Web Directions Code Leaders 2019 Leading Engineering Teams

MelbourneJune 19 2019

Creating world class engineering teams and cultures

What is Code Leaders?

Running in conjunction with our long standing, highly regarded Code Conference for front end engineers and JavaScript developers, Code Leaders focuses on what senior engineering decision makers need to know about right now.

As the things we build and the teams and organisations that build them become ever more complex, technical knowledge and capabilities simply aren't enough. Code Leaders is designed for engineering and development leaders, senior developers, lead engineers, engineering managers, CTOs. It doesn't matter so much what your role is called, if you're responsible for building and leading teams, and making strategic decisions about the technologies your company or organisations uses, Code Leaders is designed for you.

Code Leaders takes place over a single, intensive day, and features real world experts addressing key challenges of technology, leadership and developing, maintaining and growing great engineering teams.

Applicable real world knowledge

Tapping into the expertise of keynote speakers of Code, our front end engineering conference taking place the following two days, we'll cover key developments in front end engineering and beyond, from JavaScript and Node.js to performance, security and more. Leaders combines all this with sessions on creating, maintaining and growing a great team and inclusive, diverse cultures - and getting the most from your team.

speakers and audience

Who's it for?

Code Leaders is exclusively for engineering leaders, and those aspiring to step up to leadership roles within technology teams. It all takes place in an intimate environment of like-minded professionals with similar challenges and goals and designed for:

  • CTOs
  • VPs of Engineering
  • Engineering managers
  • Lead engineers
  • Senior developers

Extraordinary speakers

We've assembled a worlds class lineup of engineering leaders and managers, including:

Laurie Voss

JavaScript: who, what, where, why and next

Laurie Voss CDO npm Inc.

npm has more data than anyone about who JavaScript developers are and what they’re up to. Using their unparalleled access to registry usage stats and the results of their 2019 ecosystem survey of over 33,000 developers, CTO Laurie Voss breaks down the current state of JavaScript and where trends look like they’re headed, so you can make more informed technical choices.

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Cath Jones

The Myth of the Senior Engineer

Cath Jones People Operations BuildKite

It's not uncommon for teams to need to bring on additional talent to achieve tight deadlines and drive growth. Often these roles are advertised as "Senior Engineers", and the skills list the ability to "hit the ground running", "get in and get stuff done" or "start shipping features from day one." However is this a realistic expectation or, are we setting our new employees up for failure?

In this presentation, Cath Jones will discuss the expectations placed on new technical hires with a focus on senior roles. She will guide you in examining the complexities of information that needs to be provided to an employee before they can contribute meaningfully to your organisation, and demonstrate how scalable on-boarding practices will allow your organisation to achieve greater productivity and engagement from new hires.

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Virginia Murdoch

How to communicate with Product Managers

Virginia Murdoch Director of Product, Data & Insights Culture Amp

At the centre of most successful tech startups is a highly productive and trusting relationship between co-founders. Even if they don't start out with distinct 'product' and 'tech' roles, it's not uncommon for founders to end up in tech and product leadership positions as the company grows, and in these cases, product culture really forms around them – but replicating the attributes of the relationship itself does not happen automatically.

What can we do to build strong bonds between tech leads and product managers in cross-functional product teams as a company scales? I will share the things we're trying at Culture Amp, and some of the things we've learned along the way.

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Sarah Taraporewalla

From Tech Lead to Motherhood: one woman's journey from changing systems to changing nappies, and back again

Sarah Taraporewalla Principal Consultant ThoughtWorks

Our industry undeniably suffers from a lack of gender balance amongst hands-on technologists. Even fewer of those technologists are mothers. Sadly, many women believe that you can’t remain technical once you become a mother. But there are small changes that we as leaders can make to support our team members as they transition back into the workforce.

In this talk, Sarah will share with you her experience, including the challenges she faced, of returning to a senior technical role after starting a family. You will hear the changes she made within her company to make it easier for others to see how to return and stay technical, and the benefits to her company of having her and others like her able to return to work.

Sarah hopes her experience will provide some inspiration and practical advice to share with your software engineers and tech leads who are contemplating motherhood, and for leaders who are committed to supporting diversity in their workplace.

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Damian Keeghan

Managing change in development practices over time

Damian Keeghan National Front-End Development Lead Deloitte Digital

As developers we want to always be using the latest and greatest techniques and frameworks and try new things, but at leaders we need to weigh this up against training time, consistency between projects and the longevity and support of the framework.

As a lead for over 30 Front-End Developers across Australia, working on 10+ projects at any one time, keeping devs happy and keeping up with technology is a delicate balance. By introducing a few simple rules that govern when and how we include new technologies into projects we've found a happy medium between using new tech and having the wide support and stability of a reusable/common set of frameworks & tools between projects.

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David Lewis

Being the nice guy with the bad news

David Lewis Delivery Manager Deputy

As a manager, giving direct and sometimes negative or difficult feedback to people can be hard. If you’re someone with a lot of empathy this can make it even harder, but with empathy can come trust. This is key as trust can foster an environment where direct feedback and even respectful disagreement adds value to your team.

