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100 Awesome tech talks - 1: Ease at work - Kent beck

Ease at work - Kent Beck

What does ease mean?

  • State of comfort
  • Freedom from worry, pain or agitation
  • Readiness in performance, facility

State of comfort

We need to have a sense when working that we are doing the right thing, that we are at the right place, that we are answering our calling.

Freedom from worry, pain or agitation

  • anxiety is kryptonite for programmers
  • if we are worrying, we are not doing our best work.
  • we are anxious about deadlines, expectations
  • we are worrying about technology, looking at new technology

Readiness in performance, facility

  • We should not worry about things that dont matter
  • care deeply about things that do matter.
  • care deeply about our work -> be fulfilling some kind of purpose

What causes unease?

  • We have to work on the sense of ease
  • what is taking it away?, how to get it back?

Battle between two extremities

  • We are swinging between two extreme states
  • We are awesome, the best programmer in the world
  • We are bad, the worst programmer
  • We need to reduce the amplitude of these swings so that our self image is correlated with reality.
  • We need to manage these extremes

How to be more at ease?

My work matters

  • If we believe that our work does not matter, we are not at ease
  • work that does not matter is a place of dis-ease
  • Find purpose in different ways
    • Economic : sales go up, company is more valuable
    • Social impact

Knowing that the code works

  • TDD - designs get better, more feedback, more documentation
    • I know that my code works.
    • fear is transmuted into boredom.
  • Afraid of breaking something, causes unease


  • be proud of your code.
  • we can be proud of our code in different dimensions.
    • following best practices
    • writing clean code
    • taking a mess and cleaning it up
    • adding successfully to a mess
  • when we are proud of our work, we are at ease

Make public commitments

  • make public commitments about what you are going to do
  • accountability -> without excuse, without blaming others
    • not blaming others
  • we can fall short sometimes.
  • when we can account for ourselves -> we are at ease
  • schedule chicken -> everybody in the table knows you are not going to make the schedule

Interpret feedback

  • interpret both positive and negative feedback.
  • dont be carried away by both positive and negative feedback.

I am a beginner

  • learning new things help us see the limits of our knowledge
  • we get more feedback by deliberately putting ourselves in the mindset of a beginner


  • Meditation helps us with ease


  • Deliberately doing things with no sense of reward.
  • helping others

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval

  • Mark Twain

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