PyCon 2016 in Portland, Or
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Wednesday 1:50 p.m.–2:20 p.m.

What can software engineers learn from the medical field?

Laura Rupprecht

Audience level:
Best Practices & Patterns


There is a long history of improvements to medical practices, many of which can be applied to software development. This talk will explore some of those practices, and how they can be translated to the world of software.


There are many improvements that have been made to workflows in medicine, many of which can be applied to software engineering best practices. Handoffs between providers and communication between specialists necessitate procedures to ensure continuity of care. There are many things that software engineering can learn from medical best practices, such as: - How to use checklists to avoid forgetting key steps - Why documentation is essential for both new team members and for ones who are taking on new responsibilities - The importance of review in enforcing standards, learning, and preventing mistakes - How the Incident Command System (ICS) can be applied to software engineering incidents, and why it is important to have a framework for responding to incidents in a timely manner and with adequate communication