It Will Never Work in Theory: Live!

April 27, 2022: Lightning Talks

Software developers and software researchers don't go to the same parties. While we've been building complex software for over seventy years and studying how it's built for nearly as long, most programmers don't know what software researchers have discovered, and most researchers aren't living with the problems developers would most like solved.

We can do better. On Wednesday, April 27, It Will Never Work in Theory is offering its first live event, a set of lightning talks from leading software engineering researchers on immediate, actionable results from their work. How can you do better code reviews (and avoid doing harmful ones)? What have we learned about effective remote onboarding during the pandemic? Does test-driven development actually make you more productive? And what does "productive" actually mean for a programmer? Our speakers will share what we know about these questions and why we believe it's true.

To ensure these presentations are accessible to as many people as possible, we are offering two sessions at the times shown below; each session will have 12 speakers in 3 hours (with plenty of time for questions). Tickets are CAD$50 for people in affluent countries and CAD$20 elsewhere, and are good for both sessions. All of the money raised will go to support Books for Africa.

Session 1 Session 2
UTC 08:00 - 11:00 UTC 17:00 - 20:00
Auckland 20:00 - 23:00 Berlin 19:00 - 22:00
Melbourne 18:00 - 21:00 London 18:00 - 21:00
New Delhi 13:30 - 16:30 Rio de Janeiro 14:00 - 17:00
Berlin 10:00 - 13:00 Toronto 13:00 - 16:00
London 09:00 - 12:00 Vancouver 10:00 - 13:00
Christoph Treude
Sebastian Baltes
Felienne Hermans
Mairieli Wessel
Matthias Galster
Maurício Aniche
Alberto Bacchelli
Neil Brown
Davide Fucci
Marian Petre
Manuel Rigger
Igor Steinmacher
Andy Zaidman
Alberto Bacchelli
Mairieli Wessel
Marian Petre
Maurício Aniche
Paige Rodeghero
Davide Fucci
Mei Nagappan
Brittany Johnson-Matthews
Shane McIntosh
Kelly Blincoe
Catherine Hicks
Denae Ford Robinson
Katie Stolee
Igor Steinmacher
Margaret-Anne Storey


  • Maurício Aniche: "How code coverage can be used and abused to guide testing." Maurício is Tech Academy Lead at Adyen and an Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.
  • Alberto Bacchelli: "How code review works (and doesn't) in the real world." Alberto is an Associate Professor at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.
  • Sebastian Baltes: "Challenges and opportunities for software engineering in Papua New Guinea." Sebastian is a Principal Expert for Empirical Software Engineering at SAP in Germany and an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
  • Kelly Blincoe: "The effects of destructive criticism in code review." Kelly is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
  • Neil Brown: "How your minds learn to program." Neil is a Research Fellow at King's College London.
  • Denae Ford Robinson: "Online community and safety in software engineering." Denae is a Research Scientist at Microsoft Research in the United States.
  • Davide Fucci: "The hidden costs and benefits of TDD." Davide is an Assistant Professor at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden.
  • Matthias Galster: "Value and waste in software engineering." Matthias is an Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.
  • Felienne Hermans: "How patterns in variable names can make code easier to read." Felienne is an Associate Professor at Leiden University in the Netherlands.
  • Catherine Hicks: "Fostering a learning culture in coding teams." Cat, a former intervention researcher at the Khan Academy, is the principal consultant at Carthasis Consulting.
  • Brittany Johnson-Matthews: "Causal testing: understanding the root causes of defects." Brittany is an Assistant Professor at George Mason University in the United States.
  • Shane McIntosh: "The unintended consequences of mining software build systems." Shane is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
  • Mei Nagappan: "Bias in evaluating code contributions." Mei is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
  • Marian Petre: "How expert programmers think about errors." Marian is a Professor at the Open University in the United Kingdom.
  • Manuel Rigger: "How to test software without writing tests." Manuel Rigger is a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich and an incoming Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore.
  • Paige Rodeghero: "What we've learned about remote onboarding during the pandemic." Paige is an Assistant Professor at Clemson University in the United States.
  • Igor Steinmacher: "Negotiation and padding in software project estimates." Igor is an Assistant Professor at the Federal University of Technology - Paraná in Brazil.
  • Kathryn Stolee: "To search or not to search: it depends on the question." Katie is an Associate Professor at North Carolina State University.
  • Margaret-Anne Storey: "What does 'productivity' actually mean for developers?" Margaret-Anne is a Professor at the University of Victoria in Canada.
  • Christoph Treude: "Automatically enhancing error messages." Christoph is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
  • Mairieli Wessel: "How people really use GitHub Actions." Mairieli is a postdoctoral researcher at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.
  • Andy Zaidman: "Programmer by day, tester by night." Andy Zaidman is a full professor in software engineering at the Delft University of Technology.

Strange Loop logo

Edited recordings of these lightning talks will be shared after the event in collaboration with Strange Loop, a multi-disciplinary conference that brings together the developers and thinkers building tomorrow's technology in fields such as emerging languages, alternative databases, concurrency, distributed systems, security, and the web.

CRC Press logo

This event is co-sponsored by CRC Press, a leading publisher in computer science, programming, software engineering, and data science. CRC will offer every attendee a £100 voucher toward the e-book of their choice from CRC Press is also interested in new book projects: please contact Randi Cohen at to discuss any book ideas.