Conference Day


Gitte Klitgaard wants to change the world by helping people

Gitte Klitgaard wants to change the world by helping people

PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY - Why do we need it?

Gitte Klitgaard

“By using comfort and growth as partners, growth can become more sustainable and larger. Its a dance between the two.”

Ken Lewis has been making computer systems better for nearly twenty years

Ken Lewis has been making computer systems better for nearly twenty years

But no empathy for your team mates? Are you kidding me?!?

Ken Lewis

The split in 'write software' and 'test software' has echoes in the wider world: work in a caring profession (teaching, medicine, emergency services and even testing software) is less respected and less regarded. But a core reason for care work is the willingness to invest yourself imagining the difficulties of fellow people and to make allowances for them. In writing a computer program, you imagine what the logic of the program will do when executed. To contemporary minds, this is a strange empathy -- but it's no excuse for not working well with fellow team members. I intend to explore this schism and propose ways to build bridges across it.

Gem Hill is a trained Mental Health First Aider

Gem Hill is a trained Mental Health First Aider


Gem Hill (BBC)

How do we create an environment that promotes self care at work? How do we live the principles of looking after your mental health whilst also working? This session will cover the top ten things I've learned while working with both a mental illness and an interest in championing good mental health at work. There will also be a follow up interactive discussion about more specific examples and ideas you can start implementing in your work, whether it be just for yourself, your team, your department, or your whole company.

Simon Prior is passionate about inspiring the next generation of technologists

Simon Prior is passionate about inspiring the next generation of technologists


Simon Prior (Camelot)

The digital world around us is changing and if we don't adapt, we will be left behind. Systems are getting smarter and therefore require the best people to build, test and deploy them. How do we ensure we are attracting the right people and building them up for success?

In this talk, I'll walk through the key areas of focus to ensure we are getting students and young people interested in the roles we need, focussing on the need to build diverse teams who all bring unique value and help improve the systems we are building. Then looking at giving them the tools to grow and identifying some tips to ensure we as leaders can nurture and develop them to build a future world we are all proud of.


A model for decoding your impact

Dan Ashby (Photobox / ex-eBay) & Alasdair (Facebook / ex-eBay)

This session will discuss a model that we (Dan and Alasdair) have created to help their teams focus on vision and making an impact within their careers. The model puts the emphasis on impact, determined by the formula of skills + opportunity + behavior. This goes far beyond the typical "goals and objectives" that companies usually work to. Having put this model into practice within eBay, and having used the model personally to help them discover impact opportunities and capture the impact made in a clear and concise way, we've got real stories and examples to share from both the forward looking "vision" perspective and the backwards looking "successes" perspective when it comes to impact.



Ezechi Britton

With over 15 years of industry experience Ez has been a developer, a fintech founder & CTO and now spends his time as a VC with Impact X Capital and the founder of his latest venture, Code Untapped.

My current focus is diversity in technology & startup founders, why it's important and what we can do to improve it.


An ethical perspective on our technology-driven world

Fiona Charles (Quality Intelligence)

Technological advances have always trampled and rearranged the ground occupied by society. Along with major benefits and social progress, each wave of Industrial Revolution has brought massive social disruptions and individual suffering. Each has posed ethical challenges too, as people adjusted to new realities. Each had its nay-sayers and prophets of societal doom.

In our era, called the Fourth Industrial Revolution by the World Economic Forum, we are in the midst of change so rapid and profound that the ethical questions have fallen far behind the technological answers.

New technology always brings unintended consequences. We need to ask hard questions about the human cost/benefit ratio of the path we are on.



KJ Rower (Crown Prosecution Service)

Experience from the Digital Transformation Team within a UK Government Civil Service department.

Liz Keogh is one of the original developers of JBehave (a precursor to Cucumber)

Liz Keogh is one of the original developers of JBehave (a precursor to Cucumber)


Liz Keogh (Lunivore)

Human beings have an astounding ability to see patterns and apply them in new contexts...but how often do we see patterns that don't truly exist, and what happens when those patterns are misapplied?

In a complex domain it's only in retrospect that we can understand how outcomes emerged, and we don't get much more complex than human systems. In this session, we look at our confirmation biases and how they might be preventing us from creating change, or enabling us to move forward in uncertainty. When we don't know what's going to work, how can we avoid our tendency towards root cause analysis? How can we find out what might work if we tried it? And how can we ensure it's safe to fail?

