Made Tech Blog

Making Tech Better, Season 1 – what a ride!

So, a lot of things happened in 2021, not all good (obvs), but one really GREAT thing happened for us here at Made Tech.

I’d been thinking that I’d love to host a podcast. I thought that, like everything always is, it would be harder and more time consuming than you might think, but still I saw an opportunity to create a podcast for Made Tech, proposed the idea, and got the answer: YES! 

We started researching and experimenting. We asked the wonderful Kat Arney for tips, found a willing volunteer guest (Jessica Kerr), and recorded the first interview. We experimented some more – with format, with extra content, with editing and transcription.

To give it a little something extra we added Storytime, which meant that I got to indulge in my love of storytelling. We focused on people with Hack of the Month and Making Life Better. We recorded more interviews (Paula Paul, Jon Skeet, Kit Collingwood) and more extra content. We found a theme tune. 

Finally in April 2021, we had four fully edited episodes and launched with them all at once. Making Tech Better was born! 

Since then we have published consistently, every fortnight apart from Christmas, for a full twelve months, totalling 29 episodes.

We’ve told you 15 stories – about an all-female team at a hackathon (ep 1), a squash and a squeeze (ep 3), a millennium party (ep 5), a Chinese maths lesson (ep 7), some lost journals (ep 11), a sneaky two-faced coward (ep 15), a stolen van (ep 19), a noisy neighbour (ep 21), a room full of cloves (ep 23), a house on fire (ep 25), some teenage gatecrashers (ep 27) and the secret to delegation (ep 29). We’ve told you about what it’s like to be the only woman in an all-male workplace (ep 13), how it feels when people make assumptions about who your friends should be based on your colour (ep 17), and why allies need to listen and not make assumptions (ep 9). 

And then there’s the guests! Our lovely lovely guests, without whom we would be nothing.

I spoke to Jessica Kerr about team learning, symmathesy, why learning is exciting, and hair!

I spoke to Paula Paul about legacy transformation and why being a consultant can sometimes feel like being a psychiatrist.

I chatted with Jon Skeet about home coding projects, drum machines, stack overflow, experimentation, compassion and inspiring women.

I asked Kit Collingwood from the Royal Borough of Greenwich about tech for the common good, how it feels to live and work in the same neighbourhood, digital transformation and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I communed with Dave Rogers over toxic technology, systemic prejudice, why people learn to accept rubbish tech, toenails and gardening.

I talked to Aino Corry about retrospectives, octopii and other cephalopods, repetition, Prime Directive ignorance, teaching and cognitive load.

We had a LIVE LAUNCH EPISODE (exciting!) with Esther Derby on people and patterns, containers, blaming people because it’s easy, and there was that unforgettable “smoking meat” misunderstanding.

I chatted with Kevlin Henney about balancing change, enacting rituals without understanding, stirring up the pot with external skills, the importance of autonomy, and why train stations keep an eye out for “a Kevlin Henney”. 

I talked to Anne-Marie Imafidon for Women in Engineering Week about becoming digitally literate, getting into the room to have an influence, invisible women and why periods matter.

I chatted with Meri Williams about changing legacy systems, big bang cutouts, new constraints, team motivation and why people aren’t muppets.

I spoke to Fritz von Runte about service design, why not all services can be digitised, why seeing is understanding, why the best design is invisible and why naysayers are not the enemy.

My co-host Kyle Chapman had a good old natter with Emily Webber about communities of practice, assisted serendipity, learned helplessness and quality over quantity.

I spoke to Jon Hassell during disability awareness week about digital accessibility, personalisation, accessible tools, javascript and transcripts.

I had a lovely chat with Mia Ridge about crowdsourcing at the British library, being involved with something bigger than yourself, online communities, threshold fear and gatekeeping.

I made a Brand New Friend in the delightful Geepaw Hill when we talked about #TestDrivenDevelopment, trunk based development, the “lump of coding” fallacy, substance abuse and why #BlackLivesMatter.

I talked to Matthew Skelton about team topologies, the fast flow of change, what happens when your teams are not clearly defined, the inverse Conway manoeuvre and team sizes.

I chatted with Charlene Hunter for black history month about #CodingBlackFemales, diversity in the recruitment pool, companies who aren’t committed to diversity, our @madetech academy programme, mentorship and how diversity is not about one-size-fits-all.

I spoke to Daniel Terhorst-North about when a test is not a test, why Example Guided Design is a better name than TDD, why testing is for stakeholders, why TDD is like mountaineering, and what a 10x tester is.

I chatted with Emily Bache about refactoring, trunk based development, how to find the safe route, the value of the ensemble and why you need tests to refactor:

I talked to Craig Bass about the @madetech academy programme, why experience isn’t everything, why we mentor people to help them apply, unconscious bias and how to challenge it.

My co-host Kyle Chapman stepped in again on a great conversation with Sam Newman about microservices, why there’s always a schema whether you think there is or not, what your boss does / doesn’t care about and how not to eliminate cross team communication.

I spoke to Lou Downe, ex GDS service design expert, about what a good service looks like and why placing the user at the heart of everything will lead to good services that are discoverable, will cross organisational boundaries and do exactly what you need them to do.

Catt Small told me some inspirational stories about how to avoid designing harmful experiences, and how to step away from process and tools and focus on getting things done. 

Ted M. Young gave me chapter and verse on hexagonal architecture, why it will make your code more testable and how it will help you to keep your domain login independent from the outside world. 

Dr J Harrison talked to me about making teams more inclusive, the difference between diversity and inclusion, and how to be an ally and help to create safe spaces. 

I spoke to Ryan Bergman about the open source landscape – how open source code is licensed and maintained, how to respond to security threats and why continuous integration improves your ability to keep everything up to date. 

Alex Herbert and I had a wonderful conversation just after LGBT+ History Month, about some inspirational LGBT+ figures in our industry, and about how employees and colleagues can create a welcoming environment to enable people across the LGBT+ spectrum to come to work as themselves. 

Katy Armstrong from DLUHC shared all her wisdom and experience on the topic of servant leadership and ​​how to empower teams to do their best work by removing blockers, identifying vision and giving them everything they need. 

Finally came the season finale, and I had a delightful chat with Karl Dickman from DWP Digital about what good product management looks like, and how to make sure that people from all backgrounds know what choices are available in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). 

Phew! That was one hell of a podcast season. It’s been an incredible honour to come on this journey with Made Tech. I’m moving on to other adventures now, but I’m sure Season Two will be every bit as stimulating as Season One. In the meantime, if you haven’t heard all the episodes, you’ve got some catching up to do and a lot of treats in store.

About the Author

Clare Sudbery Lead Engineer at Made Tech

Clare Sudbery

Lead Engineer at Made Tech

Clare is a maths graduate with 21 years of software engineering experience and a particular interest in teaching and mentoring; encouraging more women into IT; and banishing imposter syndrome.