Monthly Archives: June 2019

Lead Dev London – Review

Those of you who know me will know that I really value conferences. The opportunity to take some time out to learn, develop and grow is so important in order to contribute to our community, to network and to share ideas.

This week I have been privileged to join Lead Dev London at the Barbican Centre. The conference itself has been hugely well organised and I think Meri Williams needs huge kudos for being an excellent host.

On a personal note it is also hugely refreshing to see diversity and inclusion at the heart of an event. June often sees companies and events go all rainbow coloured but so often this is simply a token gesture – Lead Dev have really thought about how to ensure that everyone can participate fully in the event – from rainbow lanyards, to pronoun stickers, to live captioning, to free childcare this event has done a great job and I would encourage other events to follow their example!


So lets take a look at my best bits of the conference! It really has been an amazing two days!


Navigating Team Friction – Lara Hogan 

This was a great opening keynote for the conference. Its so important to understand the phases that teams go through and to find ways to allow the team to progress naturally through the phases of team development. Lara succinctly summarised what to expect during team development and reinforced the idea that the forming, storming, norming and performing cycle really is a cycle. She has also written a book on Resilient Management I haven’t read it yet but its totally on my reading list.

Bottoms Up with OKR’s – Whitney O’Banner

If you have ever used Objectives and Key Results this talk radically challenge the way you’ve written and thought about them. The biggest takeaway from this talk was to stop setting OKR’s for individuals, focus on the teams and rather controversially remove the numbers from the goals – I totally agree that nine times out of ten such numeric goals are Scientific Wild Ass Guesses (SWAG) – and thank you for the new term to quantify what I already knew!

Building Security Culture on Infrastructure Teams – Franklin Hu

Special mention for this talk – its so relevant to conversations I am having at Boots right now around how you ensure security is at the forefront of a developers mind. Its totally impractical for the security team to fully review every piece of Javascript you want to include within your site and finding ways to encourage developer advocates to challenge inclusion of such scripts looking through a security lens is critical. The takeaway from this talk is that we should all consider security to be our individual responsibility!

How long is a piece of string: the key to solving the conundrum of software estimation. – Jonathan Rigby

This is a problem that I have grappled with in every role I have undertaken – Jonathan argued that the true resolution to this problem is all about trust that expectations will be effectively set with stakeholders by team members. We need to trust that developers will give honest estimates that truly reflect the work that they think is involved and trust on the part of the product owner that they will not make hard and fast promises to the business based upon those estimates. Alternatively, if all else fails we could always join the #NoEstimates movement – getting more work done in the time you would have spent producing inaccurate estimations – GREAT CONCEPT!


So many other talks deserved a mention in this post – videos are apparently on their way soon so you can check them out yourself and I’ll post a link when it becomes available! A huge thank you to everyone for a great two days and hope to see you all again next year!

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