Bespoke consulting

Your thought partner in nurturing a healthy culture that is adaptive, resilient, and ready for growth.

With the ever changing environment of emerging technology, digital transformation, and the pandemic, companies are taking a step back and revisiting everything they do. From internal systems and processes, team culture and engagement, to leadership and customer interactions, both online and in person.

We bring decades of experience in the software engineering industry to understand the source and depth of your problems, and turn them into opportunities for growth.

Our goal is to provide customised approaches to achieve your organisational goals and business needs. We support you to lead your company through the challenges, and equip your business with the tools to adapt and evolve, sustainably.

How we can help you:

When the Covid pandemic started we transitioned to remote-only, and our first priority was ensuring our team did not feel isolated from one another. We engaged Blackmill to help as Elle and Lachlan have deep experience with improving engineering culture, being engineers themselves. We entrusted them to come into our business, evaluate, and propose how they could best help us.

Through direct engagement with our team they helped us manage change, and provided us with an approach that worked really well for us. They maintained an independent and fearless focus, and have helped us achieve the results we wanted. Our team is thriving, very deeply connected, and aligned on who we are and how we work. It’s a brilliant outcome.

Suzie Price , Managing Director Alembic

Lachlan stepped into the role of VP of Engineering at Forage on a six month interim basis (after consulting for the company during the year beforehand).

In this role, Lachlan led our team of thirteen software engineers, and played a crucial role in the company’s leadership team. Building an engineering team at a high-growth early stage startup is difficult at the best of times, but Lachlan made it look easy as he embraced the role and our mission with determination and empathy.

The coaching, support, and guidance he provided as an engineering leader was instrumental in shaping our engineering culture, our ability to execute on our product goals, as well as building a world-class platform that could support millions of users. Lachlan was also critical in finding, hiring, and onboarding our next permanent VP of Engineering.

If you’re looking for a driven, kind, experienced engineering leader to assist with coaching, leadership, or general engineering consulting, I could not recommend Lachlan and his team highly enough — the Forage team is extremely lucky to know him.

Tom Brunskill , Co-founder and CEO at Forage

Our work methodology

We pursue a thorough methodology, including some or all of the following stages:

  1. Discover: the discovery stage ensures we have a solid understanding of the underlying problem. We explore and challenge your assumptions, discover the questions you should be asking, and gather relevant data. This phase involves in-depth interviews with necessary stakeholders, and the review of associated and relevant organisational documentation. We typically propose the following Discovery activities:
    • We ask questions to ascertain your software engineering philosophy.
    • We consider your organisational goals and understand these by meeting with stakeholders — usually executives and any other key people.
    • We examine your current processes by meeting with appropriate team members to cover off all relevant processes, and by reviewing existing process documentation.
  2. Define: identify and define the real problem by analysing data, and reviewing findings. We detail the gap between current and aspirational states. We review and synthesise all the information presented to us during discovery, and then consolidate information to build a more complete picture.
  3. Develop: together with you, we brainstorm ideas, and explore a number of possible solutions to the issues at hand. Collaboratively, we identify how to bridge the identified gap, what is missing, and how to approach the solution.
  4. Deliver: we either implement the solution with you or provide advice on how to implement it by yourself.
  5. Check: measure and review results to confirm or invalidate our assumptions and selected solution.
  6. Adjust: we aim to learn something from everything we do, draw conclusions, thoughtfully iterate on our implementation, and standardise practices to prevent the problem from recurring.

We have consulted with both small and established companies to drive long lasting changes that have positively impacted their organisational culture and bottom line.

Want to work with us?

Learn about the process and how much it might cost.

As a small company with a growing customer base, it was clear that our approach to customer support could be more consistent for our customers, and less onerous for our product development team. The value that Blackmill were able to provide was their insight into how similar businesses operate so that we didn't need to reinvent the wheel. With their help we developed a triage-based support process where tickets are distributed to appropriate skillsets, rather than overloading the development team. The process is a simple one that works for our current scale, but can also be adapted as we grow.

Lisa Mayo , Customer Success Manager at Biarri Networks

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Talk to us, we're listening

Would you like to improve team effectiveness and productivity? Got a project you think we can help with? Interested in leadership coaching or engineering training? Basically, want to work with us? Get in touch: and we will be in touch in a jiffy.

We live on, and benefit from, the colonised lands of the Arakwal and the Minjungbal peoples of the Bundjalung nation, and those of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of these lands and recognise their enduring connection to land, waters, and culture. We pay our respects to their elders, past and present.