Part 5: Leading big projects

October 27, 2020 • 11am – 2pm EDT • EMEA and APAC replays


Tanya Reilly

Principal Software Engineer


Tanya Reilly

Session summary

Big technical projects bring big technical challenges, but they’re also hard to grapple with as a leader. Planning projects, making sure they stay on track, and being quickly able to reassess and reorient are all key factors in making a project a success.

In this session, we’ll focus on the leadership aspect of running big projects, and you’ll leave with:

  • Principles for how to begin to plan and conceptualise big projects
  • An understanding of your role as a leader throughout the process
  • How to track a project against targets and deadlines
  • How to pivot strategy and quickly reorient your team

Talks and panels

Juan Pablo Buritica

Iterating with a purpose

In talk, we’ll be exploring what you need to think about when you start a new project. How do you decide and agree what your goals are and understand how you’ll measure their successes and failures. We’ll also explore how to build alignment and get teams working from the same page.

Kripa Krishnan

Avoid the Lake!

Large programs are as much about bringing people, teams, and organizations together as much as it is about building and delivering technology. This talk is a brief overview of frequently overlooked steps in execution and proposes small changes to consider to significantly reduce friction during execution.

Katie Sylor-Miller, Ale Paredes, Mohit Cheppudira

[Panel] Sustaining and growing motivation across projects

In this panel, we’ll explore how to sustain motivation across long projects, including how to celebrate victories but also how to quickly bounce-back from any obstacles that occur. We’ll also consider how to motivate individuals as well as the teams that they sit on.

Sarah Wells

Landing projects successfully

Getting projects across the finish line is a challenge, particularly for projects where you need other teams to do something - for example, to migrate to a new tool or a new version of an API. This talk will cover how to increase the likelihood that those teams will do what you need them to do, through a focus on clarity, communication, and empathy. It will cover some ideas for nudging behaviour too.

Timings around the world

Live show October, 27

Daytime in North America, early evening in Europe and Africa.

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EMEA friendly replay October, 28

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APAC friendly replay October, 28

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About Tanya Reilly

Tanya Reilly is a principal software engineer at Squarespace working on infrastructure and site reliability. Before Squarespace she spent 12 years in Site Reliability Engineering at Google. She is originally from Ireland, but is now an enthusiastic New Yorker.

Tanya likes raspberry pi, coding on trains and figuring out how systems will break. She blogs at

Got questions?

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