31 MAY - 1 JUNE 2021 • SOFITEL MELBOURNE 

Update on COVID-19

31 MAY - 1 JUNE 2021 • SOFITEL MELBOURNE

Helen Macqueen

Head of Strategy and Delivery for TED (the Technology, Engineering and Data), Coles IT

Strategy and Agile: BFF or Mortal Enemies?

I’d like to share some of my strong opinions about how to develop and execute Good Strategy and how we’ve been doing it in Coles to create a coherent action plan that enables us to solve the challenges.

Strategy development can sometimes give the impression that it’s a heavyweight activity that results in fluffy buzzwords and high-sounding objectives untethered from the reality of Getting Things Done that is needed on the ground floor of most organisations.

And, it’s true, some “strategy” is exactly like this. I call that strategy: Bad Strategy. But Good Strategy is the best friend of Agile methodologies. It strips away the fluff and buzzwords and provides a clarity of focus that eliminates the possibility of our software teams falling over the cliff of Blind Incremental Development and landing on the Rocks of Waste and Irrelevance.

I’d like to share some of my strong opinions about how to develop and execute Good Strategy and how we’ve been doing it in Coles to create a coherent action plan that enables us to solve the challenges.

About Helen Macqueen

A pretty diverse career including developing CAD/CAM/CAE systems for GM in the UK, setting up and running a software dev company in Zimbabwe, computerising Mozambique’s Customs Department from scratch – analysis, design, testing, implementation and, hardest of all, translating all of the front end into Portuguese – helping a South African bank go agile, running ThoughtWorks Perth for a few years, CDO of a South American airline for a short time, and the Head of Product for a green energy start-up: has all given Helen the opportunity to develop a broad-ranging understanding of leadership in the software industry and how to create awesome teams who build brilliant, valuable software.

Recently taking on the role of Head of Strategy for Technology at Coles is a new and interesting pivot in direction and has supported her life-long learning itch. Her favourite phrases include “perfect is the enemy of good enough, done is better than perfect”, “stop starting, start finishing” and “is everyone drinking enough water?”

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