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Track: Softskills: Essential Skills for Developers

Location: St James, 4th flr.

Day of week: Tuesday

We all want to be more effective - as individuals and as teams. Improving a technical skill such as learning a new programming technique or language can help, but those gains pale in comparison to the gains made when teams work more effectively together. Or even when an individual learns a more fundamental skill such as problem solving. What many might label "soft skills." Ironically, these so called "soft skills" are often the hardest to master. In this track, we'll introduce attendees to these set of skills that help lead individuals and teams to greatness.

Track Host: Phil Haack

Director of Client Apps @GitHub and shipped ASP.NET MVC/NuGet
Phil Haack (yes, it's pronounced "hack") works at GitHub as the Director of Client Apps - a group that consists of the Desktop, Atom, Electron, and Editor Tools teams. Prior to GitHub, he was a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft responsible for shipping ASP.NET MVC and NuGet. These projects were released under open source licenses and helped served as examples to other teams for how to ship open source software. He regularly writes for his blog and tweets random observations on Twitter as @haacked. He also speaks at conferences here and there, and has quit writing technical books forever several times now.

Trackhost Interview

  • What types of projects and questions are you focused on?
  • What skills and practices lead to the most effective teams and individuals. I read a great quote on Twitter. Eventually, every API is deprecated, but humans are not. So let’s focus on the human element of software and learn how we can improve all aspects of building software, teams, and companies.

  • Who is your target persona?
  • Anyone who thinks of herself or himself as a technical leader, whether they’re a manager, an architect, a senior developer, or just interested in making their teams better.

  • What are you goals for the track?
  • To provide really great food for thought and information on how to improve ourselves, our teams, and our industry in concrete ways.

  • What do you want someone to leave from your track with?
  • At least one concrete idea on a way to significantly improve how they work or how their team works. Ideally, more than one. Also, people should walk away with inspiration and knowledge of where to go to follow-up and dig deeper on these ideas. They should have the seed for some great discussions at work. A lot of this knowledge is out there, but due to institutional inertia, a lot of companies neglect the huge benefits they could reap by implementing many of these practices. I hope someone walks away from this track and helps their company realize these benefits and in doing so perhaps inspire others to do the same in order to keep up.


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