Presentation: Machine Learning: From Theory to Practice

Track: High Velocity Dev Teams

Location: Majestic Complex, 6th fl

Duration: 10:35am - 12:40pm

Day of week: Monday

Level: Beginner

Persona: Architect, CTO/CIO/Leadership, Developer, General Software

What You’ll Learn

  • Find out how focusing on team communication and building trust can improve productivity
  • Hear about a five step model for improving team communication
  • Learn practices that will help you to improve teamwork


Happiness means more than being happy while you are working independently. It also means being happy with your team, your boss, your company. Yet, too often, teams gloss over the importance of team communication, only to find it’s their achilles heel of morale. In fact, effective team communication is the foundation upon which individual happiness is built. This talk takes you through an easy 5 step plan to improve communication on your team, and to create a team that people truly want to be a part of. The best part is that the plan is actionable so you'll be able to take these tactics back to your team immediately.


QCon: Can you tell me about the work that you do today?

Debbie: I'm the CEO and founder of Stride. I am also a cancer survivor, that's really a big part of who I am. I recently dropped the word cancer from that I just call myself a survivor.

Stride is a software development consultancy. Our whole reason for being is to teach the world to stride. To us that means helping tech teams make software development a competitive advantage.

High functioning software teams appreciate and continuously iterate on this idea of building better software to help the entire organization.

QCon: What's the motivation for your talk?

Debbie: I see tech teams struggle, I see teams fail, and then I also see teams succeed. Success is not about having the best idea. It’s the best teams and best execution that win. The best execution comes from trust and teamwork. Early in my career I thought this was all fluff and b.s. The longer I've been here the more I realize that the true secret to succeeding is working with a team of people that actually care about each other, actually trust each other. In my talk I share practices for both enterprise and startup teams that really have made a big difference in team productivity.

This talk is not going to teach you how to refactor or how to test drive your code. It's going to teach you how to get stuff done as a team by making faster more productive decisions outside the code so that you can write better code. If you can really condition your team communication, you will improve productivity.

QCon: What do you want someone who comes to your talk to leave with?

Debbie: My talk takes you through a five step plan for people to take back to their team. You’ll learn how to increase the efficiency of your team These are not six months projects, they are as simple as changing your meeting rhythms, changing roles on a team.

The first and most important step is recognizing whether your team is in a period of calm or chaos. This is a concept that's forty years old. It's based on the Greiner curve. Once you know what phase you are in, you can take the right steps to improve.

Most teams fail because they don't realize that they are in a period of chaos. If you can make it past those periods of chaos that's when you make those big leaps toward success.

QCon: What is the one piece of advice that's a tool, a practice, or a technique that you would recommend?

Debbie: You can pick a technology or practice like TDD or mob programming. But I just don't think that's the most important thing. More important is focusing on the foundation of trust, making sure that you have a team that you can actually trust. And it’s important to understand that trust has 2 parts: Do you trust that your co-workers are capable of doing the job they are hired for? And do you trust that they want to do the job they were hired for?

Speaker: Debbie Madden

CEO & Founder @Stride

Debbie has built 5 companies from the ground up and has been CEO of three of them. As CEO and Founder of Stride, Debbie brings 22 years of tech leadership, and a daily passion for helping businesses improve through software. Due to her reputation as a passionate woman executive in technology, Debbie is a sought after speaker and writer, having appeared in Harvard Business Review, CNBC, Inc Magazine, Fox TV, Huffington Post, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, InfoQ and more.

Find Debbie Madden at

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