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Workflows of Refactoring (OOP 2014)

Over the last decade or so, Refactoring has become a widely used technique to keep a high internal quality for a codebase. However most teams don't make enough use of refactoring because they aren't aware of the various workflows in which you can use it. In this keynote talk from OOP 2014 in Munich, I explore some of these workflows: such as Litter-Pickup Refactoring, Comprehension Refactoring, and Preparatory Refactoring. I also remind people why common justifications for refactoring will sabotage your best efforts. (This talk also has a treatment as an infodeck.)

10 February 2014


The State of Agile Software in 2018

On the surface, the world of agile software development is bright, since it is now mainstream. But the reality is troubling, because much of what is done is faux-agile, disregarding agile's values and principles. The three main challenges we should focus on are: fighting the Agile Industrial Complex and its habit of imposing process upon teams, raising the importance of technical excellence, and organizing our teams around products (rather than projects). Despite the problems, the community's great strength is its ability to learn and adapt, tackling problems that we original manifesto authors didn't imagine.

25 August 2018


Playlist of my talks on YouTube

Many of my talks are available on YouTube. Here is my playlist of talks that are on YouTube, which I do my best to keep up to date.

22 April 2014


Introduction to NoSQL

At goto Aarhus, we had a track on some practical experiences with NoSQL. I was asked to give an initial talk to explain the basic principles of NoSQL datastores. I talk about the origins of NoSQL, forms of NoSQL data models, the way many NoSQL databases consider the problem of consistency, and the importance of Polyglot Persistence.

3 October 2012


Talks on schemalessness, consistency in NoSQL, and economics of software design

I gave a talk at a ThoughtWorks event in San Francisco, using my usual Suite of Talks style. For this one the segments cover how and when to use schemaless data structures, why consistency in NoSQL databases is more than just ACID versus BASE, and the economic justification for well-designed software.

19 February 2013


Continuous Delivery

Martin Fowler and Jez Humble

We give a one-hour overview of Continuous Delivery. Topics include the justification of Continuous Delivery, the deployment pipeline, continuous integration, devops, and deployment strategies. The highlight is Jez's personification of a release candidate as a hero in a greek myth.

2 December 2011


Pourquoi, pas comment

Neal Ford and Martin Fowler

Neal Ford and I gave a talk at USI in Paris (2010) on some aspects of why agile works (as opposed to how). This probes at some of the core forces that makes agile effective, rather than looking at techniques. In particular we look at role of communication and feedback and how they interplay in agile environments.

June 2010


Democratic Political Technology Revolution

Zack Exley and Martin Fowler

My colleague Zack Exley and I talk about the software that was used by the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. An aspect I found particularly interesting was the way in which the software enabled and interacted with the organizational approach to the campaign.

March 2009


Google I/O Talk on Cloud

Martin Fowler and Rebecca Parsons

Rebecca Parsons and I talk about Google App Engine and the general world of clouds. In the first bit I talk about things various ThoughtWorkers learned from experiementing with App Engine, highlighting issues with testing, persistance, and concurrency. In the second part Rebecca talks about the broader issues enterprises will face with moving to the cloud.

May 2009


The Yawning Crevasse of Doom

Daniel Terhorst-North and Martin Fowler

A keynote for QCon 2007 that I did with my colleague Dan North. We both see the gap between developers and their customers/users as the biggest problem in software development. (We'd call it a chasm, but that word is so overused.) Here we talk about this gap, why it's important, and what we need to do to cross it. In particular we argue that the traditional role of an intermediary Business Analyst acts as a ferry, while what we really need is a bridge that enables directly contact between developers and their customers (and analysts can build and maintain that bridge). This is one of my favorite joint keynotes, both because I think the topic is so important, and because Dan is such stimulating co-speaker.

March 2007


Video: Introduction to Domain Specific Languages

At JAOO 2005, I chaired a track on Domain Specific Languages. I opened the track with a half-hour introduction which was recorded by InfoQ and made available on their website. The talk mirrors the first part of my paper on Language Workbenches.

25 September 2005


Agilists and Architects: Allies not Adversaries

Rebecca Parsons and Martin Fowler

At QCon San Francisco 2008 Rebecca Parsons and I gave a talk about how agile approaches work with enterprise architecture groups. At the moment there's a lot of distrust and conflict between agile project teams and architecture groups. We dig into why this is so, and explore ways that these groups can work together.

19 November 2008


Keynote for RailsConf 2006

As with most of my keynotes, this is an extemporary talk. Given the conference, this one has a theme of how rails impacts software development.

July 2006


Not Just Code Monkeys (OOP 2014)

This is the second part of my keynote at OOP 2014 in Munich and is a tricky talk to describe. Usually I like a title and abstract to describe what the talk is about - but this talk is a journey, and I don't want to tell you where I'm going, but instead to explore the ground with me. I will say that it starts with my biggest problem with most adoption of agile software development - the nature of the interaction between users, analysts, and programmers. It goes on to explore these roles, raising questions about the relationship of programmers to users, our responsibilities to them, and finally the Two Great Challenges that I think programmers need to face up to.

