Empathy System Architecture

Online Course
Part 2 of the Empathy-Driven Development Series


 

Learn how to embed empathy into your software projects with these 12 essential skills.

What You'll Learn
Course Benefits
Course Agenda

This course is the second installment in our Empathy-Driven Development series. In part one, Empathy Is a Technical Skill, we learned what empathy is, how it works, and where we can apply it to a software project. It is highly recommended, although not required, to take this course after you've completed part one.

Empathy isn't just a feeling. Research is increasingly showing us that empathy is a set of skills. 

Skills you can learn. Skills you can grow. 

But what exactly are those skills? What exercises should you do to build your empathy muscles? And how do you apply those skills to a software project? 

Current neuroscience research is revealing that empathy has an underlying system architecture that we can use to map empathy out in a more schematic way. 

We can rely on our skills as software developers and system architects to wrap our heads around a topic that is important and often elusive — empathy. 

In this online course, we'll walk through empathy's system architecture to learn twelve essential skills tech teams need to bring empathy to their work. You'll walk away with practical, relevant, and immediately implementable skills that can help you improve your personal wellbeing, your relationships, your team, and your code. 

If you've ever been curious on how to make empathy precise, concrete, and applicable to your work in tech, this is one course you won't want to miss. 

 

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"Empathy-Driven Development is a human-centered approach to building software that uses effective communication to generate trust and resilience."  

- Andrea Goulet
Course Instructor
Author, Empathy-Driven Software Development

In Empathy System Architecture, you'll dive even deeper by focusing on the specific skills, behaviors, and practices that bring empathy to life on a software project.

Empathy System Architecture gives us a repeatable empathy process: Care, Calm, Consider, Connect

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Empathy researchers and academics have a variety of terms that are used to describe the functional components of empathy. But, like any domain, jargon can get in the way of understanding. 

In this course, you'll learn how to deploy a repeatable process that is easy to remember and based on empathy research. Using this process, and the skills associated with each core function, you'll be equipped with effective techniques for bringing empathy to any situation. 

And, contrary to what you may think, empathy isn't just about understanding other people. Empathy is also about considering your own needs and assessing the broader situation. Empathy isn't just about intuition and inference. In this course, you'll learn how to leverage strategic and analytical thinking skills to make empathy effective. 

Chart showing the 12 skills of Empathy System Architecture. Caring Skills: Compassion, Attunement, Altruism. Calming Skills: Boundaries, Awareness, Capacity. Considering Skills: Errors, Models, Ethics. Connecting Skills: Messaging, Relationships, Artifacts.
Casey Watts holding a copy of his book Debugging Your Brain
"I'm constantly impressed with how Andrea ties together empathy research and empathy skill development with software development practices." 


Casey Watts

Author, Debugging Your Brain

What You'll Learn

Throughout the course, you'll learn from lectures and interactive activities to help you build your essential empathy skills. You'll learn how to: 

Identify and Align Your Empathy Motivation

When we connect with others, motivation matters. If we are operating out of a feeling of fear, unease, or personal distress, acting with empathy may unintentionally cause more harm than good. You'll learn how to manage your motivation so that your empathy attempts help more and harm less. 

Give Without Giving Too Much

Empathy doesn't mean being a doormat. Research shows that people who have the most personal success are both generous to others and have healthy personal boundaries. By balancing the needs of others with your own needs, you'll be better equipped to use empathy effectively. 

Communicate Effectively

Explaining deeply technical concepts to people who don't code can be a challenge. Helping developers understand the nuances of a domain can feel daunting. Instead of siloing ourselves into "technical" and "non-technical" teams, empathy can help us find ways to share important information across a software project in a way that is clear, kind, and useful.

Leave Artifacts of Your Thinking

Legacy code gets a bad wrap. It's brittle, hard to work with, complex, and frustrating. However, legacy code doesn't have to stay that way. You can learn to transform legacy code into software systems that are healthy, resilient, and maintainable by focusing on leaving behind empathy-based communication artifacts. 

