Florian Gamper on working agile: “There is no finishing point”

In February, Florian Gamper, a freelance CTO and agile evangelist and coach will be speaking at Leaders in Tech | Berlin. The talk is titled “Working Agile – not dead, but badly misunderstood!” and grows out of Florian’s experience, first as a coder and in game development, and then working in business software and helping companies with digital transformation. Based on his experience in consulting and serving as a freelance CTO in many different companies, building new ventures and helping existing companies optimise their processes, he brings a wealth of experience on how agile works (and doesn’t work) in different contexts and environments. In his talk, he’ll share some of the recurring pitfalls and issues he’s encountered in transforming and supporting agile teams.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Where did the idea for your talk come from?
In agility, there’s a huge educational problem. People buy a product and then they think they’re agile. Agility is a mindset, and you cannot buy a mindset. You have to experience stuff. Every good agile project is different. People try to adapt it to environments that are different and wonder why it’s not working. It’s a bit like you buy an electric car and you wonder why in the desert you’re not going anywhere because there’s no infrastructure for it. 
What’s a common misconception or mis-implementation?
For example, there are scrum masters who say, “If you’re not doing scrum by the book, it’s not worth it.” Look at what scrum does as one of the agile frameworks: scrum at the end has a meeting that’s called the “retro” [retrospective]. The idea of a retro is to find out what in your current process is not working for you and to change it. How can I do a job by the book, if the last meeting is to change it? It’s not possible! You need someone who asks:

What can we do differently?
How can we change it so that the idea of what we should do is preserved and done?
If I’m not doing it, what am I trading away?

You have to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. You have to re-evaluate the process over and over. You will never be ready with getting agile, never. There is no finishing point. You cannot implement and say, “we’re done, we’re now agile and everything’s done.”
When did you first encounter a real transformation in how a company worked?
My first company was a very command-and-control company where I worked and where I wrote my thesis. The second company I was in, had consultants come in to help them build a new process because they realised the old way wasn’t working. The good thing there was that the consultant who implemented that process stayed afterwards to do it. He knew it all, and it was not just “look here’s the PowerPoint and now we go away” situation.
What is one thing that people miss when they try to teach agile?
The agile mindset transforms you, but you have to experience it. I can tell you all about agility, you can still say, that’s one opinion of the world. Someone else will tell you that waterfall is the best thing since sliced bread. These are all opinions. To change your mindset, you have to feel it. You have to do a project with me where we work that way, where you say: “This thing was actually working that much better than before. I did all the other stuff. I want to do that again and again and again and again. This is how you get a mindset into someone. I think it cannot be taught. It can be told, but you have to experience it, to inherit it.
What distinguishes your philosophy or mindset as a leader? 
In IT, there are a lot of people with intrinsic motivation. If you see them leave, it’s often not because of money, but that their needs – in terms of what they want to achieve – are not fulfilled, or they don’t see that they could thrive here or come to their best. You have people that want to climb the ladder. You have people that want to build good products. You have to find a way in a team to balance that, so that everyone can have a share of this. Then you get great outcomes for the company. You have to align that a bit, move it a bit, channel it a bit, but then you can get great outcomes. 
But it has a lot to do with the culture you bring in and you live. For example, if my team works late, I work late too, even if I can’t contribute. They probably have to work late because I made an error, so I stay. That, for example, makes a big difference. Also my background is engineering, and I code also as a consultant sometimes, just to know what their problems are. 
Every one of us is different and has another idea how [leadership] works. But if you look at the ones that are really successful, there’s always this guy that is relatable, not just in his ivory tower who comes down to spread the knowledge. I’m good at what I do, and I still can code, so I can have a proper discussion on tech. That gives me another reputation than just being the guy that counts the numbers and says: “this is your new salary.”
Who are you directing your talk to? What kind of person would you like to come, and what kind of questions should they have in mind?
The talk is about examples of how I tackle problems I’ve faced. The first bit is origins, because most people don’t know what agile originally wanted to tackle. What is the thing that it wanted to solve? Why was it invented? Even in leadership, or especially in leadership, if you don’t come from an engineering background, but a management background you may never experienced working that way.
Seeing that other people handle stuff the same way as you do, gives you an idea if you’re on the right track. Doing stuff differently and seeing how other people relate to problems gives you a new perspective. Telling stories from what I have experienced and how I solved it, gives the new [managers] a look into, “Okay I’m on the right track.” The ones who are experienced, they can say “This is another approach I can try.” And the ones that are super experienced, can also learn that “I’ve done this and it worked out – or not.” This is a discussion I can have with them afterwards, which gives me some feedback from other people trying to solve the same problem. There’s also something for me, I’m not just there to spread my knowledge, I want to learn too!
To learn more about fostering agility both in engineering teams and their surrounding organisations from Florian, come to see his talk at Leaders in Tech | Berlin on Wednesday February 12th, 2020. Contact [email protected] for more details.

