The Build IT Right meet the speaker series caught up with Amanda Colpoys. Ahead of her talk, we spoke to Amanda about her own experiences and what the future holds…
What is your current role?
I work as a freelance Business Agility Coach & Consultant. I support SMEs and scale-ups to adopt lean and agile working practice, both within technology and across the broader organisation.
I believe that the most successful organisations are those that recognise thattechnology is a strategic capability, not a service delivery capability. Integrating technology and business functions aligned around common objectives supports the speed and innovation that is critical to success in today’s competitive environment.
What does Building IT Right mean to you?
Quality is about “when” not “if”. Speed and flexibility are critical in industry today; successful organisations are able to meet their customer needs faster than their competitors. Within technology, quality is critical to speed. Investing in quality technology reduces your cost of change and allows you to react quickly.
However, today’s competitive environment also requires businesses to experiment - to explore different solutions with their customers before investing in long term initiatives. Experimenting at high tempo necessitates a pragmatic approach to quality - there is little point investing in automated testing, logging or monitoring on a piece of code that may only live for a matter of weeks. Good developers always invest in quality. Great developersunderstand their customer needs and the commercial context; they know when to make trade-offs and when not to compromise.
Why should Build IT Right visitors attend your talk?
I’m going to talk about “Building the right IT” (working title!). Despite the Lean Start-Up movement, we still work in a very output, solution-focused world. Ultimately we write software to create impact, to create value. We don’t write code for the sake of code. So long before we think about any solution, we need to think hard about the problem we’re solving.
I’m going to talk about how the software development community can help drive an outcome focus, how developers can engage with conversations about customer problems and help drive better, simpler solutions. And ultimately this approach leads to better quality software. As someone very wise once said, “the best code you write is the code you don’t write”. By being clearly focused on the problem usually results in much less complex solutions - and much less unnecessary code to maintain!
What innovations in the industry impress you the most?
Naturally I’m a bit biased, so I’m most excited about the level of innovation in how we work. The way organisations operate is changing from a 20th century “carrot and stick” approach to a much more employee-centric world view. More and more organisations recognise the power of intrinsic motivation and are seeking to create great working environments - empowering people and enabling them to do great work. This is great news for all of us - more rewarding work, better work life balance and greater productivity.
What do you think will be the next big thing in software?
From a technology perspective the trend in machine learning and AI will clearly continue to grow. I’m curious to see whether the T-shaped developer of the future means we start to blur the lines between software engineers and data scientists. I’m sure we’ll also be hearing a lot more about blockchain and will see more innovation in that space.
From a people perspective I hope we’re going to see more and more organisations recognise the potential of their software engineers - not merelyas people that deliver solutions but as a creative power house that are brilliant at solving problems. Too many businesses chronically under use their software developers and in doing so they limit their power to innovate and drive growth. And this is definitely something I’ll be covering in my talk!