Session 3

Articulating strategy

Effectively communicating goals and needs to your team

February 15, 18:00 - 20:30 GMT
10am–12.30pm PST / 1–3.30pm EST / 6–8.30pm GMT / 7–9.30pm CET

February 16, 14:00 - 16:30 GMT
7–9.30am PST / 10–12.30am EST / 2–4.30pm GMT / 3–5.30pm CET

See session details

Meet our session contributors

HOST

Anjuan Simmons

Engineering Coach

Help Scout

Co-HOST

Sarah Wells

Technical Director

Financial Times

Tutor

Anna Shipman

Technical Director

Financial Times

Tutor

Bruce Wang

Director Of Engineering, API Systems 

Netflix

Tutor

Randy Shoup

VP of Engineering & Chief Architect

eBay

Meet our session contributors

Session overview

Being a communicator is one of the most crucial aspects of your role. As an engineering leader, you are expected to translate the strategy set by senior leadership to your team. Articulating strategy is vital to ensuring that your team is focused on shared goals and pointing in the right direction. 

 

But articulating your strategy can be difficult, especially when there’s uncertainty raining from above.  In this session, we’ll explore how to effectively communicate strategy to your team to ensure everyone is on the same page.

You'll leave this session with:

Tools to define a strategy at some level within their organisation 

Tools to share information in a sustainable way

Tips for standardising communication and creating comms strategies

Strategies to help you deal with rapid change from above

Talk

The good, the bad, and the tech strategy

A strategy tells you what you are going to do - and what you are NOT going to do - and should tie into your business strategy. Your tech strategy underpins much of the work that your team will do - and for that reason, it’s a critical document. But if we were to ask you now, could you really say what a tech strategy is or how your team contributes to it?

 

In this talk, we’ll outline some of the fundamentals of tech strategies. We’ll demonstrate how every strategy needs diagnosis (what is the problem?), vision (what end-state do you want to get to?) and coherent action (the plans, resource commitments, actions to get you to that desired end state).

Anna Shipman

Technical Director 

Financial Times

Anna Shipman is Technical Director for Customer Products at the Financial Times, leading on the award-winning FT.com website and the FT iPhone and Android apps.

She has been a software developer for over 15 years. Before working at the FT, she was a technical architect and the UK government's Open Source Lead at the Government Digital Service.

She speaks at conferences, blogs on her personal website, tweets, and is always up for a game of pool.

Talk

Writing your technical strategy (psst, it doesn't have to feel like a Squid Game)

Articulating your technical strategy doesn’t have to be a daunting task.  This talk will cover some useful tips to help you navigate communicating your technical strategy, from prepping to iterating, to audiences large or small.  I’ll use the real world example of how I’ve communicated my team’s “API 2023” technical vision at Netflix.

Key takeaways:

Preparation - making sure you understand the problem set, whether its your own team’s charter or a technical direction you want your company to go towards

Write it down - write a draft without thinking about it too much.  Following a template can help you

Communicate - in a ever growing circle of stakeholders and advocates, and adjust based on feedback

Iterate - the document should be an evolving document just like your company.  It’s ok to modify it as you gather more information.  You may need to even pivot the whole thing!

Bruce Wang

Director Of Engineering, API Systems  

Netflix

Bruce has been an engineering leader for 15+ years, and currently an Engineering Director at Netflix, leading API Systems. The team creates a unified abstraction and aggregation layer over disparate Netflix mid-tier systems, enabling device teams to build innovative user experiences through a consistent API layer. On the consumer side they enable signup, content discovery, and partner experiences on 1000+ device types, and on the studio side, they maintain a federated GraphQL service that powers dozens of internal applications that enable Netflix’s global studio functions.

Prior to that, he was the Sr Director of Eng at Shippo, VPE at Packet and CTO, Co-founder or Eng Leader at various startups and enterprises. He is also a serious foodie and resides in San Francisco with his wife and two daughters.

Talk

Boulders, Rocks, and Pebbles – Successfully Executing on a Technology Strategy

Once we have defined and communicated our technology strategy, the hard work begins. We turn a high-level set of ideas into team outcomes and concrete developer actions. We want to keep our eyes on the ultimate goals and make sure that nothing is lost in translation. We also need to ensure that we avoid the siren song of the Big Bang Rewrite and consistently deliver incremental value along the way. 

Based on Shoup’s experience leading high-performing engineering organizations at eBay, Stitch Fix, and Google, this session will outline four critical elements to successfully planning and delivering on a large-scale technology strategy:

Making it Measurable, via outcome metrics that matter to our customers

Making it Concrete, via prioritized sets of work that we continually refine

Making it Happen, via incremental execution and iterative learning

Making it Better, via retrospectives and continuous improvement

You will take away actionable insights that you can use in your own organization.

Randy Shoup

VP of Engineering & Chief Architect  

eBay

Randy has been building distributed systems and high performing teams for 30 years, and has worked as a senior technology leader at eBay, Google, Stitch Fix, and WeWork.

He coaches CTOs, advises companies, and generally makes a nuisance of himself wherever possible. He talks a lot, sometimes at conferences about software.

He recently returned to eBay as VP Engineering and Chief Architect.

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