Talent Talk with Dugald MacDonald

Welcome back to our Talent Talk series. Today we are joined by CIO of Harmoney, Dugald MacDonald, who talks us through his exciting journey to leadership and the power of opportunities. Let’s delve into it:

Q1: Tell us about the journey you’ve taken to get to this place in your career.

I've always been interested in the intersection of technology and leadership. I started my career in technology as a COBOL developer in London in the mid 80's. By the late 80's I started contracting with roles in England, the Netherlands & Italy. This fired my appetite for change so, in 1992, we packed our bags (my girlfriend & I, now my wife) and decided to travel the world. Along the way we stopped at an ex-colleagues house in Auckland. No plans to stay... but one contract led to another, renting led to buying a house, got married and had kids. I got my first taste of leadership with Simpl in the mid-90s, but I wasn't ready, I didn't want to give up on the things that I most enjoyed about software development. Still not sure if NZ was home we spent a year in Washington DC... yep NZ is home! By the mid-2000's I was ready for leadership, however it took a while for the right role to turn up. My real start at technology leadership came in 2008 at ANZ Wealth (ING at the time). ANZ has an excellent leadership program and my 5 years there set me up very well for my leadership journey. Two more senior positions at Serenova & Infotools followed before landing my current role at Harmoney.

Q2: Harmoney recently listed on the ASX. What was behind the decision to make the Australian stock exchange your trading home?

Harmoney undertook a dual listing on the ASX and NZX, providing us access to a wider source of capital and cementing us as a NZ-based company with aspirations to accelerate our growth into the large Australian market.

Q3: As CIO for a business that is going through a period of rapid growth, what are the major considerations for you and your team?

My biggest consideration is how to effectively scale product delivery teams. Operating rhythm is critical for continuous delivery of value to our customers. I need to hire the right engineers and create new teams while maintaining our delivery credibility. Having an efficient structure and on-boarding strategy is crucial to our success.


Q4: What opinion do you have that is 'against the grain' as far as most CIO's are concerned?

I'm not sure this is 'against the grain'... but I moved to a desk in the middle of engineering. I don't cut code or architect the system, but I do want to feel the mood in engineering (good and bad). It's not about being their buddy, more about being a work family. This can be very difficult, as the last thing you want to do is to disrupt the team’s rhythm and ability to have open and critical discussions. Safety is essential for this to succeed. 

Q5: What’s the most valuable leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Give people opportunities. I may overuse that word, but it's true!