Speaker Details

Helen Scott
Helen Scott is a Developer Advocate at JetBrains. She has worked at numerous software companies in the last 20 years and has experienced the development cycle at all stages in various roles throughout that time. Helen loves to learn new tools and technologies, create content about that journey and share it with the community.
As developers, we often encounter unexpected challenges and roadblocks that can derail our productivity and cause immense stress. In this session, I will share some of my experiences of the horrible productivity issues I have faced and invite you to do the same.
Topics may include:
  • Bosses & teams that fail to onboard developers
  • Environments that are impossible to set up
  • Flaky tests and unreliable toolchains that hide real problems
  • Practices that lead to burnout
I may also offer suggestions on how to overcome these problems now that I have more experience, but I’m interested in hearing from you. What’s your advice? What are your stories? What’s common across the industry that blocks developer productivity?
Whether you are just starting your career or have been in the field for years, this session will offer lessons on navigating and surviving these difficult experiences, or at least give you a safe space to rant.
If you run a development team, you’ll learn what ridiculous things your developers will sometimes put up with and why they’re not delivering what you expect.
We get interrupted both from within, when our unconscious is vying for our attention, and from outside, when our work or life throws us a curveball. 
Mid-task, our brains come up with any number of apparently urgent tasks that we must do immediately, such as ordering that book, replying to an email, or messaging a friend. These thoughts disrupt our flow and impact our productivity, and if we let them, they can completely derail us.
The work itself can be just as good at surprising us, but are those surprises just tempting us away from what we really need to do, or are they true impediments to our direction and timescales? Is it just some pretty scenery that we would like to see, or has the bridge we were about to take collapsed?
In this talk, Helen explores how distractions work and how they impact us. She disputes that we need to hack our minds and suggests we must hack our environment, tools, and work instead. Helen will argue that not all surprises can be planned for, but there are techniques that we can use to surface and respond to them sooner. Helen’s talk will involve dragons, ignorance and…ooh, look, a squirrel!