Thawing the Great Code Slush

Tuesday, March 19, 2024 - 11:00 am11:45 am

Maude Lemaire, Slack


October 2020 wasn't a great month for Slack. Plagued with multiple hours-long outages, our engineering leadership team called for a code slush: all pull requests to our build and configuration mono-repo, aptly named "chef-repo", would need to be reviewed live, over Zoom, by a change advisory board (CAB) until further notice.

Five months later, CAB was still alive and well. We'd made some ergonomic improvements to the process, but development for our infrastructure team had slowed to a crawl.

Armed with a beginner's mindset– I'd only committed to the repo once under the new process– I decided to take matters into my own hands. What follows is a tale of building trust, making compromises, and slowly, but surely restoring our long-lost productivity without eroding reliability.

Maude Lemaire, Slack Technologies, Inc.

Maude is a Senior Staff Engineer at Slack where she is a founder and technical lead for the backend performance infrastructure team. She's responsible for large-scale load test tooling, performance regression monitoring, and successfully onboarding the world's largest companies to Slack. Over the past six years, she's helped the product scale from just 60,000 users per team to over 2 million. When she doesn't have her nose in a flamegraph, you can find Maude building strong, empathetic engineering cultures.

In October 2020, Maude published ""Refactoring at Scale"" with O'Reilly Media, a blueprint for how technical leaders can successfully navigate large, complex refactors.

@conference {295037,
author = {Maude Lemaire},
title = {Thawing the Great Code Slush},
year = {2024},
address = {San Francisco, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = mar

Presentation Video