Understand Diverse Perspectives

Empathy isn't about projecting your ideas into another person's experience. It's not about surrounding yourself in an echo chamber of people who think the same way you do. Empathy helps us seek out diverse perspectives, listen openly, and reserve judgment so that we can make better decisions and reduce risk.

Build Stronger, Higher-Performing Software Teams

Humans evolved the capacity for empathy to work effectively in groups. You'll learn how to use empathy to cultivate trust, lift morale, increase productivity, manage conflict, and communicate effectively — all of which lead to higher performance. 

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Casey Watts holding a copy of his book Debugging Your Brain

"The way Andrea links empathy skills like personal boundaries to cyber-resilience strategies is absolutely brilliant!"

Nyota Gordon
TEDx Speaker & Cybersecurity Expert

Course Benefits

Completing this course will give you a deeper understanding of the technical nature of empathy and how it impacts a software system. With this knowledge, you'll be able to: 

  • Build healthy relationships
  • Foster high-functioning teams
  • Preserve precious focus time
  • Ship higher-quality code faster
  • Resolve technical debt
  • Respond to change
  • Manage challenges effectively
  • Avoid burnout
  • Reduce silos
  • Lower inter-departmental conflict
  • Transform toxic cultures
  • Create products customers value
  • Generate more revenue
  • Advocate for yourself
  • Set better boundaries
  • Improve your negotiation skills
  • Communicate effectively
  • Lower stress
  • Achieve personal success
  • Navigate conflict
  • Learn new things
  • Understand people better
  • Strengthen your social network
  • Reduce bias and prejudice
  • Make brittle systems resilient
  • Increase software stability
  • Deploy more frequently
  • Fix problems faster
  • Reduce system complexity
  • Increase test coverage
  • Create a sense of calm
  • Heighten sense of belonging
  • Increase morale & engagement
  • Retain talent and customers

And much more...


 

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Who Should Take This Course

This course is designed to be beneficial to anyone who works on a software team. While we will look at code samples, it is not necessary to know how to code in a particular language to get benefit from this course. Some examples of roles that would find this course useful include: 

  • Developers/Engineers
  • Managers/Directors
  • Designers
  • Business Analysts
  • Product Owners
  • Project Managers
  • Founders & Executives
  • Testers & QA Engineers
  • Documentation Specialists
  • Operational Support
  • Database Administrators
  • Technical Writers
  • Customer Success Agents
  • Human Resource/Recruiters
Casey Watts holding a copy of his book Debugging Your Brain

"Empathy never made sense to me until I worked with Andrea. Her advice helped me become a better developer and leader."

M. Scott Ford
Co-Founder & CTO, Corgibytes

Agenda

Session 1: Coding with Care

Welcome & Introduction (10:30am-11:00am Eastern)

Module 1: Cultivating Compassion
Discover empathy's ultimate power source — compassion.  

  • Lecture (11:00am-11:30am Eastern)
  • Short Break + Activity (11:30am-12:30pm Eastern)

Lunch + Optional Discussion (12:30pm-1:30pm Eastern)

Module 2: Interpersonal Attunement
Learn techniques for improving your interpersonal relationships.

  • Lecture (1:30pm-2:00pm Eastern)
  • Short Break + Activity (2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern)

Break + Optional Discussion (3:00pm-3:30pm Eastern)

Module 3: Constructive Altruism
Find out how your good intentions can either help or harm others and techniques for managing your social behavior. 

  • Lecture (3:30pm-4:00pm Eastern)
  • Short Break + Activity (4:00pm-5:00pm Eastern)

Retrospective + Wrapup (5:00pm-5:30pm Eastern)

Session 2: Coding with Calm

Welcome & Introduction (10:30am-11:00am Eastern)

Module 4: Heightening Your Awareness
Learn how to pay attention to the internal and external signals that help empathy to take root. 

