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©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Community Is Just as
Important as Code
MenderCon 2024
PRESENTED BY: ANDREA GOULET
MAY 16, 2024
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
INDIVIDUALS INTERACTIONS PURPOSE
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
INDIVIDUALS
● Who belongs?
● How is
membership
determined?
● Where are they?
● What other
communities
overlap?
● What do they
value/need?
INTERACTIONS
● What
communication
infrastructure
will be most
supportive?
● How can we
make
interactions
meaningful?
● What culture do
we have?
PURPOSE
● What goal are
we trying to
achieve?
● How do we know
if the community
is healthy?
● Why do we
exist?
● What resources
do we need?
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Origin Story
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Computer
Science
Business &
Marketing
1999 - 2009
● Good friends
since age 11
● Same classes,
teachers &
activities
● Nerd out about
tech at lunch
● Went separate
ways after HS
graduation
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
2009 - 2015
● Reconnected at 10
year reunion
● Scott invited Andrea
to be CEO of
Corgibytes
● Figured out business
model (modernizing
legacy code)
● Got married
● Started a family
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Image Source: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0151804/mediaviewer/rm3277810944
Milton Waddams
Office Space (1999)
● Invisible
● Shamed
● Not Listened to
● Undervalued
● Snubbed
● Ignored
● Quiet Frustration
● Brewing Resentment
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Image source: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/atlanta-postmasters-house
● Values history
● Integrates old & new
● Understands owners’ needs
● Mastery of a craft
● Long-term considerations
● Manages budget effectively
● Low drama
● Preserves practically
● Knowledge sharing
● Collaboration & communication
● Collective pride
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Where’s my
table?
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Makers &
Menders!
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
YES! Here’s
where I
belong!
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
2015 - 2020
● Began speaking at
conferences
● Presented
maker/mender models
● It resonated deeply
with lots of people
● Started Legacy Code
Rocks as slack channel,
podcast, github &
meetup
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
2020 - present
● Launched MenderCon
● Andrea had to step
back from participating
● Amazing people came
together to organize
● Celebration of software
maintenance
● Meaningful impact &
fantastic feedback
Scott Chris Darcee Sujith
Ray Nicholas Mike
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
INDIVIDUALS
● Menders
● People who
value software
maintenance
INTERACTIONS
● Slack, github,
podcast, weekly
meetup
● MenderCon
PURPOSE
● Sense of
belonging
● Turning shame
into celebration
FOUR FACTORS OF BELONGING
1. Feeling Understood
2. Quality Interactions
3. Finding Value
4. Interpreting Signals
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
I’m not alone.
4 Factors of Belonging:
● Feeling Understood
● Interacting with Others
● Finding Value
● Interpreting Signals
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Feeling
Understood
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Affinity vs. Empathy
● Experience - having different backgrounds and encounters
● Knowledge - operating from different domain specializations
● Processing - interpreting information in different ways
● Value - considering different things to be important
● Motivation - using different incentives to drive behavior
● Sensitivity - noticing and being affected by different details
● Power - being able to initiate and influence change differently
● Regulation - modulating stress responses in different ways
● Access - leveraging different types and levels of resources
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Intergroup Empathy Bias
Strong affinity can
lead to muting
empathy for members
of rival groups.
Bruneau, Emile G., Mina Cikara, and Rebecca Saxe. “Minding the Gap: Narrative Descriptions about Mental States Attenuate Parochial
Empathy.” PLOS ONE 10, no. 10 (October 27, 2015): e0140838. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140838.
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Makers and menders are not
rivals. Business and software are
not rivals. We need each other.
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
New Models of Empathy
Make it a habit to
pause and reflect.
Reappraisal Ruleset
1. Collect
2. Connect
3. Communicate
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Affinity can build capacity but its
cohesion can limit collaboration.
Overcome differences with
compassion and empathy.
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Quality
Interactions
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Communication Infrastructure
Create Engagement
Opportunities
• Frequency
• Channel
• Duration
• Direction
• Purpose
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Culture
Collection of all the shared values, beliefs, priorities, and
behavioral norms that help individuals within a group
navigate situations and solve problems.
Some Inherited Values
(Conway’s Law)
• Act with Empathy
• Adopt a Growth Mindset
• Communication is Just as Important as Code
• Craft in Context
• Calm the Chaos
Schein, Edgar H. Organizational Culture and Leadership. Fifth Edition. Hoboken: Wiley, 2017.
