John Ferguson Smart

Make your next conference deliver!

Get John's monthly tips on more effective software delivery practices.

John is a regular speaker at international conferences and internal events known for his energy, passion and humour. John loves to share his passion for helping teams refocus on delivering value and delighting their clients.

See John in Action

What John's happy clients are saying

We had John and Jan give a keynote at our developer conference. They were engaging and insightful speaking on 'Cultures of Excellence', and it was a nice break from deeply technical sessions of the previous two days. I would also recommend their workshops. We ran a meetup one evening and they walked through the screenplay pattern with SerenityJS which was both ground breaking and relevant for attendees.

Ross Nicholson, Technical Director, Publisher Platforms at AOL

Looking for a speaker to inspire and energise your next conference?

John's keynote talks range from inspiring and thought-provoking challenges to concrete and practical tips that anyone can use to improve their focus on what really matters.

Some of John's more popular talks include:

  • Collaborate like you mean it!

    Collaboration is at the heart of agile. But many teams do it inefficiently and wastefully! In this talk, John takes a long, hard look at the practices and ceremonies used in many teams, and tries to determine which ones were useful, which ones weren't, and why. Though a series of colourful anecdotes, stories and examples, John shows you how you can look at your current practices differently, and turn your team into a mean, lean collaborating machine!

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  • The secret ingredient - the role of Emotional Intelligence in effective software delivery

    Building software is hard, but writing the code is far from the hardest part. Certainly, you need technical skill and a focus on quality, and you need a culture of continuous improvement to keep. But skill and quality alone will not get you across the line.

    You also need to build a shared understanding of what you need to deliver. But a true shared understanding is more than just story cards or gherkin scenarios. Fostering a true shared understanding requires Empathy.

    Come learn the essential role that empathy, and Emotional Intelligence (EI) in general, play in discovering and delivering features that matter. We will discuss the principles behind EI in the context of software development, and learn how all team members can learn how to interact more effectively with the customer and with each other to deliver features that really matter.

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  • Cultures of Excellence

    In today's commercial world, the status quo is not enough. Companies need to excel in what they do, or fall by the wayside. And today, more than ever, the path to successful products is not just through technical prowess, but through flourishing teams.

    Great teams take pride in their work and continually search for self-improvement. They show empathy both within the team and towards business and end users, and an understanding of the bigger picture that helps them focus on delivering high quality features that matter sooner.

    A great teams culture cannot be imposed, but it can be fostered and grown. And, like any other environmental factor, culture can be an enabler or a hinderance. In this talk, John looks at organisations that have succeeded in building cultures where team members flourish, as well as a few spectacular failures. More importantly, John discusses what goes into making a great team culture, as well as some practical tips on what you can do to improve your own team.

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  • Condottieri e Artisti - Mercenaries and Artists in the IT industry

    It was the time of Da Vinci and Michelangelo. It was also the time of Machiavelli and the Medici. Artists working on timeless masterpieces crossed paths with mercenary captains, contracted to do a very specific job.

    This talk addresses important questions with deep implications for any IT team, or any organisation trying to make a difference, or simply to get the most value out of their IT projects. Who is your real customer? Is there a cost to quality? Are you building an artwork that will last, or simply fulfilling a contract?

    An inspiring and entertaining talk that takes listeners on journey from the Italian Renaissance to Silicon Valley and the City of London, and see what lessons can be learned about cultures, attitutes and work ethics today.

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