Ireland | Product CTO

Alan Carbery

Async Communication and Deep Work
Alan Carbery, Product CTO

Hi. I’m Alan Carbery and I joined as Product CTO in 2018. Earlier in my career, I was a CTO and led architecture and product management teams.

When the software industry switched to agile methodologies a number of years ago and ditched the up front spec in favour of user stories, I found myself spending the majority of my time sitting in refinement meetings trawling through lists of JIRA tickets instead of working on designs and architectures. This was even more challenging when some of the team-members were in a timezone 8 hours ahead of me and others were 5 hours behind. Every day was emails and meetings with little time for anything else. The more important and urgent something was the more meetings and emails were required which meant more time on “busy-work” and less time to do the real work. 

Sometimes little value is given to time spent working independently. Important decisions are often made on the fly in meetings with little preparation or worse, the decisions are not made and further meetings are scheduled. It’s different in Crossover because Deep Work and Asynchronous Communication are practiced. Deep Work means that you eliminate all distractions (email, calls, other urgent tasks) for an extended period of time, achieve high levels of concentration and focus on producing a single item. This allows me to learn quickly and make good technical decisions. Asynchronous Communication complements this by moving the majority of our communications away from live chat and video. We still get to talk and chat but we design processes so that it is not a necessary part of delivering our work. 

This environment really suits the technical work of product management and architecture and I get great satisfaction from the deep understanding of the subject matter that it allows.