  • Lecture (11:00am-11:30am Eastern)
  • Short Break + Activity (11:30am-12:30pm Eastern)

Lunch + Optional Discussion (12:30pm-1:30pm Eastern)

Module 5: Regulating Your Empathy Capacity
Empathy requires a lot of energy. Learn ways to guard yourself against burnout and keep your empathy fuel tank full.  

  • Lecture (1:30pm-2:00pm Eastern)
  • Short Break + Activity (2:00pm - 3:00pm Eastern)

Break + Optional Discussion (3:00pm-3:30pm Eastern)

Module 6: Maintaining Healthy Boundaries
Healthy boundaries are inextricably linked to effective empathy. Learn techniques for setting and honoring boundaries that allow empathy to flourish.

  • Lecture (3:30pm-4:00pm Eastern)
  • Short Break + Activity (4:00pm-5:00pm Eastern)

Retrospective + Wrapup (5:00pm-5:30pm Eastern)

Session 3: Empathy In the Code

Welcome & Introduction (10:30am-11:00am Eastern)

Module 7: Developing Accurate Mental Models
Learn how to navigate perspectives in a way that relies less on projection and more on paying attention. 

  • Lecture (11:00am-11:30am Eastern)
  • Short Break + Activity (11:30am-12:30pm Eastern)

Lunch + Optional Discussion (12:30pm-1:30pm Eastern)

Module 8: Managing Cognitive Merge Conflicts
Discover how our brains use shortcuts for survival and how to consciously integrate new information into existing beliefs.

  • Lecture (1:30pm-2:00pm Eastern)
  • Short Break + Activity (2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern)

Break + Optional Discussion (3:00pm-3:30pm Eastern)

Module 9: Embedding Ethics
Explore the complex relationship between empathy and ethics so you can make decisions that are moral, fair, and just. 

  • Lecture (3:30pm-4:00pm Eastern)
  • Short Break + Activity (4:00pm-5:00pm Eastern)

Retrospective + Wrapup (5:00pm-5:30pm Eastern)

Session 4: Coding to Connect

Welcome & Introduction (10:30am-11:00am Eastern)

Module 10: Transmitting Clear Messages
Discover how to construct your communication so that it is more likely to be understood by your intended audience.

  • Lecture (11:00am-11:30am Eastern)
  • Short Break + Activity (11:30am-12:30pm Eastern)

Lunch + Optional Discussion (12:30pm-1:30pm Eastern)

Module 11: Nurturing Your Networks
Empathy doesn't happen in isolation. Learn how to assess your social network and curate connections using empathy. 

  • Lecture (1:30pm-2:00pm Eastern)
  • Short Break + Activity (2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern)

Break + Optional Discussion (3:00pm-3:30pm Eastern)

Module 12: Producing Useful Artifacts
Learn how to embed empathy into your codebases by focusing on leaving artifacts of your ideas for other people to find. 

  • Lecture (3:30pm-4:00pm Eastern)
  • Short Break + Activity (4:00pm-5:00pm Eastern)

Retrospective + Wrapup (5:00pm-5:30pm Eastern)

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Meet Your Instructor,
Andrea Goulet

A sought-after trainer and keynote speaker at conferences around the world, Andrea Goulet has led the use of empathy-driven software development practices for over a decade. She is on a personal mission to train 1 million software practitioners on how they can operationalize empathy effectively in their work. 

Andrea has been featured in prominent industry media, such as The First Round Review where her articles have gone viral. With LinkedIn, Andrea produced two courses and has taught over 50,000 students how skills like empathy can lead to better software teams, products, and codebases.

She is the author of the forthcoming book, Empathy-Driven Software Development, and is a passionate community builder. Andrea has co-founded and led two successful consulting businesses: Corgibytes, which modernizes software systems, and Heartware, which helps tech teams bring empathy and effective communication to their work. She is also the host of the Legacy Code Rocks podcast and founder of the online community Empathy In Tech. 

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