Cassandra at the Keyboard: Whistleblowing at All Scales (Open Source Bridge, 2015)

Cassandra was a prophetess doomed to be accurate, but never believed. In my role as a technical writer, I often have the information needed to make useful observations about development processes, communication problems, and other organizational troubles. The problem is getting people in power to agree with and act on the information I present.

This talk is about various methods we can use to alert people to the problems we see without being ignored, shut up, shut out, or fired. Whistleblowing is just another word for organizational warning, and we should think clearly about how to present our case, how to follow it up, what the consequences may be, and when to cut our losses. Let’s discuss how to document and present organizational information, how to make a business case for change, and how to protect yourself from backlash.

Here is the slide presentation of the revised talk, from Write/Speak/Code 2016. The speaker notes are very close to how I delivered it.

Heidi Waterhouse

Heidi is a developer advocate at LaunchDarkly, a company that lets you make business decisions about your software at runtime. She spends a lot of time talking and writing about things you only thought you understood, and how they are connected. She also has an unhealthy fascination with near-disasters of the technical variety.