What defines the
Legacy Code
Rocks culture?
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Without interactions, we don’t
have a community. We have a
collection of similar individuals.
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Finding
Value
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Member Autonomy
• Participation is constantly in flux
• Honor changes in people’s lives
• Work to ensure expectations
match experience
• Make it easy to enter and exit
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Motivation - WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?)
APPROACH
• Inspiration
• Making friends
• Jobs / Clients
• Learning
• Sharing Experiences
• Problem Solving
AVOID
• Shame
• Loneliness
• Frustration
• Stagnation
• Miscommunication
• Creating Problems
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
What value do you get from our
community? What are your
avoid/approach patterns?
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Interpreting
Signals
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Perceived Justice
● Expectations are Explicit
(ex: Codes of Conduct)
● Consequences are Applied
Fairly (ex: Moderation)
● Contributions are
Recognized (ex: Thanks to all
our organizers!)
● Group & Individual Needs
are Balanced (ex: Picking a
time for the conference)
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Ambient Belonging
Our sense of future fit in a social group “can be ascertained
rapidly, even from a cursory glance at a few objects.”
Cheryan, Sapna, Victoria Plaut, Paul Davies, and Claude Steele. “Ambient Belonging: How Stereotypical Cues Impact Gender Participation in Computer Science.”Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology 97 (December 1, 2009): 1045–60. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016239.
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Belonging
Improves Code
Quality
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
“Learning culture and belonging
on software teams predicted a
decrease in AI Skill Threat & an
increase in both individual
developer productivity and
overall team effectiveness.”
Developer Success Lab
Hicks, Catherine M., Carol Lee, and Kristen Foster-Marks. “The New Developer: AI Skill
Threat, Identity Change & Developer Thriving in the Transition to AI-Assisted Software
Development,” April 20, 2024. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/2gej5.
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Feeling Understood
• Code Legibility
• Domain-Driven Design
• Code Reviews
• Onboarding
• Negotiating Scope, Budget, Prioritization, etc.
• Understanding Customers
• Moving from Confrontation to Collaboration
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Quality Interactions
• Remote vs. On-Site
• Transparency vs. Privacy
• One-to-One vs. One-to Many
• Synchronous vs. Asynchronous
• Adapting Messages to Different Groups
• Influencing Culture
• AI vs. Human Tasks
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Finding Value
• Recruitment & Retention
• Refactoring Motivation
• Shipping Early & Often
• Balancing Maker/Mender Strengths
• Contributing to Open Source
• Collective Ownership
• Shared Purpose
• Productivity
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Interpreting Signals
• Recruiting/Retention
• Inclusion vs. Exclusion
• Affinity Signals May Alienate (ex: inside
jokes/sarcasm, jargon, identity references)
• Explicit Expectations
• Fair Consequences
• Past/Future Interpretations
• Being Kind to Your Future Self
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Key Takeaways
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Key Takeaways
1. Legacy Code Rocks is an amazing community. Thanks
to all of you for being part of it.
2. Belonging is the DNA of Legacy Code Rocks. Use it as
a model for your teams.
3. Four Factors of Belonging: Feeling Understood,
Quality Interactions, Finding Value, and Interpreting
Signals
4. Belonging improves code quality.
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
“We don’t code for the compiler
— we code for people. All code
is communication and empathy
is a technical skill.”
Andrea Goulet
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
Thank You!
©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
About the Presenter
Andrea Goulet is on a mission to embed empathy into the
software industry to help humanity collaborate on the
complex problems we face today. She is a sought-after
international keynote speaker, experienced software
entrepreneur, and award-winning industry leader. Her
expertise centers on applying empathy as a technical skill
to improve organizational effectiveness and modernize
legacy and mission-critical software systems.
Through her online courses, Andrea has taught over
75,000 students how to level up their empathy and
communication skills to create better software. She is the
author of the forthcoming book, Empathy-Driven Software
Development, and the founder of Empathy in Tech and
Legacy Code Rocks, two an online communities where
code and compassion connect.
● LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreamgoulet
● Email: andrea@andreagoulet.com
● Website: https://www.andreagoulet.com

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Community is Just as Important as Code by Andrea Goulet

  • 1. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Community Is Just as Important as Code MenderCon 2024 PRESENTED BY: ANDREA GOULET MAY 16, 2024
  • 2. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved.
