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How We Built a Generative Culture at Redgate

Creating an environment where teams have a high sense of ownership and aren’t afraid to take risks is one of the keys to creating a fantastic Product-centric culture. This talk will introduce you Westrum model of culture and (more importantly!) we’ll share some practical steps that Redgate has taken to improve the way we build products by building a generative culture.

What is the focus of your work these days?

I'm head of engineering at Redgate. That means I try to make sure we do more of the things that work, and less of the things that don’t.  A key part of that is setting the long term vision and context so engineering can support the needs of the business.

What is the motivation for your talk?

My talk is about how we build a generative culture at Redgate, and a generative culture is one where you're free to try new ideas, you embrace failure and learn from it, and you're totally open to new ideas and learning from failure. If you can create one of those cultures, you can have every single person in your engineering organization working to continually transform it and bring new ideas. This talk is so important to me because we need to change the way we do engineering at Redgate. And the best way we can do that is by getting every single person across Redgate engineering involved in being that change rather than the awful top down alternative of pointy head boss says you're agile now and then the whole organization changes. I think that's the wrong way to do things.

Will you be talking about the specific case you have in your organization?

The central thesis of my talk is that actions speak louder than words. If you want to change your culture, the way you do that is by changing what you do. And I'll be exploring that through some case studies at Redgate where we faced some of the challenges, we've had teams unable to communicate with each other effectively. We've had learning and development efforts that haven't quite worked out. And in the talk, I talk through some of the things Redgate has done to ameliorate these issues and you'll hear what's worked and just as much importantly, what hasn't worked.

How do you describe the target persona for your talk?

The target persona is anyone who's in a leadership position or a position of authority / influence. Anyone that works with people is probably the right level. Which is probably everyone. Right?

And what do you want this persona to walk away from your talk with?

Armed with the knowledge that they can start helping to change their culture from the second they get back to work on Monday morning, they can take any number of actions to change the culture. The important thing is flipping that mindset, from culture is a large change project that needs to involve hundreds of people too I can start to change my culture today. 


Jeff Foster

Head of Product Engineering @redgate

Jeff is Head of Product Engineering at Redgate. He leads continuous improvement across engineering and is responsible for setting the technical strategy and maintaining a focus on the trends that shape our industry. He works closely with everyone in development to create an environment that...

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