„The role of the leader is to suck out the poison from the system“

In December, Csaba Tamas, principle solutions architect at AWS will be speaking at Leaders in Tech | Berlin. The talk “Cultural ingredients of high performance, innovative teams” will bring together Csaba’s experience starting his own company, working in the finance sector (both Mittelstand and in startups), and now at Amazon. Based on this real-world experience and a robust theoretical framework on motivation, Csaba will share why it’s crucial for leaders to rethink how to build and scale organisations. In particular, for technology companies and knowledge workers, what does agility and flexibility look like? How can organisations structure themselves to provide autonomy to teams, without descending into anarchy and losing focus? 
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you came to be where you are now.
I started my professional career as an anchorman on Hungarian national television, but very quickly switched into computing, which was my other love and hobby. I started building digital television studios in early 2001-2002. Digitising analog studios had a huge advantage for companies because they could reduce their studio costs from literally millions to hundreds of thousands. I then created a small company but I burned through all of my money in one and a half years. I was this tech guy who had great ideas in his garage (actually it was in the attic) but had no clue on how to sell it, how to position it, how to do marketing, how to do communication, PR, anything like that.
This was the reason why I teamed up with a guy who sold physical security for banks. He had relationships with banks, but he didn’t have the knowledge or know-how for the IT security part. During this cooperation we got to know an Austrian company of banking and service automation. Eventually the Austrian company said they would like to start a subsidiary in Romania with us. This was a company where I needed to learn to trick a lot of the system to deliver the service levels which banks were used to getting from bigger enterprises with hundreds or thousands of employees. We needed to be very efficient all the time. We couldn’t have any waste because we were only a few people.
When did you get interested in how organisations are structured and can transform themselves?
[The Austrian banking company] invited me to become part of the management in Austria and guide them through a so-called digital transformation. At that time, I approached it in a somewhat technocratic way, more from the process point of view. I knew how a well-oiled Swiss clock should work, so this was the original idea. I thought that in a few months I will just reorganise them, and I will show them how to deliver more with less. This turned out to be a three-and-a-half-year very hard-learned lesson for me. It was also a very hard time, understanding a lot about human nature and human psychology, about how much people are influenced not just by the facts, but also by fears, their impressions and their emotional side.
By definition I’m more driven by facts than by emotions but on the other side I needed to understand how to persuade people to change old habits and the old guard to give up some things. I did an MBA in Romania and the most interesting classes where around organisational behavior, organisational design, so the human aspect of business. It also opened my eyes in the direction of Simon Sinek or Daniel Pink.
You talked about the acronym VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. What can you tell me about these types of environments and the types of teams that are working in them?
The type of work in digital innovation is not very repeatable, it’s not very predictable. We have a lot of companies who try to be agile, who try to be fast moving reacting to the customer needs. They’re still applying a lot of old-world reactions or muscle memories on how they should structure teams, how they should manage teams, how they should lead teams, how teams are motivated, or what motivates teams. In this new world, nothing is really fixed, no two days are comparable. Every day you do something different. How can you build an organisation and how can you scale an organisation in a way that you become successful? 
What is an example of these old-fashioned team structures?
We can look a little bit at how different companies are achieving success and see it also through the cultures of these different companies. Looking at this Austrian Mittelstand company, these kinds of companies are very strict and very hierarchical. You always need to request or ask for permission to make a decision and move something forward in the organisation.
At the same time what we see at Amazon is a concept of two-way door decisions and one-way door decisions. What the management says: the majority of decisions are two-way door decisions, meaning that you open the door, you make the decision. It’s like you opened the door and you cross the door and you look in the other room. If you like the result, you stay there. If you don’t like the result there, you just turn around and you come back right. 
There are some decisions of which you cannot turn back. For example, if you make a PR mistake, that’s super hard to be turned around. This is typically is a one-door decision. The organisation says whatever decision is a two-way door decision, it’s yours to make. This gives a lot of agility and edge to the organisation, because each and every employee can decide.
What about motivating people? How do companies differ in this area?
Daniel Pink in Motivation 2.0 says that in order to have motivated people, you have to have three major cornerstones defined: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. You give autonomy for decisions. For your employees, you give them a reason, you give them a vision, you give them a direction where to go: that would be purpose. Mastery is the skills which have to be there, and you need to scale up your people. Only when these three things are altogether, can you have a team which is really performing well. If you just have the skills and you have the autonomy, but there is no purpose, there are false starts. People are frustrated because they don’t understand the direction. 
We see this very frequently in startups and not just startup organisations, also in Mittelstand and enterprise companies where the C-level somehow locks themselves into an ivory tower and forget to communicate the vision to the rest of the departments. Then they are wondering why people are not behind their decisions.
Why is this important? What is the sort of greater social context that this is taking place in?
For me the starting point is that the complexity of our businesses is growing. By having higher complexity, there is no one person who can oversee everything and who can follow up on everything. The role of the C-level is no longer the all-knowing sage who receives all the input data and calls all the shots. Because this would definitely slow down the organisation just by the simple fact that you need thousands of decisions to be made every day. What you need to do to enable an organisation to evolve quickly is to give them the ability to make decisions by themselves.
How does this fit into your own personal journey as a leader and a manager?
When I went to this Austrian company, I told my wife in the first year that I was so frustrated. It’s five o’clock now and I couldn’t work yet. I just had meetings and I was just speaking to people — nothing useful. I did nothing useful! She said, “Have you considered that from now on this is your job? To align with people and help unlock the bottlenecks they have?”
This resonated a lot because a few years back, my organisational design and behavior professor said that the role of the leader is to suck out the poison from the system. At that time I kind of understood, but not really. It really took me some time, some years later, when it started to make sense. People, when they interact, people, when they have different motivations, especially when organizations are bigger and especially if performance and meritocracy are not in place, and it’s not clear what good looks, then there is a lot of poison in there.
Are there any other thoughts you’d like to include for people considering coming to the talk?
Any type of leader who is in the tech business and are wondering how they could inspire their colleagues to succeed together, how they can improve the togetherness, how they can create glue in their teams to create this feeling of belonging, to create this feeling we are one family, we are marching towards one goal and to have people who a bunch of people who believe the same things and they move mountains. How do you unlock the potential in the good intentions of people, and how you can transform your organisation into a better performing organisation at the end of the day. This is the story of creating a cult, creating a culture in your company of performance, a culture of belonging, a culture of changing the world together.
Learn more about building innovative technology teams and structuring for uncertainty from Csaba, join Leaders in Tech | Berlin on Wednesday December 11th, 2019.  To join contact [email protected]

