Build resilient systems at scale
May 27–29, 2015 • Santa Clara, CA

Teaching GitHub for Poets

Aaron Suggs (Kickstarter)
4:10pm–4:50pm Friday, 05/29/2015
Location: Ballroom CD
Average rating: ****.
(4.30, 10 ratings)
Slides:   1-PDF 

Prerequisite Knowledge

A basic familiarity with GitHub pull requests


At Kickstarter, we’ve created a GitHub for Poets training class to introduce all employees to our engineering process and the codebase that runs, regardless of their role or department.

The one-hour class introduces attendees to making branches, commits, and pull requests using the GitHub Flow in a web browser. It’s a simple workflow, but the effects are profound.

GitHub for Poets training has resulted in streamlined communication with our product team, and has demystified software development. Other teams are increasingly able to make copy changes in our code. People love seeing their handiwork live on the site.

Since introducing GitHub for Poets:

  • The Customer Support team can seamlessly improve messaging on the site in response to tickets
  • The Editorial team can quickly fix typos
  • The HR Director can directly update job listings

Kickstarter’s culture has strengthened as teams seek the transparency, inclusivity, and contextual history afforded by Git for all their work. Internal documentation moved to Git repos. Policy discussions moved from email to pull requests.

In this talk, I’ll discuss tips for teaching a successful GitHub for Poets class, and the processes you should have in place to allow your staff to learn your codebase without compromising site reliability or security.

Aaron Suggs


Aaron Suggs is the lead operations engineer at Kickstarter, where he backs too many video game projects. He enjoys writing code that makes developers happier.