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Grow To Where We’re Going

YOW! Perth 2020

As developers, we don't deliver just code. We deliver change in the world.

In software, we want to go fast. We draw a road map, so we can move from here to there. When software is part of a larger system, we want it to go to new places and also support the customers it supports now. Growth is a better metaphor for software change than movement. When we grow to a new place, we still exist in the old place. We are still there for the systems that integrate with us.
  • The value of software is in its connections to the wider system: in its use.
  • Growth never stops until death; software is “done” when it’s out of production.
  • We don’t grow -in- an environment; we grow -with- an environment. Influence is healthier than control.
  • Teams are like forests. The whole forest is communicating underground through a network of roots and fungi. The essence of a team’s work is out of sight, in
  • the knowledge we exchange with each other and embed into the software.
  • Developers are like trees in a forest. Sometimes management can’t see the “team” for the “resources.”
  • Trees are green because intensity isn’t everything. To go fast is less important than to keep going.
This is about more than software. As a person, I grow to where I’m going. As a culture, we grow to where we’re going. We don’t control our environment, but we do influence it.

Jessica Kerr

Developer, Keynote Speaker, Symmathecist


United States

Jessica Kerr is a developer of development systems. She works remotely from St. Louis, for Atomist, where she writes automations and automation infrastructure in TypeScript, Clojure, and whatever else is needed. She is a back-end developer who believes the front-end is most crucial. Jessica speaks at conferences in the US and Europe; find her on the >Code podcast (