YOW! CTO Summit 2018 Brisbane

Monday, 26th November in Brisbane

13 experts spoke.

YOW! CTO Summit is about open dialogue and sharing successes and challenges with peers. The one day conference is packed with insightful talks containing the latest tricks, hacks and shortcuts that companies use to successfully build and run engineering teams.

Whether you're a team lead, engineering manager, VPE or CTO, you need to be at this full day, single track summit. Get the help you need from people who've been there and done that: your peers in the engineering management space. You can learn how to hire smarter, refine your culture, improve your processes, manage more effectively and adopt better engineering practices or architectures.

Only engineering leaders may attend - though we are not hung up on titles; CEO or VP Products etc are welcome. No recruiters, non-technical co-founders or other business stakeholders will be allowed - we strictly enforce this policy. Limited attendance means that it's easier to facilitate open dialog with peers and speakers.

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Building distributed engineering teams

Distribution is hard. Building engineering teams is hard. And building distributed engineering teams presents unique challenges, especially under hyper growth.

Cash App is one of the fastest growing financial products in the US & UK. We have tens of millions of users & move hundreds of millions of dollars a day. We have product engineering teams in several cities in the US, Canada, Sweden and Australia. Our product velocity & commercial growth is constrained by the number of engineers on our teams, and utilising a distributed team is one way to sustain this growth.

In this talk, we’ll speak about the challenges growing a small engineering team in a single location into a large team spread across many locations & multiple timezones. We’ll outline some of the things we’ve learnt, and present some rules of thumb that we use when making decisions about distributed teams.

Tom Adams

Product Engineering Lead

Technology Innovation & Evolution

TechnologyOne is one of Australia's IT success stories. From a one person startup in 1987 to a billion dollar company with 1200 staff that is listed in the ASX200, TechnologyOne delivers cutting edge Enterprise Solutions to thousands of customers around the world.

Peter Beahan has been a leader at TechnologyOne since 1991 when there were less than 20 staff and currently holds the position of Enterprise Architect for Engineering Standards. Peter will share what he has learnt from his experiences “behind the scenes” and how he has helped lead, design and develop the technology underpinning the TechnologyOne product range. Peter will also share his thoughts on successful innovation after almost 30 years in technology industry.

Peter Beahan

Enterprise Architect - Engineering Standards

Experiences from an Enterprise Startup

Many companies struggle to truly innovate after they become larger and more established. Typically they develop risk averse environments that hinder the very entrepreneurial thinking and action required for radical change. One strategy to address this is for the enterprise to found a separate startup business.

A large Australian retailer pursued this strategy. As an original member of that startup I will describe our experiences with the inherent cultural and technological differences between the two businesses. An enterprise startup can provide the benefits of business agility, moving faster and exploring different directions. However the benefits come with many challenges so I will conclude with major lessons learnt.

Brad Clow

IT Manager
The School Locker

Tackling Burnout in the IT Industry

Operational pressures, constant technology change and after-hours work can all build up and burn us out. Hear Sonia's personal story and learn tips for identifying & coping with burnout, in both yourself and your colleagues.

Sonia Cuff

Cloud Advocate

Mentoring - a two way street

“That’s not good enough”

That was Larene’s response to when Damian told her “you’re doing a great job, keep doing what you’re doing”.

This talk is about the journey of a grizzled industry veteran and a young ambitious engineer thrown together in a small startup environment.

Forced to establish fast feedback cycle, not just iterating on the product we were developing, but also how we worked on it together. We were both pushed out of our comfort zones to create a productive collaboration.

We’ve distilled some of our lessons from this process into a handful of tools you can apply straight away, whether you’re seeking mentoring, or are in a tech leadership/manager position.

We’ll share how we give and receive feedback, how mentors can grow the technical skills of more junior people, how men can mentor women more effectively, and how even the most hardened “seen it all” of us can grow individually.

Larene Le Gassick

Inclusion Engineer

Ask for the unreasonable… and then get out of the way

As a senior technical leader, it’s often viewed as a temping trap to get down into nitty-gritty details of software engineering or product development. As a CTO, Head of Engineering or equivalent, we’re supposed to play at the strategic level and leave the details to our engineering leads, aren’t we?

Well… yes. And no. Sometimes, creating a strategy and leaving it for our teams to figure out ignores the fact that our organisation constrains our teams in ways that we don’t expect. Sometimes it’s actually necessary to venture down into the weeds and see what the teams are doing - and what we’re doing that actively harms their efforts despite our intentions to the contrary.

