How to Increase Team Performance : A Tale of Two Teams

How to Increase Team Performance : A Tale of Two Teams

The June 2022 tech talk was presented by Seemin Suleri

Abstract:

This is a story of two software teams: one in a large blue-chip corporate environment and another in a small company. This is a tale of how people came together to face challenges and show incredible results and achievement. It will also show how we managed to create an environment with our limitations to foster creativity by creating strong foundations. For people who are in established software teams or just about to start their journey, there is a little bit to take away in their own journey to mastery.

About the Presenter 

Seemin Suleri

Seemin is an ambassador of iterative and continuous delivery practices. She has a real passion for Agile and continuous improvement. Currently working as Head of Engineering at 288 Group, she is leading the company’s systems transformation effort to meet the demands of the ever-evolving and competitive digital landscape.

Seemin is a software engineer at heart, with experience in both software development and project management. She is an advocate of enabling a culture that allows autonomous teams to succeed in delivery.

She is a mum of two toddlers, and is passionate about flexibility and inclusion in software teams to allow people from all backgrounds to succeed. She has led a number of initiatives to increase the representation of women in software, and is always interested in the human element in organizational success.

Being a Leader and Coder – A Survival Guide

Being a Leader and Coder – A Survival Guide

The December 2021 tech talk was presented by Dylan Greiner

Abstract:

Being both a technical leader and an active software engineer at the same time raises many challenges. I present the various techniques and approaches I have both learned and gathered from various sources to achieve a balance between technical leadership and software development. I also present the realities of having to carry both responsibilities, how I maintained my sanity, empowered my team, and improved my communication to my team and management.

About the Presenter 

Dylan Greiner is a highly-qualified software developer and architect with more than three decades of experience. He’s worked for startups and world-class software companies and has emerged as a dynamic team leader in the field.

As the lead software engineer at Catchpoint Systems, Dylan leads a team of engineers. He is a hands-on leader who is passionate about mentoring. He has been involved in developing several different applications and was the lead engineer on mass-market After Dark consumer software products, and the lead engineer on high-visibility Kodak/Ofoto software clients. Dylan is a versatile engineer with experience across the spectrum of software engineering techniques and practices; he is also proficient in numerous software systems languages.

Dylan attended the University of Texas, Dallas and Richland College, and has continued his education. A graduate of the Exceptional Engineering Program, Dylan is sharpening his leadership skills. He believes that good design is critical to quality. His favorite professional quote is by Dr. Marvin Minsky, “An expert is someone who doesn’t only know the right way to do a thing, but several wrong ways as well.” He is hyper-focused on benefit to the customer, making sure that their needs remain in focus through project development.

Beyond engineering, Dylan is an outdoorsman who prides himself on being a good father and devoted husband. He is a thoughtful and open-minded man who lives life with a sense of humor and a passion for his family and his work.

The Exceptional Engineer℠: Engineers that Drive Culture Change from Within

The Exceptional Engineer℠: Engineers that Drive Culture Change from Within

The November 2020 tech talk was presented by Alan Willett and Emilia Vanderwerf

Abstract:

Many SEA members have engaged for years in driving culture changes in their organizations. The culture change desired is for teams to deliver exceptional results. The results are focused on great value for the organization and the customers. Teams where management respects the team’s ability to make commitments that they keep. Teams that consistently deliver near-defect-free products and perhaps even defect-free products. Teams that have mastered design and implementation.

This talk explores these unique questions: Can a single individual drive team culture change from within? Can this individual drive culture change in the whole organization? 

In their presentation, Alan Willett and Emilia Vanderwerf will provide a proof of concept, that the answer to this question is a resounding “yes!” Their highly engaging talk will present solutions to the following questions:
 

  • What is the difference between a good engineer and an exceptional engineer?
  • What are the key concepts an exceptional engineer needs to know to be a force multiplier?
  • Why is stepping onto the path of being an exceptional engineer so very difficult?
  • How to make the reward worth the cost of overcoming the challenges?