Peter Minev on scaling tech: “There is no silver bullet”

In October, Peter Minev, head of platform engineering at Careem will be speaking at Leaders in Tech | Berlin. His talk “Scaling tech: planning for uncertainty”, will draw from Peter’s experience starting Careem’s engineering office in Berlin which grew from 0 to 130 in less than two years, attracting talent and growing technical teams when no one knew the company. He’ll offer insight into how he approached this challenge, and how he developed a strategy that took uncertainty into account.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you came to be where you are now.
I started my career long ago, probably too long ago, as an engineer. In the early days, I held different engineering positions: C++ engineer, Java engineer, later on architect. At some point, I switched to management roles. I worked in big companies and small startups in various domains. I spent six years in automotive, managing different teams in different geographies. In my work at VMware where I spent also 6 years, I was managing teams in India, in the US, and in Europe. 
Was there a point in your career when you concretely decided to go from engineering into management?
I don’t think that there was a strict point where I said, this is really what I want to do. It happened gradually, so from an engineer to an architect to a project manager, and then into engineering management. One day when I woke up, I realized I was managing teams in different continents and different geographies. 
It’s not only when you switch from engineering to management that you need new skills, but also when you broaden your responsibilities.  Bigger teams, remote teams, managing and building remote teams, several teams, different cultures, different geographies, etc. This requires new skills, building on top of your existing capabilities. Many of these are not strictly related to engineering. You need to know a little bit of finance, a little bit of business management, business strategy. All this, the learning process, I find very fascinating. 
What are the biggest challenges you faced in growing Careem?
When I convinced the founders of Careem to open an office in Berlin, it was quite an exciting journey. Careem was not a popular brand in Germany at all. Nobody knew Careem, and that was the first big challenge that I had to overcome. Whenever I and our recruitment team approached candidates, the first question was, „What is Careem?“ We had to explain what Careem is in the first place before even talking about the specific positions. Building the engineering brand of Careem here in Europe and in Berlin was a big challenge. 
The second challenge: in all my career so far, I was joining established companies and established offices, where I was building engineering teams. Here, we didn’t have a company in Germany at all. I needed to do a lot of other things before I even hired the first engineer. You need to establish the company, to find offices, to find and establish the HR team, the recruitment team, the finance team, the legal team, office management – you need to have all this before hiring the first engineer. 
You cannot hire an engineer if you don’t have a company or an office. It was exciting – you have this tension, you don’t have the patience to wait. You want to hire the teams, you want to form the projects and you want to jump into this initial phase as quickly as possible.
Then, an even bigger challenge was how to grow so fast, from 0 to 130 people in Berlin in two years while keeping healthy engineering teams at the same time. There are many books that tell you, if you grow more than 2x per year, it is suicide. Teams will be destroyed, they will not be productive or efficient, you will have high attrition. 
Is it possible to quickly build a large team of super strong engineers without lowering the bar, but at the same time make these teams extremely productive, efficient, and healthy? This was an extremely big challenge. I think in the end, it was successful, and I am very happy about this journey because I accumulated a lot of learnings along the way.
I would have also said growing a team from 0 to 130 in two years is a terrible idea. How did you develop a successful strategy to make this happen?

