Category: The World of Tech

Three ways we can get smarter about transportation

Smart cars need smarter roads

One of the many exciting parts of starting my new job at Ocado Technology has been the ability to go on a buddy route. For those who don’t work at Ocado, the buddy route offers new employees the option of accompanying one of our drivers...

categories: The World of Tech

Grocery retail looks to technology for future growth

A recent report from Kantar Worldpanel revealed that the global e-commerce grocery market has experienced a 15% growth in 2016 and is now worth over $48bn in sales. The research also showed that Great Britain is the world’s third largest market for grocery e-commerce, outstripping the United States by...

categories: The World of Tech

How the Internet of Things is changing grocery retail

Although several analysts have recently downplayed their predictions for the consumer side of the Internet of Things market, IoT adoption in the enterprise segment is currently experiencing a boom.

One of the areas where IoT is set to make a huge impact is the online grocery retail...

categories: The World of Tech

Ocado Technology talks data science at meetup in London

Last week Ocado Technology had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the Data Science Festival organized at Google’s London headquarters in Soho. I was very lucky to be among the 200+ participants in the audience and would like to share with you a few insights from the Data...

categories: The World of Tech

Getting code reviews right (and why it matters)

These insights on how (and why) to do code reviews well are based on my own experiences.

Code reviews require a lot of different approaches depending on the situation, and it’s impossible to define them all. But while a completely definitive guide is probably impossible, with these recommendations, you should...

categories: The World of Tech

Statistical testing in Google BigQuery

Some time ago I needed to schedule a weekly BigQuery job that involved some statistical testing. Normally I do all statistical work in R, but since our query scheduler wasn’t capable of talking to R I decided to try a pure BigQuery solution (rather than go through the hassle of...

categories: The World of Tech

The Goldilocks trial, or, how to get team sizes just right

Productivity and team size

What is the ideal team size? Many suggest seven people – give or take one. Small teams in my experience are more efficient and need less management oversight. Recently our Business Planning Systems (BPS) team reached 10 people. We started to experience a declining trend in...

categories: The World of Tech

Code for Life World Tour part 1 – Poland

Poland is a beautiful country: great (and cheap) beer, pierogi, dragons and dwarves, castles, computer geeks… But something was missing: Code For Life volunteers!

A group of Code for Lifers from our Hatfield office have been visiting our international offices to spread the word about the initiative and drum...

categories: The World of Tech

Why has a rainbow thrown up on my calendar?

Is there more to a PO’s work-life than meetings? Meetings are critical to my role: gathering requirements, progress updates, scrum meetings, department future and town hall sessions, validation sessions, one-to-ones, post mortems, Q&A sessions, regular catch-up sessions, and the list goes on...

This blog will shed some light on different...

categories: The World of Tech

Playtime with the BBC micro:bit – getting to grips with new education technology

The BBC micro:bit is finally out! Last week I headed over to the University of Hertfordshire to have some fun programming it.

Mike Platt, from the university’s School of Education, was very welcoming and lent us some of the precious micro:bits to play with. There were around 10 teachers...

categories: The World of Tech

Test your team with this communication skills game

Communication is important. Not just for a Product Owner, but the whole team. Especially if it’s not a collocated one.

Here is an excellent test for your team: a fun exercise that will uncover communication issues that nobody was aware of.

Setup:

  • Time needed: 45 – 60 minutes (30...
categories: The World of Tech

So you think you’re an expert? Role reversal will open your eyes.

My team designs tools for our delivery drivers. We were pretty confident we knew the challenges they faced and the solutions they needed. But what if we were wrong?

Here’s how we made sure our products actually make their lives better!

We started our research by shadowing users. All team...

categories: The World of Tech

How to create team roadmaps – Product Owner blog 4

In this blog I’ll show you how to create simple, easy-to-follow roadmaps for the whole team to buy into (and stick to!).

My roadmap philosophy is ‘plan to achieve specified deliverables over a defined time period. This plan is dynamic, and goal and data driven (measurable)’.

A few key points:

...
categories: The World of Tech

Want to improve your product? Stop coding.

