I was so lucky to have gotten a ticket for CodeClimate Summit which was held in San Francisco on the 18th July. It was located at the Pearl in the Dogpatch area which has a lot of construction going on at these times. I was quite happy to attend as I do focus a lot on how quickly you can iterate and do stuff and it seemed very much aligned with the content of the conference.
When I arrived I got my badge and a logo-bag with a thermo drink bottle, the book “Accelerate: The Science Behind DevOps” by Nicole Forsgren and a nice CodeClimate themed notebook with a pen. It was pretty nice, good idea with the notebook as I saw people use it. No swag t-shirt, but looking around not that many were wearing t-shirts neither
The day started with Bryan Helmkamp the CEO of CodeClimate presenting. He talked about developer habits and statistics that they had computed anonymously from a lot of companies. It is super fascinating this data-driven approach, because I think generally engineers think as themselves of craftsman that are unique and can’t be measured and very seldom are and here is a presentation where the human hasn’t been accounted for. It was quite a brain tweaker as it was a lot of facts just from the morning and along with a product announcement. I think Bryan really wanted to give value other than talking about his company and that it shouldn’t be too product focused. Kudos for that, but I wouldn’t have minded a little more about CodeClimate and what was the future.
The Pearl was an interesting location, the room had been filled with chairs and tables with cloth, which made it nice because you had a place to put your coffee, however it was all kind of squeezed into the one big room which made for some ill moments getting by.
I could go through and mention all the talks because they were all really good, everyone really well-prepared with something on their heart, kudos for that selection! So here is a short summary of all the content that was presented that day:
Cynthia Maxwell, who worked Slack, Apple, Yahoo, and Nasa (pretty remarkable!), did a really great talk about finding time as a leader, urgent/not urgent — don’t do/delegate!
Rodrigo Miguel did a talk about the correct pull request size which was the intersection between time spent needed to review and lines
Heather Rivers gave a totally inspiring presentation, she used stories about plane crashes and how bad communication with the pilot from lower-ranking employees, that was dismissed because of authority when trying to raise an issue, often was the leading cause of those failures.
Then three lightning talks,
- Alexandra Paredes about making a formal written down RequestForChance procedure for large chances to be evaluated fairly and well.
- Greg Sabo about cross-team collaboration with no leaders or primary stakeholder is often a really bad way to drive innovation
- Cliff Chang about how to fight the downwards trend of employees leaving too early and instead how to effectively give a good employee a new job within a company
Sumeet Jain gave a talk really phenomenal talk about leveling up juniors, about giving mentorship which is not about code but about everything else and affirming new hires that they are good.
Nicole Forsgren talked about a Ph.D. study she has done about the data behind high-performance teams. It was again a really good and entertaining talk and all I could do was sit and say yes to all of it. I am really glad that this kind of stuff is presented and talked about, how do teams that do really well look like. It is very difficult sometimes to talk about these trademarks in new/old organizations if very few know about other high performing teams, then it is easy to get to a local maximum.
As you can see there were a lot of talks, it was a tightly packed day with a lot of great knowledge. I could see there be maybe a little less than 9 talks as the impact of each talk only really comes upon reflection and that was there very little of. I sat next to a guy from OpenTable which had read Nicole Forsgren book and was incredibly smart and some of his reflections and the discussion about the topics really gave a good connection. That is what I think a good conference also can do, in that room was so many brilliant minds, and allowing people to connect over a common shared topic is really powerful. You could say that people weren’t there to network, but it is pretty rare having a room with that many people focusing on humans, continuous deployment, and leadership.
I think was CodeClimate is doing is really interesting and it is clear that they want to help people build better software by providing insights and tools for managing codebases. However, I don’t know if all the speakers actually use CodeClimate as none of the speakers even mentioned or denied it. No open-source project was on stage saying how CodeClimate helped their project and no speakers from any of the companies mentioned on the front page of CodeClimate.com. Just some of the things I would kind of expect for a summit done by a product company, else I would expect it to be called EngineeringLeadersSummit which would also have been really good! I really hope the summit continues because as the tech industry grows, keeping companies to deliver will become ever more difficult but also ever more valuable.
Thanks for the great day CodeClimate!
Btw. you have 14 codesmells on the main repo for CodeClimate ;) https://codeclimate.com/github/codeclimate/codeclimate/issues