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Inga Pflaumer

Building up your juniors

Inga Pflaumer System Analyst SMG

Looking to grow your team? Considering hiring more juniors? Amazing idea, but how to grow them, set them up for success and what are the potential mistakes on your and their part that you need to watch out for?

In this talk Inga Pflaumer will share her experience working with junior team on building a product using Node.js and React, talk about some of their triumphs and failures.

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Colin Chauvet

README. An Owner's Manual for your Manager.

Colin Chauvet Development Manager Atlassian

README files are the first thing we all look at when working with a new code base. A good README helps you hit the ground running, and often help you understand the principles behind the code base so you know how to best work with it.

The idea behind a Manager’s README is the same. Like an owner’s manual for a manager, it gives the reader a recipe for how to best work with you.

Manager READMEs have gained a bit of traction recently with managers from Netflix, Slack, Etsy and Shopify using them. Like all popular things, they have also attracted their fair share of controversy.

In this talk Colin Chauvet share how he introduced Manager READMEs at Atlassian. What worked, what didn’t, how to get started and how to avoid coming across as a self-serving jerk!

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Geoff Crain and Aman King

Build empathy through peer feedback

Geoff Crain and Aman King Team Lead, Development Manager Atlassian

In this talk Geoff Crain and Aman King will show you what value peer feedback has brought to Atlassian teams, and how to introduce and nurture it within your team.

Devs talk to each other through pull requests and building technical solutions. They have 1-1s with their managers about personal growth. It can be way better than this: enable and encourage your devs to ask for, and structure actionable feedback to each other to foster individual growth, and build empathy and team work.

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Asim Hussain

Saving the World, one line at a time

Asim Hussain Regional Lead, Dev Rel Microsoft

The world is dying; you can help save it. Data Centres consume 2% of all the power in the world and produce about 3% of the greenhouse gases. This is set to treble in the next 10 years.

When building apps, we focus on minimising costs, time to market, bugs, bundle size, application speed, SEO, but we spend almost no effort trying to minimise the damage our applications are making to the environment. In this talk we'll discuss how to write, deploy and run a green sustainable application.

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Our venue

Code Leaders 2018 will be held in the Pavilion at the iconic Arts Centre Melbourne, right on the Yarra in Southbank.

The Pavilion,
Arts Centre Melbourne,
100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Getting there:

With excellent public transport connections right outside, and Flinders Street Station right across the bridge, it's our best connected location yet.


If you're coming from out of town, there are many hotel and serviced apartments style accomodation options in Southbank, and otherwise close by. We have for some time put our speakers up at the Quest Southbank Apartments, and stay there ourselves.


At Web Directions we work closely with partners to help make our events even better. Sponsor our coffee, reception, recharge station, or other valued activities and start or grow your relationship with our highly qualified audience.

Contact us for more on how we work can work with you to help you be even more awesome.

Key Partners

Prospa logo
Auth0 logo
Twilio logo
Buildkite logo
Conffab logo
Web Directions Insurance logo

Meetup Muster Partners

Praise for past Web Directions events

Phil Whitehouse
Web Directions is the must-attend event of the year for anyone serious about web development.

Phil Whitehouse,
Innovation Lead DigitasLBi

Ethan Marcotte
I’ve been admiring the Web Directions events for years, and was honored to be part… What a fantastic event!

Ethan Marcotte,
inventor "responsive Web design"

Dave Greiner
Out of any conference, Web Directions is far and away our favourite

Dave Greiner,
founder Campaign Monitor

About Us

Co-founded and now run by John Allsopp, Web Directions has for over a decade brought together leading developers, engineers, visual, IxD, UX and product designers, Art and Creative Directors, product managers indeed everyone involved in producing web and digital products to learn from one another, and the World's leading experts across this vast field.

We spend our lives thinking about what comes next, keeping up with trends in technology, practices and processes, and filtering the hype, to make sure you don't miss trends that matter, and don't waste time on hype that doesn't.

We promise attending one of our events will leave you significantly better versed in the challenges you face day to day, and in solutions for addressing them.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we're switching things up a bit for 2020. We'll be organising Product, Design, and Code as online conferences, and our annual extravaganza, Web Directions Summit will take place in Sydney as soon as it is practicable in late 2020 or early 2021.

vignettes from our events, social, speakers and more. Includes Hannah Donovan skylarking.

John Allsopp

John Allsopp has been working on the Web for over 20 years. He's been responsible for innovative developer tools such as Style Master, X-Ray and many more. He's spoken at numerous conferences around the World and delivered dozens of workshops in that time as well.

His writing includes two books, including Developing With Web Standards and countless articles and tutorials in print and online publications.

His "A Dao of Web Design" published in 2000 is cited by Ethan Marcotte as a key influence in the development of Responsive Web Design, who's rightly acclaimed article in 2010 begins by quoting John in detail, and by Jeremy Keith as "a manifesto for anyone working on the Web".

Code of Conduct

For over a decade, we've worked hard to create inclusive, fun, inspring and safe events for the Web Industry.

As part of our commitment to these values, we've adopted a code of conduct for all involved: ourselves, our speakers, our partners and our audience.

If you have any concern or feedback, please don't hesitate to contact us.