Understanding Your Organization With Code Archaeology

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 from 1:30 – 2:15pm in B201


Come on an expedition into the dark corners of your project's code basement, deep in that directory everyone avoids because it's filled with spiders and booby traps and two mysterious old versions of JQuery from 2012 that no one even remembers using. Instead of getting exasperated by variables called data and poor command-query separation, learn to use code archaeology as a way to understand your organization better.


Using `git blame`, team interviews, and experimentation, we’ll explore code for signs of common organizational pain points:
- deadline driven development
- devs with no access to domain knowledge
- siloed teams
- constantly shifting goals

We’ll consider ways that empathy for our predecessors can lead us to more useful conclusions than focusing on coding mistakes and trying to place blame. We’ll discuss tools, how to run accusation-free archaelogy expeditions, and ways to turn your discoveries into action items for organizational DRI (Don’t Repeat Incidents).


refactoring, empathy, code archaeology, git

Speaking experience

This is the first actual conference talk I've proposed.


  • Profile dec 2016


    Liss McCabe is a dev with New Relic. She enjoys Ruby, functional programming, refactoring mysterious old code, cats, drawing comics, and faving every single cute queer fan art tweet she can. She lives with her two year old kid in sunny Portland, OR.