Day 1

7th November 2023

Time Main Conference
08:30 Registration Opens
09:30 Welcome to CTO Craft Con

Andy Skipper, Founder and Chief CTO Coach, CTO Craft

09:40 Chair’s Opening Remarks
09:50 Opening Keynote Presentation: Kobayashi Maru Management
  • Complex systems fail unexpectedly and spectacularly
  • In this talk, Lopp discusses how complex systems fail and why we let them fail
  • And then he helpfully doesn’t explain how to fix them… 
  • What he does is explain how you can prevent failure from occurring in the first place!
10:20 Presentation: Are you creating an ‘unconscious culture’?
  • Only 28% of employees strongly agree that there is alignment between their company’s actions and its stated values
  • You have your company culture and values listed on the website, but are you truly living them?
  • How can you figure out the discrepancy between the culture you say/think you have vs the culture you actually have
  • Uncover tips, techniques and initiatives you can take to gain more engagement with your engineers and truly live the culture you say you have
11:00 Coffee & Recharge Break

Speaker meet & greet

11:20 Keynote Panel Discussion: Embracing diversity in tech – Building an inclusive & diverse culture that values differences
  • The time for talk when it comes to DE&I is over – real, practical and tangible action is needed
  • While the need for greater diversity, ensuring inclusivity and its impact on innovation, creativity and the success of your organisation is clear, the practical steps to achieve this can be challenging
  • This session will explore gender, ethnicity, neurodivergence, disability and mental health diversity, equity and inclusion individually and collectively, as diversity does not come in silos
  • Discussing practical steps that tech leaders can take to build a truly diverse workforce and create an open, embracing and inclusive culture that drives engagement and values differences
  • Minimising blind spots from recruitment, to onboarding, to appraisals, to day-to-day work that leaders need to be aware of
  • How to build consistent and ongoing pathways for under-represented peers to continually progress and develop within your organisation
12:10 Presentation: A human engineering approach to culture
  • Culture is human engineering in two ways. First, it’s the human side of running an engineering team, and second, it’s about engineering a return on the investment we put into our humans. It’s necessarily human-centred, and it’s commercial.
  • In this talk, Hywel will present a framework for mapping and influencing the impact of culture investment on 4 levels:
  • First, look at the individual and retention. How can they be supported to grow? What impact does investing in their growth have in terms of retention and contribution toward team goals?
  • Next, consider the team and productivity. How can a culture of learning and growth bring a team together and help them to bond while working remotely? How can a feedback culture help them to challenge and support one another to continually improve?
  • Then, consider the tech organisation and top line metrics. How can a culture of learning help all teams to pull in the same direction? Who benefits from a whole tech organisation capability strategy?
  • And finally, the company and commercial ROI. What outcomes should you expect from learning implemented at the individual, team and organisation level? How does it impact brand reputation and hiring? Is it a genuine route to doing more with less?
12:40 Lightning Talk: Building a culture where quality is everyone’s responsibility
  • Discover how to empower your teams to take responsibility for quality from ideation to delivery.
  • Find out how to measure and improve your quality metrics and make quality a strategic priority.
  • Learn how to build a culture of excellence to deliver high-quality products and services.
14:00 Presentation: Cultivating Growth – Transforming Perkbox’s Engineering Culture
  • In this session, hear how Ankur Sharma turned around the culture at Perkbox by putting predictability, transparency and reliability at the heart of the product and engineering teams
  • With reference to specific examples, Ankur will share how he found the culture at Perkbox on arrival and how, through incremental and strategic steps, he was able to create a fast moving, energetic, impactful and efficient product and engineering function that collaborated effectively with the wider business
  • Exploring the specific practices that led to this turnaround that have since been adopted by other functions within the business
  • Discussing the impact that these changes had on recruitment, onboarding and retention
14:30 Presentation – Enhancing engineering culture & productivity with low-code tools

More information coming soon.

