Software Leadership Summit

2020 Details Coming Soon

Compare what’s working with other software leaders and glimpse the future at Construx’s Software Leadership Summit. 

Hosted by Code Complete and More Effective Agile author, Steve McConnell, the Summit provides a unique forum for Top Software Leaders to update your understanding of what software development approaches are working, who’s doing them well, what’s on the horizon—and take away countless insights that will benefit your software organization.

Last Year’s Keynotes

More Effective Agile Leadership

Steve McConnell

CEO, Construx, Author of Code Complete

Leaning Into Your Company’s Future

James Whitaker

Principal Software Engineering Lead, Microsoft

Closing the Professionalism Gap

Bob Martin

Founder,, Uncle Bob Consulting

Creating a Culture of Product Leadership

Jeff Patton

CEO, Jeff Patton & Associates, Author of User Story Mapping

Last Year’s Leadership Discussions

Expert facilitators guide discussions that focus on nuts-and-bolts issues of leading software teams at the organizational level. You’ll have the opportunity to learn from true executive peers, some of whom are facing leadership challenges similar to yours, and some of whom have already overcome them. This unique opportunity is unmatched by any other event. 

Discussion topics focus on a mix of current challenges and advance views of emerging issues.

Many technical approaches can seem like they’re designed for work that’s the opposite of what you’re doing. If you’re mostly working on legacy systems, modern approaches can seem to be designed for greenfield development—and vice versa. What are the real differences between developing for greenfield systems and legacy systems? What are realistic approaches to testing a legacy monolith vs. a brand new microservices architecture? What are practical approaches to handling technical debt on both kinds of systems? How are teams structured differently? Is one kind of development more suited to Scrum than the other? To Kanban? How do you address multi-tasking of staff, including production support, in both cases? Most companies are dealing with a mix of greenfield and legacy work, and this discussion will be an opportunity to benchmark approaches and learn from the approaches that are working best at other companies.

Even organizations that have thoroughly adopted Agile eventually hit an Agile boundary—an interface that cannot be made Agile. The boundary might be an external interface with an enterprise customer or a key supplier or partner, or to standards or to a regulatory group. Or it might be an internal interface—to the project approval or budgeting process or HR policies. In less-than-fully Agile organizations, the boundary might be closer to home—including to a hardware development group or to non-Agile teams within the same organization. What approaches have companies used to deal with the Agile boundary effectively? How far should you push Agile practices and principles into the non-software parts of your business—what’s the practical limit, and where’s the point of diminishing returns?

Whether a result of a global growth strategy, a cost-savings initiative, or acquisition, most companies have project teams that span time zones and cultures. At the same time, companies are increasing their use of work from home (WFH), aka teleworkers. Leading a force of distributed teams and remote workers requires a different approach than leading co-located teams. What are the keys to leading such a workforce successfully? How do you allocate roles and responsibilities across locations? Are there kinds of projects that just won’t work remotely? What are the most sustainable ways to handle time zone differences, communication, and travel? What tools are most useful? How do you support professional development for remote workers? How do you do performance reviews, and how do you determine when remote working isn’t working?

Organizational structure is rarely discussed but is critical to effective software development. Do you organize your teams as full stack, cross-functional, or some other kind? How do you work with a matrix organization? How do you organize test specialists on teams, what are their exact responsibilities, and who do they report to? What do the traditional roles of a project manager, engineering manager, and business analyst play in Agile development? How do you organize architects, UX specialists, data specialists, and other specialists on your Agile teams? How about production support? What does your reporting structure look like? How do you do performance reviews on Agile teams? What role do communities of practice play? This promises to be one of the meatiest topics of the Summit.

Architecture has never been easy, and Agile development has raised the question of whether it should be done at all. What is the role of architecture and design in an Agile world? How much architecture is enough, and when should your teams perform architecture work? Who is responsible for that work, and how do you organize those architects and designers on your teams? How do you vary your approach depending on project size, criticality, and legacy vs. greenfield? Despite being discounted in recent years, architecture remains a cornerstone of effective development. Learn what other companies are doing well in this impactful discussion.

A core part of any software leader’s job is developing the capabilities of less senior staff. Cultivation of current and future leaders is an especially high priority, as is a focus on high-potential technical staff. Does it work better to focus on maximizing strengths or shoring up weaknesses? Do technically excellent staff make good leaders? What does an effective leadership development program look like? What does an effective professional development program look like overall? How do companies structure career paths for technical vs. management staff?

Every person at this conference has achieved a leadership position. General leadership skills are important, of course, but leading technical staff requires special skills. What do the most effective leaders focus on? How do they spend their time? How do they prioritize? How do they improve? Who do they look to for leadership? What are the latest trends in technical leadership? While much of the rest of the Summit focuses on how to develop your staff and your organization, this topic provides a chance to develop yourself.

Improving productivity is one of the most important topics for software leaders. This key topic touches on myriad high leverage areas, including staff development, technical practices, tools, technology strategy, business skills, business strategy, and other areas. Share experiences, lessons learned, and job-changing insights on this critical topic.

Why Attend?

“I am returning home with so much information to reflect upon. The entire experience was valuable for me to identify the spectrum of practices, techniques, and tools that work for various organizations.”

Heather Brown, Heartflow

“Leaving invigorated and excited! The hard (but rewarding) work begins now.”

Dennis Grinberg, Eaton

“Most valuable? All of it. Peers, speakers, topics, very good. Money well spent.”

Bruce Kenny, Webtrends, Inc.

“The content of the conference is only made more effective by the quality of the attendees.”

Keith Marcos, Diamond Resorts

“Learning what’s on the minds of senior/high-level people in different industries. That was really valuable.”

Joakim Sundén, Spotify

“This is by far the most valuable professional conference I have ever attended. Thank you for continuing to provide this forum for discussion among peers. The Construx team is an amazing blend of intelligence and enthusiasm.”

Michael Young, ThermoAnalytics

“The high levels of experience made smooth, high bandwidth conversations.”

Dave Copeland, Stitch Fix

“Thanks for another amazing experience! Wish I’d been able to come every year. You don’t get to network at this level anywhere else.”

Malcolm Campbell, Canon Medical

Who Attends?

At past Software Leadership Summits, 95% of participants have held titles of VP, Director, CTO, or higher.

All participants should have multi-project responsibility for software development at the organization or enterprise level. In most organizations, leaders at this level will have staffs of 50-100 or more. (In smaller organizations the total staff can be slightly smaller).

Attendees will be assigned to discussion groups based on profiles submitted prior to the Summit. Construx reserves the right to limit participation to attendees who meet this description.


Where: 2020 Details Coming Soon

When: 2020 Details Coming Soon

Fee: 2020 Details Coming Soon