11 - 13 May 2016

thestudio, Manchester, UK

Punishment driven development

Louise Elliott Leeds Building Society

Session type: Tutorial
Session duration: 90 minutes

Slides from session

The slides used for this session are available to download from here.

About this Tutorial

What's the first thing we do when a major issue occurs in a live system? Sort it out, of course. Then we start the hunt for the person to blame so that they can suffer the appropriate punishment.

What do we do if a person is being awkward in the team and won’t agree to our ways of doing things? Ostracise them, of course, and see how long it is until they hand in their notice – problem solved.

This tutorial delves into why humans have this tendency to blame and punish. It looks at real examples of punishment within the software world and the results that were achieved. Participants will work in groups to decide what their approach would be to each of the scenarios. We'll discuss the likely outcome of those approaches and what happened in the real situation.

These stories not only cover managers punishing team members, but also punishment within teams and self-punishment. We are all guilty of some of the behaviours discussed.

This is aimed at everyone involved in software development. After the session, you will understand:

  • why we tend to blame and punish others
  • the impact of self-blame
  • the unintended (but predictable) results from punishment
  • the alternatives to punishment, which get real results

About the Speaker

As a keen skater and recreational roller derby player, Louise understands the need for speed, agility and responding to change. When she isn"t skating she applies the same passion to achieving agility within the software world. She has successfully introduced agile and lean to many companies and is a great believer in the benefits of self organising teams. She constantly looks for improvements to existing processes and believes in building quality in from the start.


To buy tickets to see this fantastic talk, and many others like it head over to our ticket page.

Session Types

Need help planning which sessions to attend? We've provided a breakdown of our various session types below.

Case Study/Experience Report

A presentation and discussion of real-life (not theoretical) experiences of the application (or mis-application) of Agile and Lean practices. Case studies and experience reports include some discussion of lessons learned and an indication of how novel the work is.


Participants learn a new approach, tool or technology through using it to solve one or more practical exercises. Any software/hardware requirements are disclosed in the session description.


A session focused around some specific tool, technique or issue. Primarily led by the speaker, tutorials usually include some elements of interactivity or individual / group exercise.


An in-depth working session on a specific topic. May include paper presentations.