15:00 Lightning Talk: Lessons learned! How to manage culture during tough times, dealing with failure and proactively building resilience for future challenges
  • How can leaders proactively build resilience within their teams so they’re psychologically capable of handling low times, as well as enjoying high times?
  • How do you maintain productivity, morale and buy-in during difficult and uncertain times? How can leaders approach these situations with realism, compassion and positivity in the face of very real challenges? 
  • How do you handle failure as a leader, even as catastrophic as company closures, and how do you help your team members prepare for, manage and eventually process such failures in the aftermath?
15:15 Lightning Talk: Losing people without losing your culture

● The last year has seen more layoffs in the tech sector than most of us have ever experienced
● What could be worse than having to make redundancies? The people that you didn’t lay off leaving as a result of the process
● Learn how to navigate a redundancy process and the steps you can take to reduce the risk of turnover contagion

15:30 Coffee & Recharge Break

Speaker meet & greet

16:00 Fireside Chat: Rules of engagement! How to build, manage & maintain an engaged and motivated tech team
  • In this session, hear how Sophie Davies-Patrick has adapted Daniel Pink’s ‘autonomy, mastery and purpose’ approach from his best-selling book Drive to motivate and engage her tech teams
  • With practical insights and multiple real world examples, Sophie will share how to optimise the balance of autonomy, mastery and purpose and, crucially, how to respond when one, two or all three fall out of line to re-engage, re-motivate and empower your tech team
  • This interactive session will also explore how to exploit the opportunities that come with organisational tail winds, accelerating the three pillars, and how to manage the challenges of organisational head winds that hamper the three pillars
  • The discussion will also touch on the impact of remote and hybrid working on autonomy, mastery and purpose, as well as how to maintain the artificially high levels of engagement and motivation that occur in the first six months of a new hire’s tenure and to identify, manage and remedy any potential drop-off
16:30 Lightning Talk: (Re)Building trust & confidence as a CTO
  • We don’t often talk about confidence as a leader.  We assume that you’re a leader because you have it and because you have it, you’re a leader.
  • But leading can be a lonely role and the truth is that losing confidence is part of the journey
  • But what happens next?  How do you recover when you’ve lost the confidence and trust of your peers and your team?
  • This talk is my journey of what I learned from burn out and losing my confidence and the breaking down of trust. What tools did I learn and how could you use them?
  • I intend to create a practical guide for CTOs to build (or rebuild) confidence and engender trust from your executive peers and your team
16:45 Panel Discussion: Creating an environment of empowerment, psychological safety & trust to inspire commitment, motivation & high performance
  • Creating a compelling vision and purpose that resonates with your technology and engineering teams and builds emotional commitment to the organisation and mission
  • How to create a safe environment where reports feel empowered to do their best work, to overcome a fear of failure and to be bold to innovate and experiment
  • Taking a supportive, open and consultative approach to technology leadership, while retaining the ability to have candid and, at times, difficult conversations
  • How to balance the desire to have an open and transparent culture, whilst retaining the necessity of being a filter/buffer between senior leadership and your team, to protect their psychological load and enabling them to focus on their own priorities and circle of control
  • Identifying factors unique to the tech space that contribute to employee disengagement and addressing them proactively
  • Driving cross-organisation collaboration and communication and ensuring that tech and engineering teams do not act in silos but in harmony with product, data and other key functions
  • Improving Developer Experience (DevEx) to boost engagement – break down barriers and streamline work processes for enhanced engagement
17:30 Chair’s Closing Remarks
17:35 Campus Launch Party!

To celebrate the launch of Campus we will be throwing a party at the end of the first day of CTO Craft Con and all CTO Craft Con attendees are invited!

Campus will take over the entire Wapping Tavern, just minutes from the Tobacco Dock. There will be drinks of all kinds, pizza, and a whole lot of fun, including a dedicated games room featuring all your arcade favourites.

