Meet Dan Harper

Dan is a dynamic software engineering executive with over twenty years of experience in the industry. His strengths are in the transformation of engineering practices, increasing quality, security, reliability, speed to market and implementing effective DevOps and Continuous Delivery practices. Dan strives to create cultures of customer feedback, innovation, experimentation and autonomy that helps to attract and retain awesome engineers. The end goal: to deliver software products that customers love! 


About Dan’s talk

From Chaos to Cohesion: Autonomy’s Impact on a Startup’s Journey


We usually hold autonomy as a desired goal for our teams, but sometimes, it can go horribly wrong! 

Autonomy for teams is a worthy goal, usually helping teams move and respond faster to customer needs as more knowledge is gained over time. When you’re working in a startup, you would think that this would be the ultimate opportunity for autonomy utopia. There’s less hierarchy, less process, less bureaucracy, and you’re much closer to the customer. Whilst you can easily achieve autonomy in a startup, the lack of support and process for teams can end up in chaos.

At we had the opportunity to start our teams and way of working from scratch. This allowed some opportunity for experimentation in building a culture that created a fun, fast moving learning environment that delivered effectively for our customers. We originally took quite a creative approach to team structures and autonomy.

In this session, we dive deep into some of the experiments that we ran. We’ll cover the downsides of over-indexing for autonomy, and what changes we made to eventually form a high performing team.

Ready to dive in?