Joining the event were tech leaders from multiple industries to share valuable understandings into the common problems in the industry today and ignite conversation. Topics included an insight into machine learning, balancing the backlog and all things new for business and market opportunities in 2021.
Mike Turner, Co-Founder of Feel Good Grapes, hosted the event’s wine tasting experience throughout the evening; wine parcels were sent to all attendees ahead of the sessions. Feel Good Grapes pledge to plant a tree for every bottle of wine they sell to offset the carbon footprint of each individual bottle, which is great to be part of such an important initiative. Mike kickstarted the event with the first wine tasting session of the evening. The sessions were the perfect ice breakers, giving attendees the opportunity to sample some wine, and a fantastic way to get attendees talking with each other.
Topic breakout rooms
Following the wine tasting, attendees were placed into breakout rooms where two separate discussions took place. Running an event over Zoom can, of course, have its challenges in keeping communication flowing virtually from a screen. However, the breakout rooms provided an interactive element as attendees were ‘taken’ to a session of their choice in smaller groups, giving the opportunity to engage more.
In the first breakout room, Godel’s VP Sales, David Harrison, and VP Professional Services, Anastassia Davidzenka held a free-flowing conversation about how tech teams go about prioritising a large backlog of work when things change so rapidly. David started the talk with an introduction, explaining how it’s become an interesting topic as a result of the pandemic, and opened the conversation to attendees by asking «how are people finding pressure since the pandemic?»
Companies that have grown over the last 12 months may have employees that haven’t met face to face, making communication a challenge. Knowing what other teams are doing helps with backlog and prioritisation, so this is where data-driven decisions can be used to relieve this. It was discussed that it’s about quality versus speed and finding the balance between innovation and customer feedback. It was agreed you can end up with a large amount of data, but it needs to be decided what’s meaningful and what can be actioned from the data gathered. When asked about planning for «horizon change», it was concluded that focusing on short-term goals and being agile was best when it came to market change.
The second talk was hosted by Technical Presales Consultant, Jorge Garcia de Bustos and was centred around machine learning. Jorge highlighted that the talk’s purpose wasn’t about «technical secrets» of machine learning, but more about the indications of why machine learning fails in the real world, and how to avoid those failures and mistakes that have been done countless times before.
These are mistakes that are shared by the data science community. Identifying them allows those in the business to know what to do different next time and gives a better chance of a project making it to production. The talk gave a valuable understanding of the topic and allowed attendees to share their thoughts with the group. Talking to Robert Heffernan, Product Delivery Director at Tandem Bank, he said: «I felt the breakout session was very informative and was impressed by the calibre of attendees.»
Wine flies when you’re having fun
After the final wine tasting session of the evening, the last topic of the event was an open discussion about what’s new in businesses in 2021 and market changes. It was established by most that due to the pandemic, changes to the business structure have changed. The discussions covered themes around a hybrid model of working, with several agreeing this was the way forward for their business. Whereas creating a work-life balance, whilst maintaining communication and building high preforming teams remains key. Introducing core days of coming into the office, or the decision to go fully remote were debated and how this can continue long-term when it comes to new starters adapting to the businesses model.
From a business point of view, recruiting for remote roles is exciting as it’s opened up more opportunities to hire the best people from any location. Subsequent to that, more businesses are outsourcing their software development or moving to «tech hub» cities like Manchester as salaries are increasing, creating the Northern powerhouse. Discussions about what has been a priority over the past year centred around mental health and wellbeing. Strategies like morning meetups to share what work is being done in the group and open chats, but not necessarily work related. An understanding of work-life balance and how to measure productivity are now key moving forward.
The evening was hugely insightful and the conversation (and wine) flowed throughout the evening. Reflecting on the event, John Oliver, CPO at Purple said, «The attendees were well selected and the host was experienced and knowledgeable. It was a great evening and I’d definitely look forward to doing it again.»
If you are interested in finding out about upcoming events at Godel, then please get in touch.