Evelyn Van Kelle

Evelyn Van Kelle

Trying to make sense of the socio-technical mashup that is called software development
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· The world needs socio-technical developers (and a shared sense of reality)


Evelyn van Kelle focuses on the interplay between technical issues and social factors. During her MSc study at Tilburg University, Evelyn was delighted to discover that the world of IT becomes exponentially stronger with sound communication. Her curiosity and predilection for data drive her to design content that is both meaningful and packed with solutions for technology leaders around the world.

The world needs socio-technical developers (and a shared sense of reality) (Talk)

Great teams build great products. But what makes a team ‘great’? We have a pretty good understanding of how to improve our code from a technical perspective, but how can we increase the effectiveness of the team creating that code and designs? In the end, software is a technical activity, created by human beings, so it’s crucial to understand the underlying social dynamics that affect our code and designs.

In this talk, Evelyn will discuss some of the most influential social dynamics related to codebases and designs, including Conway’s Law, feedback loops, value congruence, trust, knowledge mining and team productivity. Knowing which mechanisms (unconsciously) shape your behaviour will make you an even better socio-technical architect or developer. Second, understanding these underlying social dynamics will help minimize complexity by adding context and creating a shared sense of reality. Only with a shared language, shared understanding of the problem and goals, and clearly defined context, we can create the best designs and high-quality software.

Social science says a lot about these dynamics, but there is another goldmine right in front of us that we should use more often to understand how our social behavior is shaping our designs and architectures. Team dynamics are reflected in source code, and version control systems offer us plenty of social and behavioral data that we can use to improve the quality of our code and to increase the effectiveness of our teams.

This talk will zoom in on the most influential social dynamics that are affecting your work and will help you identify, recognize and act upon them to improve the quality of both your team and products.

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