  • 3. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. INDIVIDUALS INTERACTIONS PURPOSE
  • 4. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. INDIVIDUALS ● Who belongs? ● How is membership determined? ● Where are they? ● What other communities overlap? ● What do they value/need? INTERACTIONS ● What communication infrastructure will be most supportive? ● How can we make interactions meaningful? ● What culture do we have? PURPOSE ● What goal are we trying to achieve? ● How do we know if the community is healthy? ● Why do we exist? ● What resources do we need?
  • 5. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Origin Story
  • 6. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Computer Science Business & Marketing 1999 - 2009 ● Good friends since age 11 ● Same classes, teachers & activities ● Nerd out about tech at lunch ● Went separate ways after HS graduation
  • 7. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. 2009 - 2015 ● Reconnected at 10 year reunion ● Scott invited Andrea to be CEO of Corgibytes ● Figured out business model (modernizing legacy code) ● Got married ● Started a family
  • 8. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Image Source: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0151804/mediaviewer/rm3277810944 Milton Waddams Office Space (1999) ● Invisible ● Shamed ● Not Listened to ● Undervalued ● Snubbed ● Ignored ● Quiet Frustration ● Brewing Resentment
  • 9. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Image source: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/atlanta-postmasters-house ● Values history ● Integrates old & new ● Understands owners’ needs ● Mastery of a craft ● Long-term considerations ● Manages budget effectively ● Low drama ● Preserves practically ● Knowledge sharing ● Collaboration & communication ● Collective pride
  • 10. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Where’s my table?
  • 11. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Makers & Menders!
  • 12. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. YES! Here’s where I belong!
  • 13. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. 2015 - 2020 ● Began speaking at conferences ● Presented maker/mender models ● It resonated deeply with lots of people ● Started Legacy Code Rocks as slack channel, podcast, github & meetup
  • 14. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. 2020 - present ● Launched MenderCon ● Andrea had to step back from participating ● Amazing people came together to organize ● Celebration of software maintenance ● Meaningful impact & fantastic feedback Scott Chris Darcee Sujith Ray Nicholas Mike
  • 15. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. INDIVIDUALS ● Menders ● People who value software maintenance INTERACTIONS ● Slack, github, podcast, weekly meetup ● MenderCon PURPOSE ● Sense of belonging ● Turning shame into celebration FOUR FACTORS OF BELONGING 1. Feeling Understood 2. Quality Interactions 3. Finding Value 4. Interpreting Signals
  • 16. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. I’m not alone. 4 Factors of Belonging: ● Feeling Understood ● Interacting with Others ● Finding Value ● Interpreting Signals
  • 17. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Feeling Understood
  • 18. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Affinity vs. Empathy ● Experience - having different backgrounds and encounters ● Knowledge - operating from different domain specializations ● Processing - interpreting information in different ways ● Value - considering different things to be important ● Motivation - using different incentives to drive behavior ● Sensitivity - noticing and being affected by different details ● Power - being able to initiate and influence change differently ● Regulation - modulating stress responses in different ways ● Access - leveraging different types and levels of resources
  • 19. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Intergroup Empathy Bias Strong affinity can lead to muting empathy for members of rival groups. Bruneau, Emile G., Mina Cikara, and Rebecca Saxe. “Minding the Gap: Narrative Descriptions about Mental States Attenuate Parochial Empathy.” PLOS ONE 10, no. 10 (October 27, 2015): e0140838. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140838.
  • 20. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Makers and menders are not rivals. Business and software are not rivals. We need each other.
  • 21. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. New Models of Empathy Make it a habit to pause and reflect. Reappraisal Ruleset 1. Collect 2. Connect 3. Communicate
  • 22. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Affinity can build capacity but its cohesion can limit collaboration. Overcome differences with compassion and empathy.
  • 23. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Quality Interactions
  • 24. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Communication Infrastructure Create Engagement Opportunities • Frequency • Channel • Duration • Direction • Purpose
  • 25. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Culture Collection of all the shared values, beliefs, priorities, and behavioral norms that help individuals within a group navigate situations and solve problems. Some Inherited Values (Conway’s Law) • Act with Empathy • Adopt a Growth Mindset • Communication is Just as Important as Code • Craft in Context • Calm the Chaos Schein, Edgar H. Organizational Culture and Leadership. Fifth Edition. Hoboken: Wiley, 2017. What defines the Legacy Code Rocks culture?