There is no silver bullet. This was a series of actions which I took, hoping that they would make it successful in the end. I don’t believe that you can start such activity without any strategy at all. You should, even if you have a lot of uncertainties, list your best guesses, list your most probable hypotheses, and then start with this. I needed to have an initial strategy, but also continuously, all the time, I needed to improve the strategy. 
I have a very simple rule for this. In every single moment, I need to know the top three problems for my team, for my company – the top three. Not the top 30. Not the top 300. The top three. 
You’ll be surprised that this gives you a lot of focus because there might be thousands of problems. But what are your top three problems?  As a company evolves, especially so fast, very often these top three problems will change completely. Six months from now, you will have completely different problems from your top three now. In every given moment you have to have these top three problems. When you resolve these three problems, basically what you are doing, is evolving your strategy.
These top three problems are not what you think that are problems. You have to have data, real data that shows you that these are real problems, not only problems that you think in your head. 
It’s a combination between starting with the best that you can, your best shot, and then always evolving this strategy by knowing your top three problems. 
Are there any other thoughts you’d like to include for people considering coming to the talk?
From what I saw of previous events there are many people who are quite experienced.  I don’t see this event as me only sharing my experiences. What I’d rather do is to share what I’ve learned, but I also would be very happy for people to share their experiences, more like a discussion. I can contribute what we did here with Careem in Berlin.
I don’t see it like a playbook: that this is what we did in Careem, and this is the one golden rule, go and apply it by the book in your companies. I see it as some key learnings that I applied in some specific situations. If people can take these learnings, think through them, and apply them in their context, I think this will be super useful for many people.
To learn more about scaling technology teams and planning for uncertainty from Peter, join Leaders in Tech | Berlin on Wednesday October 23rd, 2019: 
To join contact [email protected]

finleap’s CTO Tim Duckett breaks down team dynamics with humor for Leaders in Tech | Berlin

What kind of coworker are you? Do you use your power and influence in the workplace like King Joffrey (Game of Thrones) or more like the Russian president? In August, a full house of technology leaders in Berlin convened for the second time this year at MHPLab for Leaders in Tech to explore these questions and their more serious counterparts. This time, the attendees came for Tim Duckett’s talk: “Hacking Power and Politics – A Tech Leader’s Framework” and to hear how other managers, CTOs, department heads, and engineering leads grapple with the challenges of organizing teams. Tim is the CTO at finleap, a fintech company builder, and brings years of experience as an engineer and a manager working in a variety of organizations to the topic.

Austin Fraser organizes Leaders in Tech to bring together CTOs, CIOs, VPs, heads of IT and other senior technology leaders to explore important issues in business and technology, and to build connections between people facing similar challenges. Often hosted by key companies in a city’s startup and technology ecosystem, the meetups attract all kinds of technology leaders. Stephanie Persigehl, senior professional at MHPLab, cited the quality of the leadership talks and the great community as two of the reasons they like to host the Leaders in Tech talks. She also said, “At MHP, we’re delighted to be part of this network and want to foster its continuous growth.”

And network was definitely the word! As everyone entered the building, the team at the reception welcomed each attendee and gave out nametag. Then they had to brave the crowd gathered at the snacks and drinks in the main room. The whole space was buzzing with people introducing themselves to each other and reconnecting with familiar faces from previous events. There were people perched on every space, from the picnic tables in the middle, benches throughout the room, as well as office chairs along the sides for late-comers and those who didn’t want to stand.

Anjo Gaul, community manager for Austin Fraser, officially kicked off the program, introducing both the event hosts and Tim Duckett, the evening’s speaker. You can catch some of Tim’s talk “Hacking Power and Politics – A Tech Leader’s Framework” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Acr7Ve23Kw

The talk was both funny and insightful, starting out with a framework for the different kinds of power and the types of people who wield it. Daniil Pavliuchkov, Chief Product Officer at VAI, commented “I really enjoyed the sarcastic tone and the humour of the talk. It is great when a speaker can connect with the audience and explain complex things in a playful manner that is not childish. All the references and the quirky names really gave me a good laugh.” During the talk, Tim interspersed his slides with anecdotes from his experience working in many different companies. If you’d like to read more about Tim Duckett, check out the interview with him on the Austin Fraser blog, “Sometimes you get a team of people who seem to be all square edges and corners.”
Dmitry Galkin, a DevOps consultant currently working at HERE, decided to attend this Leaders in Tech meetup because he was intrigued by the topic and the speaker’s background. He said it was an interesting presentation, and that he could relate to a lot of the stories from his past experiences. It also didn’t hurt that the surprise of the evening was the burger truck parked right outside the building next to the Spree!