We all know that what developers want to do with their time is write code, but in Logistics Planning we took a whole week away from that. So why? And was it really worth it?

I began working for Ocado Technology in October. In this short time we have moved...

categories: The World of Tech

An innovative approach to capture innovative ideas – Product Owner blog 3

I find that people put an overwhelming focus on product innovation, but not necessarily on innovative approaches to capturing those novel ideas. With this in mind I decided to focus my efforts on finding a new way to stimulate idea creation for our team.

I knew I wanted to actively...

categories: The World of Tech

‘Has the robot uprising begun?’ Stuff Innovators panel discussion

Earlier this month I took part in a panel discussion on robotics at Stuff Innovators 2015.

I shared the stage with Patrick Levy Rosenthal CEO of EmoShape, they produce a microchip for robots aimed at producing emotional responses, and Nicolas Boudot from Aldebaran, the company that developed a...

categories: The World of Tech

Why you should work in… Algorithm Development

My team researches, implements and analyses new automation mechanisms. We sit within the Simulation and Visualisation area and our focus is mainly on the company's huge CFCs (Customer Fulfilment Centres – warehouses).

Essentially, we create simulations that we then use as sandboxes to test out different control algorithms.

This could...

categories: The World of Tech

Why you should work in… Simulation Research

My team builds simulations of physical systems. Our work falls into 3 categories: experimental, tactical, and operational.

At the experimental end, we build simulations and design tools for new technologies and warehouse layouts, along with prototype control algorithms.

Tactically, we try out proposed changes to our warehouse topologies...

categories: The World of Tech

How we set up ChatOps within Slack

Recently we have started using Slack internally in an effort in improve cross-team/department communication. In addition, a small group of us have been following the ChatOps movement and at our very first Innovation Day (similar to Atlassian ShipIt days), we had a chance to set up ChatOps within Slack.

...
categories: The World of Tech

What can young women learn from the Stemettes?

One of the fantastic consequences of our Code for Life initiative is the interest we attract from STEM and educational charities looking to collaborate. Here’s the lowdown on our visit to the Stemettes.

We celebrated Code for Life’s first anniversary on 1st September, and we’re continuing to develop new...

categories: The World of Tech

What technology do you need when working with teams not collocated? Product Owner blog 2

In my first blog post I illustrated the many factors to take into consideration when building a cohesive team. This time I want to explore the technology available.

Can you make do without technology in building an effective non-collocated team? For me the answer is yes. But would that...

categories: The World of Tech

Soft robotics – what I’ve learnt about the revolution

Pisa/IIT SoftHand by M. G. Catalano, G. Grioli, E. Farnioli, A. Serio, C. Piazza and A. Bicchi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

I’m very excited about a new wave of robot development known as soft robotics (technical name: variable stiffness actuators), so when I saw...

categories: The World of Tech

How to work with teams not collocated – Product Owner blog 1

As a Product Owner working with a team across two different countries, there are lots of problems to tackle to make sure projects run smoothly. In this series of blog posts, I will explore how my team and I have overcome issues.

For a bit of background info, I’m based...

categories: The World of Tech

No degree? No problem. Meet our award-winning apprentice.

Getting a headstart in technology can be hard work if you haven’t followed the traditional uni route, but it’s far from impossible. We interviewed Ocado Technology apprentice Ryan Scales to see how and why he did things differently.

As winner of Apprentice of the Year, he should know a thing...

categories: The World of Tech

C# 6.0 introduces ‘nameof’ – a short but sweet blog 2

To continue my look at C# 6.0 I was going to talk about inline variable declaration – a feature I hope we will see in a future version of the language but which has been cut after having made it into the technical preview. Instead, I’ll quickly talk about...

categories: The World of Tech

Why C# 6.0 is my big launch of 2015 – blog 1

With the approach of Visual Studio 2015, the new features of C# 6.0 are being finalised. Whilst this release doesn’t contain any of the paradigm-shifting changes of previous language updates (think Linq), it does provide a lot of syntactic sugar that seasoned C# developers have been requesting for a long...

categories: The World of Tech