  • 26. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Without interactions, we don’t have a community. We have a collection of similar individuals.
  • 27. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Finding Value
  • 28. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Member Autonomy • Participation is constantly in flux • Honor changes in people’s lives • Work to ensure expectations match experience • Make it easy to enter and exit
  • 29. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Motivation - WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) APPROACH • Inspiration • Making friends • Jobs / Clients • Learning • Sharing Experiences • Problem Solving AVOID • Shame • Loneliness • Frustration • Stagnation • Miscommunication • Creating Problems
  • 30. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. What value do you get from our community? What are your avoid/approach patterns?
  • 31. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Interpreting Signals
  • 32. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Perceived Justice ● Expectations are Explicit (ex: Codes of Conduct) ● Consequences are Applied Fairly (ex: Moderation) ● Contributions are Recognized (ex: Thanks to all our organizers!) ● Group & Individual Needs are Balanced (ex: Picking a time for the conference)
  • 33. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Ambient Belonging Our sense of future fit in a social group “can be ascertained rapidly, even from a cursory glance at a few objects.” Cheryan, Sapna, Victoria Plaut, Paul Davies, and Claude Steele. “Ambient Belonging: How Stereotypical Cues Impact Gender Participation in Computer Science.”Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 97 (December 1, 2009): 1045–60. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016239.
  • 34. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Belonging Improves Code Quality
  • 35. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. “Learning culture and belonging on software teams predicted a decrease in AI Skill Threat & an increase in both individual developer productivity and overall team effectiveness.” Developer Success Lab Hicks, Catherine M., Carol Lee, and Kristen Foster-Marks. “The New Developer: AI Skill Threat, Identity Change & Developer Thriving in the Transition to AI-Assisted Software Development,” April 20, 2024. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/2gej5.
  • 36. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Feeling Understood • Code Legibility • Domain-Driven Design • Code Reviews • Onboarding • Negotiating Scope, Budget, Prioritization, etc. • Understanding Customers • Moving from Confrontation to Collaboration
  • 37. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Quality Interactions • Remote vs. On-Site • Transparency vs. Privacy • One-to-One vs. One-to Many • Synchronous vs. Asynchronous • Adapting Messages to Different Groups • Influencing Culture • AI vs. Human Tasks
  • 38. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Finding Value • Recruitment & Retention • Refactoring Motivation • Shipping Early & Often • Balancing Maker/Mender Strengths • Contributing to Open Source • Collective Ownership • Shared Purpose • Productivity
  • 39. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Interpreting Signals • Recruiting/Retention • Inclusion vs. Exclusion • Affinity Signals May Alienate (ex: inside jokes/sarcasm, jargon, identity references) • Explicit Expectations • Fair Consequences • Past/Future Interpretations • Being Kind to Your Future Self
  • 40. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Key Takeaways
  • 41. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Key Takeaways 1. Legacy Code Rocks is an amazing community. Thanks to all of you for being part of it. 2. Belonging is the DNA of Legacy Code Rocks. Use it as a model for your teams. 3. Four Factors of Belonging: Feeling Understood, Quality Interactions, Finding Value, and Interpreting Signals 4. Belonging improves code quality.
  • 42. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. “We don’t code for the compiler — we code for people. All code is communication and empathy is a technical skill.” Andrea Goulet
  • 43. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. Thank You!
  • 44. ©2024 Andrea Goulet. All Rights Reserved. About the Presenter Andrea Goulet is on a mission to embed empathy into the software industry to help humanity collaborate on the complex problems we face today. She is a sought-after international keynote speaker, experienced software entrepreneur, and award-winning industry leader. Her expertise centers on applying empathy as a technical skill to improve organizational effectiveness and modernize legacy and mission-critical software systems. Through her online courses, Andrea has taught over 75,000 students how to level up their empathy and communication skills to create better software. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Empathy-Driven Software Development, and the founder of Empathy in Tech and Legacy Code Rocks, two an online communities where code and compassion connect. ● LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreamgoulet ● Email: andrea@andreagoulet.com ● Website: https://www.andreagoulet.com