The Power of Pranks

The most valuable asset in an organization is the people. Without people, you don’t have an organization (excluding robots). In the world of software development, many forces get applied to the people within your team which harm or degrade their quality of life. Fixed deadlines, the presence of Murphy’s Law in production environments, compilers which don’t understand your intentions, or just dealing with humans that don’t understand your code is working as designed. Face it, software development is tough and the only way you can survive it is by sticking together. The power of camaraderie within a team, is a force that can combat many of these ever-changing external forces that can damage your team. To build camaraderie, one must invest time and effort within the team.

This talk discusses how infusing humor within your team through the application of pranks can build camaraderie. An empirical study of pranks at Cerner Corporation, which has spanned more than eleven years, will be shared. In this study, you will get to hear some of the greatest pranks that have been witnessed and documented at this company. Pranks applied from entry-level engineers to some of the highest levels of leadership in our engineering organizations will be shown. From this talk, you find out the benefits of humor through the application of pranks which can give you stories and friendships that outlast any software solution you build.