As everyone lined up to get a burger and fries, the conversations spilled out into the picturesque outdoor space. Attendees chatted about the talk, how they’d seen the personas and situations that Tim shared play out in their own professional lives. A number of people were continuing to share their experiences and connecting with other attendees out on the patio as the sun started to slip below the horizon. Well after the official program had concluded, people were happy to keep chatting and sharing — thanks to Austin Fraser and MHPLab for a great event!


Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200

Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200
Celebrations are set to take place across all Austin Fraser offices, following our second consecutive placement in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. 2018 sees us come in at 20th in the ninth annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table, which ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.
Growing our international presence
How have we achieved this? In the qualifying two year period, we’ve seen exponential international growth, with revenue rocketing up over 115%. Global locations have doubled in the past 18 months, too, opening offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas. And we have more ambitious plans for Europe and the US in place.
Strategic leadership
As many of you will have seen in the media, earlier this year, we announced a significantly expanded leadership team, with the aim to propel Austin Fraser’s organisation’s global growth. At the same time, the business has been developing deeper relationships across our specialist sectors across Technology, Automation, Aviation and Life Sciences industries
Strengthening our culture
International growth comes with its own set of challenges. So we were delighted to see other regional players like the Bullit Group and Westcoast in the league table.
We’re a people-led business to our core and have nurtured a culture that supports, fosters and rewards success. As a recruitment partner, our teams are genuinely motivated by a core desire to ensure both our clients’ and candidates’ success. We couldn’t be prouder of every team member for making this happen and look forward to celebrating and thanking everyone in person.

Understanding Developer Typology

Understanding Developer Typology
Ahead of the June Leaders in Tech: Baden-Württemberg held on 21st June 2018 we speak with 1&1’s Matthias Wittum, Head of the Source Center and Christian Rehn, Software Developer in 1&1’s Customer Selfcare Solutions about their highly developed frameworks and models which are specially designed to examine developer typology. Their frameworks and models are proven to support developer teams, strengthen communication and optimise design decisions.
Matthias Wittum explains that whilst working with Christian Rehn, they identified how different developers can be when it comes to reaching a design decision and how this has an impact on development teams. We know that developers are unique problem solvers who draw on different approaches, knowledge, cultures, experience and principles to produce software solutions. Developers naturally approach projects uniquely, and the outcome can play to a particular focus or strength. Of course within a development team this can lead to several solutions being found and so the challenge is often finding one team solution or design route.
There are enough personality tests out there, but no tests or frameworks based specifically on developers. We felt that some instruments were needed to enable better production efficiency and to help develop teams according to their orientation and typology, so we started filling the gap. That’s how the Design Types Model for instance, came to fruition. It sets out to define developers’ typology via a relatively straightforward base of questions for each developer to answer. The answers provided help classify their typology and then you can group them accordingly. Using this model makes it easier to gain an impression of whether the tasks, the way of working and the environment are a good fit.
Here are three Models which we have formulated to identify developer typology, aid better case arguments to reach design decisions more quickly and to help optimise development teams:

Design Types Model – sets out to identify why software design is individual and often leads to discussions with colleagues.
Design Cards – great interactive tool using a set of predefined cards used to aid technical discussions by using proven arguments.
Design Matrix – helps you to examine technical problems from all perspectives.

Read more about these interactive Models here.
Ever since the agile movement, technical decisions are increasingly discussed or reviewed within the team. Collective Code Ownership means that everyone is now jointly responsible for the software and as a result, it is important for developers to be able to argue precisely and comprehensively, to be able to put oneself into the motives of your colleagues. With our models, we want to support exactly this and strengthen communication in development teams.
Leaders in Tech
Thanks to those who joined us at our Leaders in Tech: Baden-Württemberg meetup held on 21st June 2018 when Matthias and Christian give a complete overview of the developer typology, as well as the Design Cards and the Design Matrix. As a start, to understand the concepts and the overall context.