Day 2

8th November 2023

Time Main Conference
09:00 Registration Opens
09:20 Chair’s Opening Remarks
09:40 Opening Keynote Presentation: Following your guiding compass – Aligning with organisational values to find purpose
  • How to find alignment between your organisational values, your values as a leader and instilling these in your teams to provide them with a sense of purpose and ensure their work feels impactful at every turn
  • How can CTOs and other tech leaders bring organisational values to life and ensure they underpin the day-to-day actions of the business?
  • Mean what you say – embedding values in decision-making
  • Approaches to integrating values into your hiring and onboarding processes, as well as performance reviews and as criteria for progression
  • The art of communicating values effectively both internally and externally
  • Standing out from the crowd – using your values to differentiate your organisation from other companies to attract the best developers to your cause
  • Evolving company, evolving values – ensuring that your values adapt and change as your company does, and that they do not weapons against innovation and DE&I
10:10 Presentation: Dynamic reteaming at fast-changing companies – The art & wisdom of changing teams
  • Organisational and team changes are inevitable and will happen at various stages of a company’s growth
  • Discover the five team change patterns to build resilient organisations as they grow in size and learn strategies on how to better deal with change in your organisation
  • In this session, Heidi shares real stories of how successful software companies have navigated and thrived through team change over the years
  • Learn about what works well and why with practices you can take away for effective reteaming (as well as antipatterns to be mindful of)
10:40 Presentation: Culture at scale – How to maintain, refine & improve tech team culture throughout hypergrowth
  • In this session, hear how Giorgos Ampavis has successfully led the scaling of the tech team culture at Tide from startup to one of the fastest-growing FinTech disruptors in the UK, going from 25 employees to almost 1,500 between 2017 to the present day
  • With real world examples, Giorgos will share how how he and Tide have retained positive elements of their original culture, changed some, introduced new aspects and removed others as they went through a journey of hypergrowth
  • Exploring the importance of strong and consistent values that align the tech team with the wider business, and play a critical role in all hiring decisions and help to retain the all-important ‘startup culture’
  • Discussing how culture = behaviours and how, as a servant leader, you can drive positive behaviours by making people feel safe, trusted and empowered to do their best work
  • How to practically help people grow as individuals – whether financially or in terms of experiences, impact and responsibilities – as part of a rapidly growing company
11:00 Coffee & Recharge Break

Speaker meet & greet

11:40 Panel Discussion: How to create scalable hiring processes to identify the right people at the right time for your organisation & to protect your team performance & culture
  • Recruitment is full of risks – the wrong person with the wrong skills or wrong cultural fit can have a disastrous impact on the established status quo
  • Exploring how to implement and scale effective hiring processes to ensure you make the right picks for your key roles
  • How to effectively test technical and non-technical skills during the interview process to ensure overall fit
  • Balancing short and long-term requirements – is there a time and space for interim solutions while maintaining a longer term vision? How can you plan ahead to avoid time pressures and provide you with the time and space required to identify, interview and secure the best candidates?
  • Considering the nuances in hiring for on-site, hybrid and remote roles, and how to hire across different geographical regions with different hiring practices
  • Discussing potential pitfalls in your hiring process that encourage biases and undermine DE&I efforts
12:15 Presentation – Building a collaborative culture in an asynchronous environment
  • How to ensure your values are living and breathing from recruitment through to onboarding and beyond
  • Underpinning all internal decisions and behaviours with guiding values and principles
  • Lessons learned from 13 years of remote work – ensuring a collaborative, inclusive and high-performing team culture
  • Pursuing the holy grail – how to build an asynchronous, low-meeting culture that truly works?
12:55 Lightning Talk: Forget about stats & metrics – talk with your team!
13:00 Lunch

