Adel Smee

Engineering Team Lead at Zendesk

Adel is an Engineering Team Lead at Zendesk, a customer relationship software company based in San Francisco. She started her tech career as a programming teacher but after seven years of telling people how to do something she had never done professionally, thought it was time to move into industry. Building software for a startup that was well conceived and executed but poorly marketed and funded, she saw first hand that success involves a lot more than quality engineering.

Next she moved to Lonely Planet and watched the company struggle to transform from print business to digital media with mixed success. Adel now leads a team of engineers innovating on the Zendesk product suite.

Adel is interested in refining the secret herbs and spices that go towards producing software of value; meaningful work, transparent and supportive management, diversity of thought, willingness to fail, competent team members, trust and effective communication are some. The challenge of finding and maintaining a productive, happy balance of these elements is one she finds continually engaging.

Adel is also fortunate enough to be able to share her enthusiasm for software development with others and can be seen talking to students and technologists in various forums around Melbourne.

YOW! CTO Summit 2016 Melbourne

What I Learned About Hiring when Looking for Work as a Software Development Team


As someone who has spent several years continuously iterating towards a more accurate and inclusive hiring process for software developers I thought I had a pretty good handle on how to hire well. After a mass redundancy my team and I decided to look for work together. We chose two of Melbourne’s best technology companies, went through their hiring processes and came out the other side with varied and contradictory results. Both companies have a sensible version of a best practises hiring process so how could the outcomes have been so different?

Here’s my take on why and how my thinking around hiring has changed because of it.