3 Top Tips to Building a Successful Engineering Team

3 Top Tips to Building a Successful Engineering Team
We spoke with Florian Gamper, freelance CTO/CIO whose background is in Software Engineering from Enterprise Backend to Web and Mobile. Florian is a speaker at our June Leaders in Tech: Berlin meetup and over the years he has built numerous startups, Engineering Teams and Ventures for Companies like Dr. Oetker, BCG Digital Ventures and Columba. Resulting in projects like Coup (Electric Scooter Sharing for Bosch), Mein-Dach (Community Platform for Brass Monier) or backen.de (Oetker Digital).
As a Leader in Tech, we asked Florian what his 3 Top Tips are for Building a Successful Engineering Team
TIP 1 – Recruiting and interviewing your dream team
It starts with finding the talent. No longer do you have to wait for them to find you, now there’s a much more bi-directional process where you apply to them directly. This helps both sides engage in a deeper partnership. Be prepared to give your ideal candidate(s) an interesting story behind your company and an explanation as to how together, the projects can help take them to the next level.
Don’t ruin their first impression of your company! Before any interview takes place make sure the right people are in the room, and that you’re set up with a proper internet connection and good video chat system for remote interviews (not kidding … falling out of interviews all the time ruins your first expression … so ditch skype).
Finding and recruiting the right people to build a successful Engineering Team takes a lot of time. Don’t rush the process and if you have the funds to use freelancers for the intermediate, do it, it helps a lot. Never hire in doubt or rush.
Now it’s time to build your team.
TIP 2 – Cultivating the perfect environment
To create the perfect environment for an engineering team to thrive, the culture, supported from the top down, has to be right. To excel, you need to create a supporting culture with a welcoming and open mindset, which each member of the team needs to be a part of. To achieve this there are three simple rules: you have to build a culture that doesn‘t blame, gives fame, has no shame (it’s ok to admit a mistake) for the team to thrive. Set guidelines within which they have the freedom to experiment and thrive.
Glitches can appear if you don’t have the right processes in place to support your successful engineering team. To help track and record workflow you need to have stable processes in place such as CI/CD, Wiki, Tasks.
Listening, can help you spot the early signs that you’ve got the culture right. People will not only talk to each other about work, but also about their lives and hobbies. Bonds form and they’ll do some stuff together after work, ensure these are never siloed in the engineering team.
Never fear to lose the wrong people.

TIP 3 – The Future for Engineering Teams
Engineering Teams have to prepare to be more and more involved in production processes. Continuous deployment is a key to fast and steady delivery. In the near future teams will get more diverse in skills and topics as ML and other Cloud Technologies are going to be part of wider projects.
Leaders in Tech: Berlin
Florian explores this topic deeper at the June instalment of our Leaders in Tech: Berlin meetup, where he shares advice on what he looks for in the ideal candidate and what good teams need in order to thrive. 

Next stop, Dallas: consolidating Austin Fraser’s US presence

Next stop, Dallas: consolidating Austin Fraser’s US presence
We’re delighted to announce our next new office opening in Dallas, Texas, scheduled for October 2018. This move will anchor Austin Fraser deeper in the US market, hot on the heels of our award-winning Austin, Texas office and Denver, at the start of the year.
We’d also like to congratulate Dallas team lead, Alina Brovko, who will relocate from Munich to build the new Dallas team and roll-out our growth plans.  Alina is a brilliant example of the career pathways available at Austin Fraser and our strong ethos of fostering talent from within.
How we evolve on the ground
As the fourth biggest technology market in the US, outside New York, LA and Chicago, and a concentration of established Austin Fraser clients located in the city, Dallas was the obvious choice for our third US office. With its flourishing start-up ecosystem of incubators, tech meet-ups and a strong Fortune 500 presence, it holds real potential for Austin Fraser. With our Austin team just three hours away too, it will allow for deeper collaboration, ensuring our networks and talent pools are harnessed for client success.
As with previous locations, it’s important to us that we are embedded in the local community. Our approach is about adapting and integrating, while staying true to our Austin Fraser DNA. We invest heavily in communities, creating longer-term relationships while developing an exceptional pool as well as new career opportunities internally.
International growth
This past 18 months has seen Austin Fraser double our global locations, with offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas.  We scale our international teams with home-grown talent, while building a strong local talent pipeline.
As Alina explains “We’re seeing a lot of our clients with hubs across the US so for this market, it makes sense for us to support as many of those as we can, as we extend Austin Fraser’s presence.  Our business is about how we can help our clients grow. Being on hand, to build real connections and relationships really means that we can specialise as well as play an active part in the tech community here.”
Further expansion plans in the UK, Europe and the US are in place and we’ll look forward to sharing these later this year.

Thames Valley Tech Awards

Thames Valley Tech Awards 2018: Top Tech Employer

Thames Valley Tech Awards 2018: Top Tech Employer
We’re partnering with The Business Magazine to support the launch of the first ever Thames Valley Tech Awards, a celebration of all things tech in the area. We’re taking the lead on the Top Tech Employer as we have the pleasure of working with these game changers every day. If you think you have what it takes, please take a look at our criteria and follow the instructions below to apply.
Here’s what we’re looking for in the Thames Valley’s Top Tech Employer:
An innovative and inclusive culture
Tell us about the way you work, interact and collaborate as a business. How open are your communication channels, how approachable are the leadership team and what do you do to achieve this?
A clear brand identity
Are your employees aligned with your business values and how do the leadership team embody them? Are your people engaged in the work they’re doing and how do you know?
Investing in your people
People are the backbone of any organisation, how do you invest in yours? Do you support their personal and professional development with training and progression opportunities? How achievable is a work/life balance in your organisation? Do your people feel valued what are the levels of your staff retention in 2017?
Company benefits scheme
Do you just offer the standard benefits package or have you created tailored schemes to really differentiate yourselves from the competition? Are you regularly reviewing your offering or is it stagnated?
Giving back & creating a positive impact
How do you recognise your responsibility as an organisation to give back to the community and how do you engage your employees in this? Do you support charities and if so, how? Are you conscious of your impact on the environment and what do you do to minimise this?
Innovating in your space
What are you doing to implement creative working styles, are you using the latest tech to create the most efficient solutions for your business?
Talent attraction 
How strong is your employer branding? Do you value your candidate experience and how can you demonstrate this?
If you have a strong case for each of these areas, we’d love to hear from you.
Follow this link https://tvtechawards.co.uk/tech-awards-categories/ and download the Top Tech Employer Award application form (8th one down).
We look forward to receiving your applications and celebrating with you on the night.

