Friday, August 23, 2013

ACM SPLASH 2013: Technical Debt Panel Discussion

SPLASH 2013 (formerly OOPSLA) will be held in Indianapolis IN from October 26 - 31 and out of pure (dumb) luck of being in the right place at the right time, I find myself recruited to be a panelist at the conference for a second time in as many years.  Lightning does strike more than once after all. Well, I guess it also helps to work for the same company as the panel organizer and for our company to be one of the conference's major corporate sponsors. I still can't help but wonder why I'm getting invited to do this though.

Last year, I was asked to fill in for a colleague who was unable to make it to Tucson, AZ to be on the Software Tools Research Panel at SPLASH 2012.  That was actually kind of fun and I thought I was able to hold my own during the panel discussion.  As an added bonus, I got to meet some well-known and respected people in our industry like Jim Coplien and Tryvge Reenskaug, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, and William Opdyke, among others. There's never a dull moment when Cope is in on a discussion.

This year, I've been asked to participate in the "Technical Debt Panel Discussion," sitting on the podium with Bill Opdyke and others.  It's kind of strange to think about sitting up there, a virtual unknown whose bio seems disproportionately thin in substance when compared to those of the other panelists. My only real claim to any kind of celebrity is a "bartender" designation in a volunteer-basis moderator role in an online community for Java developers but I wasn't about to include that in my bio. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud to be a part of a great community and I have a great time volunteering on it but it just doesn't seem to measure up to the kind of credentials the other folks have.

Anyway, my relative anonymity may work to my advantage. I guess I can go there and present myself as the unofficial, self-appointed representative of the average developer who is at that very moment actually fighting his or her way through nasty, debt-ridden code. 

If you have some opinions about Technical Debt, it's past, present, and future, please leave a comment or two and let me know what you think the panel should discuss.

I will be posting more thoughts about Technical Debt in the next few weeks leading up to conference and hopefully, with some help from folks who might stumble upon this blog, I will be able to contribute some things of substance to the panel discussion in October.
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