With just two weeks to go until CukeUp! London (June 23rd) I've spent some time catching up with a few people involved in the conference this year. My first conversation is with Arti Mathanda, who has made an enormous contribution to CukeUp! since joining our programme committee a couple of years ago. Here goes.

Hi Arti! We’ve been friends for ages but I’m not sure all of our readers will know you so well. Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you get into the software industry?

I kinda just stumbled into the software industry. My dream as a kid was to be a flight attendant so that I could make loads of money while travelling the world. I tried it for 3 months & HATED it. So much for childhood dreams!

Later on, for various reasons I had to move to the US and I decided to do a Masters degree there. I picked Computing because I thought it was a safe bet career wise. Thankfully, I enjoyed what I got myself into!

You’ve been helping me pull together the programme and general atmosphere at CukeUp for a few years now. Do you remember why you agreed to get involved in the first place? How have you seen the conference change since then?

I can't remember how exactly I got involved in helping with CukeUp. I know why I do it though. I often despair at the lack of representation of minorities in the industry and wanted to actually do something about it. Helping with CukeUp meant that I got to do exactly that. It's quite amazing the strides we've made. I want to be careful not to get complacent and pat ourselves on our backs but the diversity of our speakers (and attendants) has gotten better with every year & the line up this year is just fantastic.

How would you describe CukeUp to someone who’s never been before?

CukeUp is a welcoming community event where you get to learn about different aspects of what makes a software product team perform and tick. This includes code, tests, collaboration and arguably most importantly - culture.

From your experience, what do you think is the secret to getting effective communication happening between business and technical people?

Literally just talk to one another! All too often I see teams where the business stakeholders have no time to spend with the product team and all the communications happen via disjointed emails.

If your product is important to you - go sit with your development team. If you can't do it all day, do it for a few hours a day.
If you want to build the right thing in the right way for your business, insist on regular face time.

And this applies to remote & distributed teams as well. There are tools to collaborate effectively in a virtual environment.

It's quite magical what happens when you make all involved parties sit together and collaborate.

Join us at CukeUp! on June 23rd. Book your ticket today.