The Lead Developer - guidance for entering the CFP

We’re delighted that you’re thinking of submitting a proposal to The Lead Developer Call for Papers, whether it be for New York (February 2017) or London (June 2017).

Why you?

Everyone has something to share – and we’d love The Lead Developer to be the conference where you choose to share it. We are keen and committed to getting submissions from as broad, diverse and representative a range of potential speakers as we possibly can.

We have a strong Code of Conduct that we emphasise and are committed to, and our conference staff and volunteers are ready and trained to respond to any issues. Speaker travel and accommodation is funded, and we will book things and pay for them upfront to save you having to submit expenses afterwards if you prefer. We also offer an honorarium to thank you for your time. The night before the conference, we host a low-key speaker dinner so you can meet your fellow speakers and get to know the chair and organisers too. Post-conference, you’ll receive professional photos of yourself onstage, and we make videos of all the talks available for free online following the conference, with speakers of course retaining copyright.

Who would you be speaking to?

Our audience consists of tech leads, lead developers, and engineering managers, as well as CTOs and VP Engineering folk. They are consistently technical (across a very broad range of technologies and industries) and at minimum coaching and leading, with many also line managing people in their organisations. Some folks also attend when they have just been promoted, or when they are trying to figure out what skills they need to develop in order to progress into a tech lead role.

We also welcome product owners, scrum masters, agile coaches, designers, content designers and anyone else involved in delivering technical or digital products who is interested in our programme of speakers to attend, but our primary focus is content that is useful to technical leaders.

What are we looking for?

Our three main themes for The Lead Developer are Team, Tech & Tools.

We have two types of talk slot – a ten minute lightning talk, and a 30 minute full length talk. If you’re able to flex your talk to fit either slot, please tell us!

We tend to have a lot more submissions for full length talks, and so if you can do a great 10 minute talk you might have a better chance of being selected.

Some examples of topics around Team that interest us include:

  • Anything related to leadership
  • People management techniques
  • Creating inclusive environments
  • Attracting, recruiting and retaining great (diverse) talent
  • Team dynamics
  • Helping teams be most effective
  • Communication – interpersonal, interteam, interorg/dept/company
  • Helping people develop at all levels (including junior devs/interns/graduates, career paths, personal development for developers)
  • Creating and maintaining great cultures
  • Challenging issues (such as burnout, mental health and imposter syndrome)

The kinds of talks that work well for Tech include:

  • Overviews of new languages, frameworks and technologies
  • Trends and changes in the way things are being built and operated
  • Case studies or approaches for dealing with common problems, for example rapid scaling

Bear in mind that though our audience is typically technical, folks come from all different kinds of organisations and specialisations – so an overview of new approaches for building mobile apps might be appropriate, but a deep dive into Swift likely isn’t going to be super accessible for everyone in the audience.

For the Tools theme, we mean tools as well as process and ways of working, including:

  • Agile and other modes of delivery
  • Tech and tools you use to help your team be most productive / effective
  • Processes: for doing support brilliantly, or how you keep on top of your backlog of bugs, or how out of hours call outs are handled by your team, for instance
  • Ways of keeping current
  • Approaches to personal development for tech leads themselves

What if your talk idea doesn't fit exactly?

If you have a proposal or idea for a talk that doesn’t fit exactly into these themes, or works across more than one, please do submit it! We keep a slot or two available for “wildcards” – something that doesn’t necessarily exactly fit the description of the themes above, but we nevertheless feel would be interesting, inspiring or entertaining for our attendees. There is absolutely no harm in submitting something that might be a little left field – we will consider it alongside all the other submissions.

Send us your submission!