I'll use some facts about elephants to show what happens when we assume we get it, fixing our beliefs and then our processes in place, and introduce some techniques to help avoid that tendency while enabling us to move forward in uncertainty.


Without losing our community ethics and culture.

Rosie Sherry (Ministry of Testing)

AMA about how Ministry of Testing grew from Reckless Rosie to an amazing global community.



James Lyndsay (Workroom Productions)

James is an independent consultant, specialising in systems testing. He helps organisations to find surprises, to adapt their approaches, and to keep their testers interested – and helps people to make informed and practical decisions about their testing. A regular keynote speaker and teacher at international events, and an active participant in a variety of testing communities, James has written award-winning papers, built the Black Box puzzles, kicked off the TestLab, and run the London Exploratory Workshop in Testing. He received the 2015 European Tester Excellence award.



Nayana Shetty (Financial Times)

Teams in Financial Times Technology are empowered to choose the best technology for the task however this should be done with a long term view on ownership, supportability, security, quality and total cost of ownership - it is not just about the technology. Teams own quality and service levels for products and hence build quality and testing into the software and infrastructure development process at source rather than a separate discipline placed at the end of the software development process.

In this talk, we will go through the initial challenges we faced with moving to a mindset of whole team quality. We will then see how we went on to build a culture of whole team quality including how this helped me move from being a QA lead into a technical lead for a team while still evangelising quality in teams. And lastly, we will go through some examples of what teams do to achieve the quality standards that our products deserve.

David Kavanagh was CTO at Purple Bricks for over 6 years

David Kavanagh was CTO at Purple Bricks for over 6 years


David Kavanagh (ex-CTO Purple Bricks)

In 2019 we are in a situation where software is eating the world in terms of the way that applications have been built, in terms of new uses for new technologies across multiple industries and it's not just “start-up upstarts”. Every company is now a software company, and the fact is that large enterprises like Ford are catching up and are looking to replicate, enhance and change the mentality, particularly for software delivery. This is best described and known as "Digital transformation".

In Purplebricks, we built digital transformation into our DNA. Our processes and our ways of working very early on included a constant loop of engagement, particularly with customers but also with employees.

So back to the secret sauce, I don't believe there is one, but a sauce needs a recipe. 

— parallel track (in the tent)

The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Victoria Morgan-Smith (Financial Times)

John Gottman (clinical psychologist and relationship expert) highlighted 4 behaviours that he deemed to be not just unhealthy, but actually toxic.  The debilitating effect they have on the people they are directed towards has the potential to destroy working relationships. He called these behaviours the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse because of how destructive they could be.

These behaviours most commonly emerge during times of stress or conflict - and we know we can’t simply avoid conflict because after all, ‘smooth seas do not make skillful sailors’, [African proverb]. It’s essential that we learn techniques to help us navigate stress if we’re to achieve effective decision-making, psychological safety and the high-performing teams that will result.

If you’re honest with yourself, do you ever exhibit toxic behaviours? (Hint: we all do!)

In this workshop you will experience and explore the 4 toxins. We will ask:

  • What are they?

  • Where do they come from?

  • What impact do they have?

  • And what are the antidotes?

Attendees will examine these to see which ones they are most prone to exhibit during times of stress, and go away with a deeper understanding of what harm they are doing when they do. Most importantly they will also go away with a set of alternative behaviours / actions for them to take when they experience the conditions that trigger those responses



Laura Regis (Ajira Consulting)

Having worked in technology for many years Laura found Yoga and Meditation helped to balance the stresses of work. Laura is passionate about sharing the benefits of yoga and meditation for mental health, wellbeing and generally as tools that can allow you headspace and time out for the stresses of the day. You may also experience that unexplainable magic that comes with practicing yoga.



Beccy West

Body Control Pilates trained and qualified Mat and Reformer Pilates teacher



Gem Hill (BBC)

Interactive discussion about specific examples and ideas you can use to start implementing mental health first aid practices in your work, whether it be just for yourself, your team, your department, or your whole company.

Katie Mason is passionate about how movement can benefit our health both physically and mentally.

Katie Mason is passionate about how movement can benefit our health both physically and mentally.

Katie Mason

"Exploring how dance and movement can fuel the body and soul to become more physically and mentally balanced.

This session will explore how dance and movement can tap into our self-awareness and self-expression. It will guide you through a sequence of movements that will help us become body aware and spatially aware, feeling like you’ve stretched, raised the heart rate and also mentally balanced. Movement sequences will form the basis of Contemporary Dance with elements of yoga and fitness to help improve our physical and mental well-being.