About the Presenters

Alan Willett is a globe-trotting solo consultant helping organizations improve the speed and power of their engines of development. Alan is the award-winning author of Lead with Speed and Leading the Unleadable.

Alan Willett was the youngest of six kids on a dairy farm in Hunt, NY, which was (and still is) about a 30-minute drive to any stoplight. In Alan’s opinion, a stop sign would be okay in that town. The stoplight is a bit of high-tech overkill. The dairy farm has been in the family for almost 200 years. In Alan’s teenage years, the farm won Dairy Farm of the Year multiple times, while other farms failed. Alan learned how to be lucky by using data, technology, hard work, and logical decision-making. 

After the farm, Alan went to Rochester Institute of Technology. There, he ran track and cross-country. He actually did run across the country with his team. The team was in the Guinness Book of World Records for running a relay from ocean to ocean in record time. While at college, as a side hobby to his athletics, he received a degree in computer science, which later became a Master’s degree.

When Alan started working in the high-tech world of high-pressure product development, he found that most of the projects used data much less than they did on the farm. On his projects, he put into place the use of data and logical decision-making.His travels eventually took him to work at the world-renowned Software Engineering Institute, the think tank of the world on high-tech development work. There, he was able to work with many of the geniuses that have pushed the state of the art. He worked with and was good friends with the late Watts Humphrey, who received the National Medal of Technology from George W. Bush. His most fun there was running some miles with Watts while arguing about quality data.

Alan currently lives in a co-housing cooperative with his wife and family in Ithaca, NY.

Emilia Vanderwerf is a software engineer who has built multiple robots, helped save almost 1000 people from human trafficking using big data analytics, and is currently improving the internet through Digital Experience Monitoring. Her dream is to a play a vital role in continuing to solve today’s global humanitarian problems, especially climate change. 

Emilia lives in Ithaca, NY with her husband and daughters.

7 Essential Elements to Lead With Speed

7 Essential Elements to Lead With Speed

The April 2020 tech talk was presented by Alan Willett

Abstract:

One of the most important questions a leader can ask themselves is: “How do I get my teams, my organization to move faster?”

That is the challenge that all leaders face. This challenge grows more intense every day.  This problem of speed is often disguised by other symptoms, such as “my projects cannot make an accurate prediction of when they will be done” or the stated need of “my teams need to take more risks.” The real need is not reckless risk-taking that will lead to even more problems and finishing even later. The real need is for speed. 

Speed to value.

An organization can only move as quickly as its leaders. 

Alan will provide insights from his new book Lead With Speed along with lessons he has learned since publication.

Innovation, or genius, is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. 

This presentation will show you how to get from idea to glorious delivery faster. In other words, how to sweat faster.

About the Presenter 

Alan Willett is a globe-trotting solo consultant helping organizations improve the speed and power of their engines of development. Alan is the award-winning author of Lead with Speed and Leading the Unleadable.

Alan Willett was the youngest of six kids on a dairy farm in Hunt, NY, which was (and still is) about a 30-minute drive to any stoplight. In Alan’s opinion, a stop sign would be okay in that town. The stoplight is a bit of high-tech overkill. The dairy farm has been in the family for almost 200 years. In Alan’s teenage years, the farm won Dairy Farm of the Year multiple times, while other farms failed. Alan learned how to be lucky by using data, technology, hard work, and logical decision-making.

After the farm, Alan went to Rochester Institute of Technology. There, he ran track and cross-country. He actually did run across the country with his team. The team was in the Guinness Book of World Records for running a relay from ocean to ocean in record time. While at college, as a side hobby to his athletics, he received a degree in computer science, which later became a Master’s degree.

When Alan started working in the high-tech world of high-pressure product development, he found that most of the projects used data much less than they did on the farm. On his projects, he put into place the use of data and logical decision-making.His travels eventually took him to work at the world-renowned Software Engineering Institute, the think tank of the world on high-tech development work. There, he was able to work with many of the geniuses that have pushed the state of the art. He worked with and was good friends with the late Watts Humphrey.

Alan Willett Consulting