Sam Phillips Startups, Technology, Agile.

Sam Phillips

I'm a passionate and bright technology leader with a deep engineering background, customer focus and commercial drive.

I build and run engineering projects and teams, write code, coach on agile process and solve problems with technology. I've worked with businesses of all sizes from large e-commerce websites, to SaaS products, to specialised retailers and service providers.

I've been a part of two successful acquisitions - I was developer #1 at On The Beach Travel - built in 2005, sold in 2007. I'm currently Head of Engineering at Shutl and was part of the team that sold the business to eBay in 2013.

I believe that every project can be made easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved - and that there is always a win-win solution, if you look hard enough. I’m happiest when I’m learning.


Empowering everybody to be devops

The Shutl engineering team has been operating with a DevOps mentality for over two years. We started by rebuilding our infrastructure under Chef and embedding our operations engineers into our agile product development process.

These are the practical steps we took to move to a model where our whole engineering team could work on our infrastructure. Read more >

Do we understand our startup equity options?

1 in 4 people with startup equity options is in for a surprise.

After both good and bad experiences with startup equity options, I wrote and researched this piece based upon survey data from the UK and US tech communities. Read more >

Focus daily standups on value, not activity or individuals

The daily standup (or daily scrum) is the bedrock of an agile process - and it should be kept enjoyable and useful, because that's the only way that it'll definitely continue to happen. A frequent complaint about this meeting, which erodes from its enjoyability and its utility, is a simple one - that it simply takes too long. Read more >

Implementing company-wide agile

We've been looking recently at how we can use agile techniques not only within the product team, but also across the whole company, and over the last 6 months we've evolved our process. Always opting for a daily standup, we started with having the leaders from each team get together every morning - and later extended the attendance to the entire company. Read more >

More writing >


Forward Partners Live: Scaling Engineering

Forward Partners invited me to speak in July 2015 on how we scaled Shutl's engineering team pre and post acquisition.


  • QCon London, 2014
  • Women Who Code London, August 2015
  • codebar London, July 2015, November 2014
  • Seedcamp CTO Day, 2015
  • Etail Europe, 2014
  • GraphDB San Francisco, May 2014
  • Makers Academy, October 2013
  • London Ruby User Group, July 2012
  • MagRails, 2011

Building - an advanced REST client

I wanted an API client that was easy to use, stored everything for me, formatted JSON/XML, allowed me to organise my requests and to share them quickly with others via Slack/Email.

It didn't exist, so I built it :) Try it out!