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Speaker Interview with Simon Tarry, Ticketmaster Article

Read our exclusive interview with Software Engineering Manager, Simon Tarry from Ticketmaster about his role, key strategies towards software engineering and a preview snapshot to his upcoming presentation at Enterprise Apps World this June.

What does your role involve in Live Nation/Ticketmaster involve and how did you get involved with software engineering?

My current role at Live Nation/Ticketmaster is multi-faceted. I have managed multiple agile teams across various platforms including the International Live Nation websites (e.g., e-commerce platforms such as Ticketmaster’s resale site ( and Ticketmaster’s premium ticketing brand Platinum.

I also have a wider strategic role across the international engineering organisation which involves developing initiatives including technical debt management, career development and running communities of practice.

 I first got involved with software engineering when my brother convinced my parents to by a computer when I was 8, back in 1984. By 18 I had created and released my first game which vaguely resembled Tetris.

Following completing my degree in computer science and management studies I spent the next decade at IBM labs working across a range of technologies and business domains, focusing on connecting large scale legacy investments in mainframe technology with the latest developments in web technology.

You have a rather philosophical approach towards software engineering, productivity and team work. Would you be able to share some brief thoughts on your key strategies?

Sure: My 6 strategies are:

1. Keep the vision alive: without vision there is no purpose, and without purpose there is no point and no engagement. A vision is far more than a document – it needs to live in the hearts of those who aspire to it, to create and maintain momentum along the road to its fulfilment.

2. Keep the technology under control: winning the tech debt battle – developing technical strategies and negotiating maintenance work onto road-maps to ensure that the biggest blockers to productivity are being addressed.

3. Keep the teams motivated: engineers love to build; I inspire them not just to build but to build well, by coaching them along a path of mastery of their technical skills.

4. Soft skills program – raising awareness of the need for increased emotional intelligence across the board, to generate harmony across teams and provide the optimal working environment.

5. Shift left. Where agile has sought to smooth the path from requirements to ‘done’, devops smooths the path from ‘done’ to production.

6. Keep the process under control: governance of SDLC processes to ensure they are necessarily light yet maximise the autonomy of teams and members within those teams.

The title of your presentation is Virtual Depreciation: Measuring the IT Debt in Your Organisation (or how Lehman Brothers are you); would you be able to give us a brief insight on what your presentation will be about?

Lehman were one of the highest profile casualties of the financial crash. One of the root causes of this was poorly managed financial debt, with no big picture view of how the subprime debt packages could trigger the entire house of cards to collapse. Debt in IT platforms can also be easily hidden, with most organisations having no clear overall picture of the quantity, depth and variety of debt in their IT real estate. This presentation will show the journey Live Nation/Ticketmaster went on to achieve this, and share what we learnt along the way.

Can you recommend a book, film, article you recently read/watched around software development or technology trends that inspired you?

“How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangible in Business” by Douglas Hubbard ( ) – insights from this book were particularly inspiring, especially the observation that “Measurement is a quantitatively expressed reduction of uncertainty based on one or more observations”.

Why did you decide to join Enterprise Apps World and what are you looking to gain from your attendance?

We believe that what we’ve done at Live Nation/Ticketmaster to measure IT debt is genuinely innovative, and are keen to share this with a wider audience to gain feedback and to see what others are doing. Where better than Enterprise Apps World, where so many leading organisations are coming together? With such a large forum of leading industry lights, it’ll also be a great opportunity personally to learn and gain a refresher on the industry pulse.

See Simon Tarry presentation at Enterprise Apps World on June 24th, Enterprise App Development theatre 10 am – Do not to miss this presentation – register here

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