The 5 Keys to Crushing Technical Debt and Reclaiming the Joy in Engineering
The March 2023 tech talk was presented by Alan Willett and Julia Mullaney
Are you feeling weighed down by technical debt? Are you tired of constantly putting out fires and struggling to keep your systems running smoothly? It’s time to reclaim the joy in engineering! In this talk, we will explore the five key strategies for crushing technical debt and bringing back the enjoyment to your work. We’ll also delve into the seven types of technical debt, including gordian knots, trap doors, barnacle ware, and more, and show you how to identify and tackle each one. Join us and learn how to eliminate technical debt and rediscover the satisfaction of building high-quality systems.
About the Presenters
Alan Willett is a globe-trotting Principal helping organizations to improve the speed and power of their engines of development. Alan is the award-winning author of Lead with Speed and Leading the Unleadable.
Alan Willett was the youngest of six kids on a dairy farm in Hunt, NY, which was (and still is) about a 30-minute drive to any stoplight. In Alan’s opinion, a stop sign would be okay in that town. The stoplight is a bit of high-tech overkill. The dairy farm has been in the family for almost 200 years. In Alan’s teenage years, the farm won Dairy Farm of the Year multiple times, while other farms failed. Alan learned how to be lucky by using data, technology, hard work, and logical decision-making.
After the farm, Alan went to Rochester Institute of Technology. There, he ran track and cross-country. He actually did run across the country with his team. The team was in the Guinness Book of World Records for running a relay from ocean to ocean in record time. While at college, as a side hobby to his athletics, he received a degree in computer science, which later became a Master’s degree.
When Alan started working in the high-tech world of high-pressure product development, he found that most of the projects used data much less than they did on the farm. On his projects, he put into place the use of data and logical decision-making. His travels eventually took him to work at the world-renowned Software Engineering Institute, the think tank of the world on high-tech development work. There, he was able to work with many of the geniuses that have pushed the state of the art. He worked with and was good friends with the late Watts Humphrey.
Julia Mullaney has been involved with software excellence since starting her career at IBM in 1988. At IBM, she was instrumental in process improvement efforts, having a major role in defining and implementing defect prevention, for which she won the IBM Quality Award.
At the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), Julia was a key contributor to the Personal Software Process℠ (PSP℠) and Team Software Process℠ (TSP℠) through the development of training, certification, licensing, and applied research at leading software organizations. She was fortunate to take the first PSP class from her mentor, Watts Humphrey. Julia is currently the chair for the IEEE CS/SEI Watts Humphrey Quality Award and also sits on the IEEE CS Awards Committee.
Julia’s passion is software excellence, and she has been channeling that passion into growing the Software Excellence Alliance (SEA) as the SEA Executive Committee Leader and as a member of SEA Website & Social Media working group. She previously chaired the Working Group Training working group.