Meet AF’s new German Tech Director, Ashley Dunbar

Meet AF’s new German Tech Director
We’re very proud to announce that Ashley Dunbar is our new German Technology Director. He’s been with the company over nine years and was promoted in February earlier this year to UK Technology Director. His wealth of experience in the Technology sector will help us deliver a first class service to our clients and candidates, as well as driving the growth and development of our teams.
“Continually developing my skills and taking on new challenges is something I relish so when the opportunity arose to gain international experience I knew it was the right move for me”, says Ashley Dunbar, German Technology Director. “Having built up the UK Technology business I was confident I had the knowledge and track record to take German Technology to the next level. I’m a few weeks into my role and I’m really impressed with all my new colleagues and believe the opportunity here is vast and the future really excites me. The vision for our German business is what initially enticed me. Making it a reality by moving into new territories and truly delivering performances which have a global impact is why I’m here.”
“None of this would have happened without my family who have supported me every step of the way. For all of us, relocating to Germany and a great city like Munich is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we couldn’t let pass us by.”
Pete Hart, CEO comments, “Ash’s ambition has always been evident, so it is was no surprise when he put himself forward for international opportunities. Relocating his family to Munich is yet again evidence of his commitment to Austin Fraser.”
We are confident that Ashley will thrive in his new role, and we’d like you to join us in wishing him the best of luck on this adventure as he relocates to Munich with his family.

Neues Büro am Lenbachplatz eröffnet

Neues Büro am Lenbachplatz eröffnet
Im März hatten wir berichtet, dass wir neue erstklassige Büroräume im Stadtzentrum von München gefunden haben. Nach monatelanger harter Arbeit sind wir jetzt endlich eingezogen: Seit dem 4. Dezember finden Sie uns am Lenbachplatz 1, einer der gefragtesten Adressen Münchens. Der Lenbachplatz befindet sich in bester Lage mit sehr guter Verkehrsanbindung, und in der nahegelegenen Kaufinger Straße gibt es jede Menge Restaurants, Bars, Fitness-Studios, Geschäfte und andere gesellige Angebote.

Dieses Jahr hat Austin Fraser weltweit nicht weniger als sechs neue Büros eröffnet. Sie alle ermöglichen uns, unseren Kandidaten und Kunden einen noch besseren Service zu bieten – und München macht da keine Ausnahme. Mit diesen modernen Büroräumen werden wir unsere jetzige Mitarbeiterzahl mehr als verdoppeln können!
„Wir sind begeistert von der Modernisierung unserer Büros und dem Umzug in Premium-Geschäftsräume in bester Lage im Herzen von München. Wir haben mit verschiedenen Designern und Handwerkern zusammengearbeitet, um unsere Ideen in die Tat umzusetzen und für die tägliche Arbeit unserer Teams ein wirklich inspirierendes Umfeld zu schaffen. Austin Fraser ist in den fünf Jahren, die wir in München sind, schnell gewachsen. Und jetzt haben wir die richtige Grundlage, um dieses Wachstum fortzusetzen und neue Chancen zu schaffen.“ Ashley Dunbar, Director Germany.
Neben mehreren modernen Bereichen für Meetings und soziale Aktivitäten gibt es jetzt auch bessere Schulungsmöglichkeiten, was die Teamarbeit noch stärker fördern dürfte. Diese sehr gut ausgestatteten Einrichtungen können auch unsere Kunden und Kandidaten für die Rekrutierung nutzen – eine zusätzliche Erweiterung unseres Full-Service-Angebots. Dass unsere Kunden ihre geschäftlichen Ziele erreichen und erfolgreich Ausnahmetalente im vom Arbeitskräftemangel geprägten deutschen Technologiemarkt für sich gewinnen können, steht für uns an erster Stelle.
Um unser neues Büro vorzustellen und die Räumlichkeiten mit unseren Kunden und Kandidaten zu teilen, werden wir in den kommenden Wochen einige Tage der offenen Tür veranstalten. Sie wollen gern vorbeikommen und einen Tag an der Seite unseres Teams arbeiten? E-Mail an [email protected] genügt!