Speaker meet & greet

13:15 Lunch

Speaker meet & greet

14:15 Panel Discussion: Building your management roster – Training the next generation of leaders
  • Promoting talented individual contributors (ICs) when they’re not ready – or worse, not cut out for leadership entirely – is a potential pitfall faced by even the most high-performing tech and engineering team. The wrong person, at the wrong time, can have a disastrous impact on morale, engagement and, crucially, execution
  • This session will explore how to identify potential leaders of the future and ready them for the transition in advance of their promotion, thus mitigating potential problems further down the line
  • Discussing practical examples of how to coach and guide new managers through the troublesome early days of management and ensuring they – and their new direct reports – are set up for success
  • Creating psychological safety for new leaders to make mistakes but retaining the visibility and control needed to help rectify, coach and prevent them recurring in the future. 
  • How to create appealing and effective IC roadmaps to prevent ‘management to progress’ as a default position and to play your team members to their strengths
  • Is there an argument that growing businesses rely too heavily on internal promotions, resulting in homogenous management teams, without the benefit of disruptive and alternative thoughts and approaches from outside hires with varied experiences?
  • Discussing the flipside of this challenge – how to effectively onboard new leaders and ensure they have the experience and skill set of ICs within your business to build credibility between them and their teams
15:00 Lightning Talk: Beyond the binary – Empowering women in the tech universe
  • This session will go beyond statistics and empower the audience with actionable strategies and insights to actively contribute to reducing the gender gap in the tech industry, and support and promote women in tech
  • Women are less likely to apply for a job if they don’t tick every box on the job description, whereas men will apply even if they only meet half of the criteria – how can this be addressed?
  • Women are still the primary caregivers and benefit most from flexible and remote working. However, fully flexible cultures allow everyone to flex and experience benefits, rather than women having to ask for special ‘flexible working’ arrangements – how can you build this into your culture?
  • Having visibility of women role models in senior roles is critical. As leaders in the tech industry, we should be shining a spotlight on these people and creating pathways for more to follow in their footsteps
  • How can you ensure you and your organisation are using more gender inclusive language? I.e people say ‘female engineer’ but would never say ‘male engineer’
15:30 Coffee & Recharge Break

Speaker meet & greet

15:45 Presentation: Building a solid foundation for scalable structures, processes and values
  • Drawing on his extensive experience of running engineering groups at unicorns like Twilio and, as well as a range of successful startups, Serge will share his lessons learned on how to best architect your tech and engineering function, and how he is looking to implement these lessons at carbon intelligence startup, Sylvera
  • Going beyond ‘best practices’, Serge will share his approach to moving from surviving to thriving as a startup and establishing critical foundations to enable future scalable growth
  • Also exploring how scaleups and larger organisations in the midst of growth can use this approach to identify potential scale issues ahead of time and how to get back on a positive trajectory after hitting roadblocks
  • Discussing the benefits of a ‘build and own’ approach to minimise friction, increase efficiency and develop trust, and the power of creating a data-driven, transparent and accountable engineering culture from Day 1
  • While there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all roadmap, and the final vision may differ from organisation-to-organisation, Serge will share the key jigsaw pieces you should consider implementing, realigning or re-implementing to develop a harmonious and high performing tech and engineering function
16:15 Lightning Talk: Growth mindset – Applying lessons from the classroom to tech companies
  • Individuals react wildly differently to stresses in their environment, but groups of people tend to show similar overall buckets of behaviour: we’re all essentially human
  • The Growth Mindset is an extremely effective tool for resolving major personal, professional, and psychological issues in any environment, and has been heavily adopted in UK schools over the past decade.
  • We take lessons learnt at fast pace in the classroom (30 new personalities an hour, every hour, all bringing their own problems into the room) and identify applications of those to commercial work environments.
  • Examples will focus on practical applications, and personal experiences of applying these lessons, contrasting successes and failures.
16:30 Lightning Talk: What they don’t tell you about engineering leadership
16:45 Presentation: Building a remote culture – How to unify dispersed tech & engineering teams
  • How to build effective communication channels and rules in dispersed teams to avoid intellectual and emotional isolation
  • Exploring the importance of going ‘beyond work’ and ensuring deeper connections between team members in-office, remote or hybrid
  • Minimising cultural misunderstandings or misalignments between geographically diverse teams
  • Discussing the opportunities and challenges of remote hiring in the post-pandemic world
  • Winning investment for improved remote communication channels and in-person collaboration opportunities
17:30 Chair’s Closing Remarks

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