The Soft Skills in Software

You’re probably here at this conference because you want to become a better developer, but I’m here to tell you that that you’re focusing on the wrong area. The difference between a good programmer and a great one isn’t the ability to write a kernel module in LISP, but the ability to communicate with your colleagues and customers. Skills sharing, collaboration and functional communication are critical for the success of any software project, and yet usually overlooked and undervalued.

Developers who strive to be great, cannot afford to neglect their professional development in these areas. You don’t to reinforce the dreadful stereotype of the shy, stuttering, geek, do you?

This interactive presentation will examine a few of the critical “soft skills” that are needed to thrive in corporate team environments. For example, how you can:

  • write effectively and speak clearly; i.e. get to the point,
  • move beyond your technical silo to work effectively as a team,
  • build trust and rapport with your project customers,
  • mentor, motivate and encourage others,
  • mediate or negotiate between competing points of view,
  • lead others and manage vendors


This workshop will be split into three sections; communication, collaboration and co-operation


  • Concise communication
  • Daily Stand-up practices (in 7 words or less)
  • Writing is just editing
  • Non-verbal communication


  • Cultural communication differences
  • Working through tools (distributed agile)
  • Building trust
  • Sharing skills


  • Negotiation strategies (win-win)
  • Competing points of view
  • Outcomes over outputs