Screenshot of Lilly Ryan's title page from her presentation at PyCon.

This is the third post in the 2018 edition of our annual PyCon Must-See Series, which highlights the talks our staff especially loved at PyCon. While there were many great talks, this is our team's shortlist.

A talk I remember well from PyCon 2018 was Don't Look Back in Anger: Wildman Whitehouse and the Great Failure of 1858. By describing the process and mistakes involved with building the first transatlantic telegraph, Lilly Ryan, a software and systems engineer and former historian, goes over some of the major pressures, events, and disagreements made during the project. Specifically, she describes:

  • Team conflict
  • Time pressure
  • Hero mentality

Moreover, she describes the importance of the following values for development teams:

  • Treating feedback sensibly
  • Open-mindedness
  • Self-reflections and post-mortems

This entertaining 30-minute talk provides multiple examples of ways in which tech projects can go awry, and how to avoid the same mistakes in the future. I hope to practice the values Ryan mentions, and help my team to practice them as well. The advice from Ryan is helpful and relevant for anyone working on or managing a technology project or team.

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