Contributing Culture

We all work on teams. We all contribute to projects. This talk looks at practices and tools to make that better for developers and for people who work with developers. It will be technical, because practices transform the culture. And it will be meaningful, because empathy, trust, creativity, and collaboration build connection.

The most inspiring, creative, and productive experiences I've had at work have been directly tied to the connection within the team I was on. In these jobs a sense of belonging was encouraged through technical and team practices that built trust and openness. The particular methods have varied, but they are all fundamentally rooted in learning and growing. I will share approaches that have had the most impact across multiple teams in a variety of workplaces. I will include resources for digging deeper into any of these topics which could all have their own talk.

Team activities:
- Regularly scheduled retrospectives with action outcomes (sticky improvements)
- Shared planning (level of effort, priorities, availability, visibility of progress)
- Shared ownership of code with transparency and review (version control with pull requests)
- Standards for code and conduct (spaces not tabs, everyone is doing the best they can)

Personal activities:
- Responsiveness to team members (availability, positive critiques, mentoring / collaborating)
- Empathy, inclusion, and vulnerability (be courageous, be open)
- Code as communication (with other developers, with your future self)
- Use common tools (shared configurations, shared knowledge)

I have worked as a web developer for 25 years, sometimes doing the implementation, sometimes doing the management, always interested in working with people in ways that brings quality to my life. I have grown a lot through learning about agile planning and development practices. I have been surprised at how much the concepts of lean management and continuous improvement have shaped how I think. And nothing has given me as much feedback on my own areas for improvement as raising two kids.