Presentation: A Crystal Ball To Prioritize Technical Debt



4:10pm - 5:00pm

Day of week:




The technical debt metaphor has taken the software world with storm. No wonder, since software projects have their fair share of challenges. Most organizations find it hard to prioritize and repay their technical debt. The main reason is the scale of modern systems with million lines of code and multiple development teams; no one has a holistic overview. So what if we could mine the collective intelligence of all contributing programmers and start to make decisions based on data from how the organization actually works with the code?

Adam Tornhill introduces one such approach with the potential to change how we view software systems, offering an overview of techniques, based on software evolution and findings from various fields within psychology, that help uncover both problematic code and the social dimension of the teams that build your software. This combination lets you prioritize the parts of your system that benefit the most from improvements, detect organizational issues, and make practical decisions guided by data. Adam illustrates each point with a case study from a real-world codebase.

This new perspective on software development will change how you work with legacy systems.

Speaker: Adam Tornhill

Founder and CTO of Empear

Adam Tornhill is a programmer who combines degrees in engineering and psychology. He’s the founder and CTO of Empear, where he designs tools for software analysis. He’s also the author of Your Code as a Crime Scene, has written the popular Lisp for the Web tutorial, and self-published a book on patterns in C. Adam’s other interests include modern history, music, and martial arts.

Find Adam Tornhill at


Conference for Professional Software Developers