In this talk we’ll look at some ways to map strategy to execution by setting “unreasonable” goals - and then working out how to get organisational constraints - and ourselves - out of the way.

Andrew Harcourt

Principal Consultant and Market Tech Principal

Overcoming bias for better team performance

By now most of us have heard of unconscious bias, the hidden assumptions and associations that hinder our best intentions when it comes to inclusion and diversity. But how do we even begin to manage mental processes which by their very definition, are outside of our awareness?

Beth Incognito


Solving the problem of more work than time and money

January 2017 I became the Chief Technology Officer of an online media and travel company and was immediately confronted by an impossible situation. The product team was being bombarded with initiatives to deliver, all of which needed to be delivered immediately. A team ten times the size could not have done it. The required set of initiatives changed on a weekly basis, compounding the problem. Before I started the product team had been doing their best to meet the demands of the organisation, thus they had accumulated a portfolio of poorly thought out, half-executed solutions.

This presentation is about how I helped the company to create a strategy, map the strategy to execution, and release three successful products in two years. It includes topics such as: how we managed our technical debt, how we rebuilt the product team, how to work with a CEO to define a product strategy and prioritize initiatives and how to manage a product delivery team to focus on creating value over being busy.

Liam McLennan

Principal Consultant

From Brisbane to the World - How to Scale everything (not just technology) to take on the world

Revelian has dominated the Australian market in its chosen field of data-driven human behaviour insights however the task of taking our small software as a service company to the world has been a challenge. In this session Lea will share how Revelian transformed much of the the business to land 3 of the top companies in the world as clients.

We will cover the obvious aspects of transforming the technology utilizing technologies like serverless but also tell a story on how the entire business needed to transform to support global clients. We also cover how the culture of Revelian needed to transform and how the technology team influenced that direction.

Attendees will also learn how a forming a coherent strategy will help achieve the goal of going global. Lea will present example of strategy documents and how they can be used to translate the vision to the rest of the business.

The session will wrap up with the top 10 lessons we have learnt from going from a small operation next to Bunnings in Stafford to a global force in human resource software as a service.

Lea Medhurst


Keynote: What You Need to be a CTO

CTO Keynote Talk:

This talk covers the varied aspects of being a CTO in both large enterprises and small start ups. The skills you need, your technical drivers, the political landscape, technology and architecture strategy, and 101 other things you didn't know were required in the role. If you want to one day be a CTO then this is the talk you should not miss.

Simon Raik-Allen

Founder & CEO
The Big Crunch

From Tech Lead to Motherhood : One woman’s journey from changing systems to changing nappies - and back again

Our industry undeniably suffers from a lack of gender balance amongst hands-on technologists. Even fewer of those technologists are mothers. Sadly, many women believe that you can’t remain technical once you become a mother. But there are small changes that we as leaders can make to support our team members as they transition back into the workforce.

In this talk, Sarah will share with you her experience, including the challenges she faced, of returning to a senior technical role after starting a family. You will hear the changes she made within her company to make it easier for others to see how to return and stay technical, and the benefits to her company of having her and others like her able to return to work.

Sarah hopes her experience will provide some inspiration and practical advice to share with your software engineers and tech leads who are contemplating motherhood, and for leaders who are committed to supporting diversity in their workplace.

Sarah Taraporewalla

Sarah Taraporewalla is a Senior Consultant working for ThoughtWorks, where she specializes in developing robust software for the future, delivered today. She has acted as developer, software architect, technical lead and agile coach at many project

Keynote: The Many Hats of a CTO

Coming Soon...

Dave Thomas

Dave is a freelance F# engineer and a Microsoft MVP, formerly with Xamarin.

How to create and develop high performing Data Science teams

Harvard Business Review calls Data Science "the sexiest job of the 21st century". In terms of recruiting and building data science teams, it is definitely a candidates market. For those who are building and embedding Data Science teams into their organisations , how do they ensure the right skill mix and culture, as well as having a team that is a clear value-add to the organisation.

I will speak from experience of having been a senior Data Science and Analytics leader for over 10 years, and providing insight into what works well and what doesn't - giving real world examples of strong Data Science teams in action

Virginia Wheway

Manager, Data Science and Analytics Innovation and Technology
Thiess Pty Ltd

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