testing
  • Behavior-Driven Development (BDD)
  • Behavioral Tests
  • Continuous Deployment
  • Continuous Integration
  • Integration Tests
  • Test-Driven Development (TDD)
  • Testing
  • Unit Tests
REFERENCES:

Does your team treat test code differently than production code? Do you let your test code accumulate duplication and complexity that you’d normally attempt to squash in your production code? Have your tests become brittle? Are you worried that they aren’t providing you the same value they used to? Have you strongly considered dumping your test suite and starting over? Are you afraid that if you refactor your test code, you’ll introduce false positives?

If you said yes to any of those questions, then this talk is for you.

We’ll explore the technique of “refactoring against the red bar”, and how you can employ this technique to confidently refactor your test code. No longer do you need to let your test code have a lower standard of quality than your production code.