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Unpacking Technical Decisions

Sarah Mei (Ministry of Velocity)
The Leading Edge
Location: Salon 8 Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.77, 13 ratings)

Every day, we make hundreds of small technical decisions: what’s the best way to implement this? Where should this function live? Is this library worth using? Occasionally, we make a larger decision: would a different framework make us more productive? Should we rewrite the whole thing in C?

No matter what scale we’re talking about, our decision making leans heavily on past experience, our community, and usually a search engine. But beyond that, the process is mostly opaque. Two programmers, given the same data, often make different decisions. We all want to be the one who’s usually right, but…how do we get there?

Let’s unpack our technical decision-making process, and see what we can learn about getting better at programming. Is mastery really something you just have to wait for? Can you accelerate it? And just what does “productivity” mean, anyway? We’ll take a tour of the science and figure out how we can apply it to the decisions we make every day.

Photo of Sarah Mei

Sarah Mei

Ministry of Velocity

Sarah Mei has been a software developer for fifteen years and a Ruby/JavaScript developer for seven. A founder of RailsBridge, an initiative to bring more diversity to the Ruby community, she’s a recent Pivotal Labs alum and is now running The Ministry of Velocity, a small software consultancy. She lives in San Francisco near the beach, where it is never warm enough to go swimming.