Thursday August 16, 2012 9:00am - 10:30am
@ Austin 4-6
Women are opting out of software development and leaving established software careers in disproportionate numbers. This is a material burden to the software industry and contributes to software that under-serves women as end users. Agile principles motivate practitioners to drive change into their organizations that support a humane, collaborative, empowered way of working. Organizations embracing these principles have potential to better attract and retain women (and men). As Agile practitioners should we and can we advocate for this outcome? Women represent 46% of the workplace and only 25% of software developers. Over two decades the percentage of women developers has steadily declined. 41% of women professionals leave established careers in high technology. Half leaving the sector completely. The number of women earning Computer Science bachelor’s degrees dropped 55% from 1986 to 1995 despite growing percentages of women graduating from four year colleges. And young women are significantly less interested in studying hard tech then men. Their absence costs the software industry and is an impediment to addressing a market where women are online in equal numbers to men; directly or indirectly influence 61% of consumer electronics purchases; generate 58% of online dollars; and represent 42% of active gamers. Women avoid careers in software development due to hostile environments, unsustainable pace, diminished purpose, disadvantages in pay, advancement, peers and mentors. Agile values steel practitioners for the hard work of confronting impediments, incrementally nudging an organization towards a more collegial, sustainable, creative and productive workplace so that the organization can repeatedly create software of value to stakeholders and of real use to people. These principles and the emergent properties they instill in organizations fight many of the dysfunctions research indicates contribute to women's flight from and avoidance of software careers. Through iterative cycles of knowledge creation and sharing within companies, across enterprises, into academic institutions and out to the media success within development teams can shift the larger culture. Agile adoption itself is an example of this. The result could be more human workplaces and a more social and engaged view of the software developer that will encourage girls to pursue computer science and help the industry recruit and retain larger numbers of talented women. The presenter is developer, manager and executive who has practiced Agile methods for nine years and eleven years working in Women run businesses in the Media industry in New York City.