Five ways the GDPR will impact your tech business

Leaders in Tech is a group of managers and thought leaders who regularly get together to discuss current tech trends, share knowledge, learn new things and network. Our final Munich event of 2017 will be held on Wednesday 6th December in our brand new office at Lenbachplatz 1.
The topic this time will be all things security and data protection, including an overview of the upcoming GDPR, which will come into force on 25th May 2018.
This change in regulation could have any number of implications for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Tortsen Rammelmann from Solvectio GmbH will give us a more in-depth insight into the changes and their respective ramifications on 6th December, but for now, we have put together a summary of the issues we have become aware of at Austin Fraser, as we ourselves prepare for 25th May.
Five ways the GDPR will impact your tech business
1. Consent
The Regulation has maintained the current definition of ‚unambiguous‘ as the legal basis for consent for processing non-sensitive data. However; the new rules mean that businesses that gather users‘ data for a specific purpose will not be allowed to transfer or share this data for a different purpose without the user’s explicit consent. This could inhibit the ability of businesses to innovate with existing data. Explicit consent will also be required for the processing of sensitive data.

A consequence of the new legislation is that businesses will need to seek consent (unambiguous or explicit) more often from customers. A concern about this is that it could lead to ‚consent fatigue‘ and the kind of ‚meaningless consent‘ people provide when they click away cookie reminders on websites. The implementation phase will need to look closely at how practical consent requirements will be for emerging technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), which are not web-based and have no obvious user interfaces.
2. New liabilities and obligations for data processors
A significant change in the new rules is that data controllers and processors will be jointly liable for any breach of the Regulation.

Joint liability will extend responsibility beyond the companies that collect and use personal data. Cloud-providers, data centres and processors will now be liable for data held on their services. Given that data processors will have little visibility over whether the data collected by data controllers are compliant with the new Regulation, managing the legal implications of this requirement within contracts between controllers and processors will be difficult and potentially costly. This means that customers, particularly SMEs, will be faced with higher costs. Consumers will also be faced with a complex legal environment with less clarity around who is liable in the case of data breaches. National data protection authorities will need to work closely with industry to develop best practice model contracts to help streamline compliance with joint liability requirements as much as possible.
3. Restrictions on the use of ‚legitimate interest‘ as legal basis to process data 
Many companies currently rely on the legal concept of ‚legitimate interest‘ as a legal basis to lawfully process personal data. The new rules restrict the instances where legitimate interest can be used as a legal basis for processing. Companies will have to ensure that any data processed under this legal base is compliant with the now more restricted requirements and reflect member state law. Legitimate interest is a key enabler of the digital economy and underpins a company’s ability to combat cybercrime and fraudulent activity. Restrictions on its use as a basis for data processing could prove problematic for many businesses.
4. New restrictions on the use of profiling to support products and services
Many companies rely on profiling and automated decision making based on profiles, to develop cost-effective real-time personalised services that benefit customers. The new Regulation will limit the use of profiling in circumstances where its use may lead to ‚legal effects‘ and could mean that companies offering financial services, for example, are unable to use fully automated profiling, without some form of human review. Automated profiling will be allowed in certain circumstances such as fraud detection and public services, or where provided for in national law.

The new rules could be problematic for many FinTech companies as it will make it more difficult for companies to offer some personalised financial and insurance services to consumers. It could also make it harder for companies to detect and prevent fraudulent activity, which cannot feasibly be done manually.
5. Innovation and further processing
In a digital economy, innovation depends upon the ability to use existing data to see and understand the world differently. The new Regulation imposes stricter limits on such further processing which will make it more difficult for many organisations to drive innovation.

There are differences of interpretation about the precise meaning of this Article and how it impacts the ability of companies to develop new innovative services based on existing data. However, given the severity of fines that could be imposed if companies are found to be in breach of the Regulation, legal certainty will be essential for unlocking innovation.
If you would like to find out more about GDPR and the impacts on your business then join us for the final Leaders in Tech event of the year on the 6th December by signing up here.
Here is what you can expect from the night:

19:00 Arrive

19:00 – 19:30 Networking and Glühwein

19:30 – 19:45 Security Testing – A presentation by Jürgen Unterreitmayer

19:45 – 20:00 GDPR an Overview – Torsten Rammelmann

20:00 – 20:15 Live Hacker Demo

20:15 – 20:30 Q&A, Discussion

20:30 – 21:00 Networking

What a fantastic year it has been for Leaders in Tech. Our thriving community in Munich now has over 450 members, together we’ve discussed developments in IoT, Agile, and the Digital Revolution, with some fantastic speakers whilst gin tasting, BBQing on the roof terrace, and celebrating Oktoberfest. Off the back of our success in Munich we have now also launched Leaders in Tech in Berlin, Stuttgart and Reading, UK, and have plans to further expand.
Find your nearest Leaders in Tech Meetup and join the community here.