It was early April 2020, we were marooned in our respective homes.
Everyone was going through their own lockdown experiences (and challenges) and we were fascinated with how other tech leaders were dealing with these extraordinary events.
So we launched Lockdown Learnings, a series of online interviews with tech leaders locked down around the world.
It resulted in a remarkably candid series of conversations that covered the personal, the professional and a remarkable % of them admitting that tech was a 2nd career choice, after rock star.
One of the questions we asked was, “What is the one questions you’d like to ask other tech leaders?”. This article collects some of their responses;
Marcin Floryan, Director of Engineering, Spotify
“I would love to hear how they think about complexity, and how they think about leadership, especially inclusive leadership”
Colin McQuade, Former Head of Technology, Barclays International
“I would like to hear their views on extended supply chains and do we actually need all this physical real estate?
There are lot of companies where tens & tens of thousands of people are working from home, who the company would never have, under normal circumstances, allowed. There will be other companies who are no longer in expensive real estate and what they’re going to find is as they get better and better at this, there are some pretty big questions to be asked”
Ben Jones, Group CTO, GfK
“Would you like to go for a beer after this?”
Jerome Pimmel, Software Development Manager, AWS
“What are other tech leaders doing to maintain their team dynamic and cohesion throughout these kinds of times?
There are newly formed teams and well-established teams so how are they breaking down the wall of isolation by creating different virtualised experiences that help the team to bond and stay socially connected, that’s certainly a hard thing to do with just video”
Tim Hooley, Chief Technologist, Red Hat
“I’d like to know from other people, what’s the thing that they were focusing on before the lockdown that they’ve realised wasn’t really that important?
So what’s changed in their priorities, that’s been unexpected?”
Shilpa Shah, Programme Director for Deloitte Delivery
“I would like to understand, how are senior leaders in tech looking after their people?
Ultimately tech is a people business, so how are they making sure that their people are getting on with experiencing situations, with the right level of support and how are they going to help them through this lockdown and the pandemic”
Paul Kane, Director of Technology, ITV
“How are they going to use the experience gained during lockdown to adapt to the new normal?
What are they thinking about in terms of what they will take away from this lockdown, what are they going to implement, going to change based on that. There’s definitely going to be a new normal we have to adapt to”
Gitte Klitgaard, Agile Coach, Keynote Speaker
“What are they doing to look after themselves to ensure they have the energy to remain effective tech leaders?
How do you, what do you do around self-care, like how do you take care of yourself so that you have the energy to take care of others because that’s what most senior leaders do in one way or another”
Graham Calder, Former CIO Gala Coral Group
“In what ways do they think their role will change post lockdown?
I’d be very interested to ask them, how they see their role changing in a post covid 19 world, do they see it staying the same, are they anticipating a big shift in it, do they see it accelerating the agenda they’ve already been on. I’d love to understand what they’re planning in the few moments they’ll be getting when they’re not dealing with fires every day. How do you think the role is going to change if at all, it might not”
Petter Abrahamsen, Enterprise Architect, Norwegian Police
“What are they going to use this experience for tomorrow?
How are they going to use this entire lockdown? To kind of do things in a new way tomorrow. I’m kind of excited, you asked me about technology earlier on but I’m pretty sure without me knowing quite what it is yet that a lot of people have found ways to do this or new approaches to using what we already have I would very much like to see how it works “
Dominik Maximini, Senior Agile Coach and Author
“I’m quite curious about what belief systems were shattered by the lockdown?
So what were they adamant about before and now changed”
Alistair Joy, Head of Data Management, Nordea
“How are you going to deal with the feedback/fallout from off the cuff decisions made to get through the lockdown?
How are you getting on and dealing with the day-to-day?
How are you going to handle the feedback you’re going to get from all the decisions we’ve had to make slightly off the cuff, in terms of the approaches we’ve taken because day to day we keep moving, it’s been quite fluid particularly if you’re in an international organization and there’s going to be a lot of stuff we’re going to have to pick up the pieces from afterwards once the situation has truly stabilised. How are you going to approach that with your organisation”
Hendrik Esser, Manager Special Projects, Ericsson
“How are you managing the complexity of today’s business environment with all the interrelations between things? We are at the moment moving from individual value streams, every company has a value stream and now we have more value ecosystems where different companies are working together to solve the larger problems of society and technology and that would be a question, how are you going about these challenges”