2
Aug

What We’re Looking for at The Lead Developer Conference

We’re delighted that you’re thinking of submitting a proposal to The Lead Developer Call for Papers, whether it be for New York (February 2017) or London (June 2017).

Why you?

Everyone has something to share – and we’d love The Lead Developer to be the conference where you choose to share it. We are keen and committed to getting submissions from as broad, diverse and representative a range of potential speakers as we possibly can.

We have a strong Code of Conduct that we emphasise and are committed to, and our conference staff and volunteers are ready and trained to respond to any issues. Speaker travel and accommodation is funded, and we will book things and pay for them upfront to save you having to submit expenses afterwards if you prefer. We also offer an honorarium to thank you for your time. The night before the conference, we host a low-key speaker dinner so you can meet your fellow speakers and get to know the chair and organisers too. Post-conference, you’ll receive professional photos of yourself onstage, and we make videos of all the talks available for free online following the conference, with speakers of course retaining copyright.

Who would you be speaking to?

Our audience consists of tech leads, lead developers, and engineering managers, as well as CTOs and VP Engineering folk. They are consistently technical (across a very broad range of technologies and industries) and at minimum coaching and leading, with many also line managing people in their organisations. Some folks also attend when they have just been promoted, or when they are trying to figure out what skills they need to develop in order to progress into a tech lead role.

We also welcome product owners, scrum masters, agile coaches, designers, content designers and anyone else involved in delivering technical or digital products who is interested in our programme of speakers to attend, but our primary focus is content that is useful to technical leaders.

What are we looking for?

Our three main themes for The Lead Developer are Team, Tech & Tools.

We have two types of talk slot – a ten minute lightning talk, and a 30 minute full length talk. If you’re able to flex your talk to fit either slot, please tell us!

We tend to have a lot more submissions for full length talks, and so if you can do a great 10 minute talk you might have a better chance of being selected.

Some examples of topics around Team that interest us include:

  • Anything related to leadership
  • People management techniques
  • Creating inclusive environments
  • Attracting, recruiting and retaining great (diverse) talent
  • Team dynamics
  • Helping teams be most effective
  • Communication – interpersonal, interteam, interorg/dept/company
  • Helping people develop at all levels (including junior devs/interns/graduates, career paths, personal development for developers)
  • Creating and maintaining great cultures
  • Challenging issues (such as burnout, mental health and imposter syndrome)

The kinds of talks that work well for Tech include:

  • Overviews of new languages, frameworks and technologies
  • Trends and changes in the way things are being built and operated
  • Case studies or approaches for dealing with common problems, for example rapid scaling

Bear in mind that though our audience is typically technical, folks come from all different kinds of organisations and specialisations – so an overview of new approaches for building mobile apps might be appropriate, but a deep dive into Swift likely isn’t going to be super accessible for everyone in the audience.

For the Tools theme, we mean tools as well as process and ways of working, including:

  • Agile and other modes of delivery
  • Tech and tools you use to help your team be most productive / effective
  • Processes: for doing support brilliantly, or how you keep on top of your backlog of bugs, or how out of hours call outs are handled by your team, for instance
  • Ways of keeping current
  • Approaches to personal development for tech leads themselves

What if your talk idea doesn’t fit exactly?

If you have a proposal or idea for a talk that doesn’t fit exactly into these themes, or works across more than one, please do submit it! We keep a slot or two available for “wildcards” – something that doesn’t necessarily exactly fit the description of the themes above, but we nevertheless feel would be interesting, inspiring or entertaining for our attendees. There is absolutely no harm in submitting something that might be a little left field – we will consider it alongside all the other submissions.

Send us your submission!

5
Jun

Brilliant People Management in an Agile Setting at agile.delivery

Thank you for welcoming me to speak at agile.delivery and for all the positive feedback, especially after the plethora of AV issues. Slides are shared here, as well as the promised links to the various books mentioned.

Books & Tools Mentioned in This Talk

If you’re new to coaching, you might also enjoy the talk I did on stealing coaching lessons from sports at Dare Conf Mini a couple of years back: video and slides.

6
Apr

Practical Diversity – Personalvetardagarna

I enjoyed keynoting at Personalvetardagarna this morning in Stockholm. Thanks for inviting me and for the enthusiastic & positive response. Here are the slides and links to the various books etc mentioned.

Books & Tools Mentioned in This Talk

If you’d like to share this talk with others, the Agile People Sweden team kindly published the video of me keynoting on Practical Diversity at their conference last October.

21
Oct

Creating Space for EVERYONE to be Awesome – Agile People Sweden

Thank you Agile People Sweden for embracing this emotive and difficult subject — you were an amazing group to discuss this with. Slides and the various books & links are presented here.

Thanks to the Agile People Sweden folks for posting a full length video of the talk as well: Closing Keynote: Creating Space to Be Awesome.

Books & Tools Mentioned in This Talk

3
Oct

PHPNW2015 Keynote: Stealing People Lessons from Artificial Intelligence

Thanks for the warm and lively welcome PHPNW 2015. Thoroughly enjoyed kicking off with the opening keynote. Slides & links to the books mentioned below.

Books & Tools Mentioned in This Talk

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31
May

TDD for Speaking

One of the things I love about test driven development is that you define what something should do, what purpose it should have, before you implement it. So before you write any feature code, you’ve understood what needs to be achieved by a user. This is often a better way of exploring user needs, and the potential grey areas in particular, than detailed written requirements might be.

A couple of years back I took to using this same approach for writing talks. Rather than starting with what I had to say, I started with what questions the audience might have. What do they want to learn? Who will be at this particular conference? What will they likely know? What knowledge, experiences & skills do I have that would best add to what they already know and can do?

This approach has paid off in a multitude of ways. Rather than trying to shoehorn an existing talk into a conference proposal, I think more about what the attendees will want to learn. I genuinely think I deliver better talks as a result. And often big chunks of existing talks I’ve done fit in with that new set of needs; so I think more of the chunks of narrative, tools & info than in terms of whole talks.

It also has the advantage that I can write the proposal long before I ever write the talk. Usually when I submit to a conference, or am discussing with an organiser who’s approached me, I end up with a good summary of what the talk will be and what people will take away at the end. The written description serves as my own test that I refer back to: am I achieving what this description promises? Does this talk answer those questions? Will people walk away with the understanding we committed they would?

And lastly, it’s pushed me to tailor talks much more to the specific conferences and associated audiences. To be braver in proposing talks that will be more useful (but may be less comfortable for me personally).

In short: thinking of conference proposals & talk descriptions like we do tests in TDD helps a speaker focus on what the audience needs to learn, rather than just what one has to say.

This post was inspired by those fine folk who run the Technically Speaking newsletter, which I’d heartily recommend you subscribe to.

19
Mar

My Monolith is Melting talk from PIPELINE CONF 2015

Thanks for the enthusiastic reception at PIPELINE CONF today. Here are my slides from my talk:

Books Mentioned in this Talk

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29
Jan

Stealing PM Lessons from Artificial Intelligence – DPM UK

Thanks for the great reception at DPM UK today; and for all the folks who braved the snow!

Books Mentioned in This Talk

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