10 February 2014


Our Responsibility to Defeat Mass Surveillance

Erik Dörnenburg and Martin Fowler

In our keynote for goto 2014, Erik and I consider our responsibilities as software professionals towards combatting the growing tide of mass surveillance. We talk about how software professionals should take a greater role in deciding what software to build, which requires us to have a greater knowledge of the domain and responsibility towards our users and the greater society. We say why privacy is important, both as a human need and for the maintenance of a democratic society. We use the example of email to explore the importance of an open, collaborative development approach for key infrastructure, and argue our freedoms require a greater level of encryption for all of us together with move to decentralize. We finish with a brief mention of "Pixelated", a project ThoughtWorks is doing to increase the use of encrypted email and why its challenges are much more about UX than the details of cryptography.

9 October 2014


Goto Amsterdam Keynote

My keynote at Goto Amsterdam in 2013. As usual it follows my 'Software Design in the 21st Century' template with a pair of short talks. I begin with talking about Schemaless data structures, explaining why there is always an implicit schema and the consequences of that. Second up (at 25m24s) I talk about the essence of agile software development and the agile fluency model.

4 September 2013


Evolving a Mobile Implementation Strategy

Giles Alexander and Martin Fowler

Mobile is still a smaller part of traffic than the traditional web, but its share is growing, so we need to think about our strategy for developing effective mobile applications. We discuss thinking about a product vision, separating the styles of user engagement into "Lean-forward", "Lean-back", and "Look-down" styles; while integrating them into a transmedia application. We talk about why its more important to focus on value than on traffic, the laser and cover-your-bases platform strategies, and opine that Android, iOS, and the Web are the three viable platform choices. Giles finishes with a case-study of our work with a major airline.

6 June 2013


The Evolving Panorama of Data

Rebecca Parsons and Martin Fowler

Our keynote at QCon London 2012 looks at the role data is playing in our lives (and that it's doing more than just getting bigger). We start by looking at how the world of data is changing: its growing, becoming more distributed and connected. We then move to the industry's response: the rise of NoSQL, the shift to service integration, the appearance of event sourcing, the impact of clouds and new analytics with a greater role for visualization. We take a quick look at how data is being used now, with a particular emphasis from Rebecca on data in the developing world. Finally we consider what does all this mean to our personal responsibilities as software professionals.

18 April 2012


Keynote at Agile Development Conference

Three talk segments: non-determinism in tests, economics of software development, 10 years since the agile manifesto.

8 June 2011


Three Years of Real-World Ruby

For a talk at QCon London 2009 I surveyed ThoughtWorks use of Ruby from 2006-2008 in which time we did 41 projects. My talk covers our views on Ruby's producitivity, speed, and maintainability. I conclude that Ruby should be taken seriously as a development environment. I also have an article that covers the same material if you prefer reading to watching.

March 2009


Meta-Introduction to Domain Specific Languages

This is my usual DSL intro talk, but done with a twist as I'm talking to a much more DSL-aware crowd than usual. So essentially I twisted into a talk about how I introduce DSLs to people.

April 2009


Does My Bus Look Big in This?

Jim Webber and Martin Fowler

My colleague Jim Webber has built quite a reputation for taking a lightweight and business-oriented approach to integration in the enterprise. He also has a reputation for being a very robust and entertaining speaker. So I was as nervous as I was excited to share the stage with him for a keynote at QCon 2008. He put together a wonderfully funny presentation with some serious tidbits of meat woven through it. We then just dove in and did it - possibly helped by the pre-talk pint. We talk about the history of Enterprise Integration, the growth of systems that think they are strong but are really just fat, the role of agile thinking, the influence of the web (including Jim's unique theory on why it was invented), and how this leads to Guerilla SOA.

March 2008


Revitalizing Enterprise Software

AMP, an Australian financial services company, ran an internal conference called Amplify. They asked me to talk about agile software development. I thought about how to make this best fit into the overall flow of the conference, particularly since I expected a significant part of the audience to not be part of IT. I settled on talking about how IT projects can be infrastructural or strategic. This classification alters how you approach the projects, in particular on the way IT and business people should collaborate.

25 June 2009


Language-Oriented Programming and Language Workbenches

Neal Ford and Martin Fowler

A keynote for The Server Side Java Symposium that I gave with Neal Ford. We look at the growing movement towards Domain Specific Languages, what kinds of languages exist and why they are interesting. If you're looking for one talk on the subject then my preference is for the JAOO video, but this one expands on some of the themes and is more entertaining due to Neal's presence. It would also work fine audio only, if you can find a way to extract the audio stream.

March 2007


Forging a New Alliance

Scott Shaw and Martin Fowler

ThoughtWorks often organizes "Quarterly Technology Briefings" - open talks for the community in cities where we have offices. In this QTB in Toronto, Scott Shaw and I talk about how to build new relationships between IT and business. It explains why we think IT departments should be disbanded.

October 2008