Session 4

Collaborating cross functionally

Laying the ground for successful cross-team collaboration

March 1, 18:00 - 20:30 GMT
10am–12.30pm PST / 1–3.30pm EST / 6–8.30pm GMT / 7–9.30pm CET

March 2, 14:00 - 16:30 GMT
7–9.30am PST / 10–12.30am EST / 2–4.30pm GMT / 3–5.30pm CET

See session details

Meet our session contributors

HOST

Anjuan Simmons

Engineering Coach

Help Scout

Co-HOST

Maria Gutierrez

VP of Engineering

Twitter

TUTOR

Ellen Wong

Director of Engineering

Calm

TUTOR

Richard Archbold

VP of Business Systems

Intercom

TUTOR

Rukmini Reddy

SVP of Engineering

Slack

Meet our session contributors

Session overview

To deliver awesome products, engineers in your team must work very closely with other functions of your company. Collaboration can spark innovation, and little communication will lead to frustrated teams and missed dependencies. But how do you get teams working together, even when they don’t have the exact same purpose and mission?  

 

As an engineering leader, your role is to navigate these dependencies to build alignment across multiple teams. This session will look into concrete tools you can use to improve and scale collaboration, communication, and leadership while driving complex projects. 

You'll leave this session with:

The ability to identify and manage your stakeholders

Practical advice to set up cross-team visibility

Real-life strategies for working with product, design, sales, etc

Strategies to effectively partner with other functions of the business

Tips for effective communication when things are not going as planned 

Talk

Building an effective engineering-product-design relationship

As an engineering leader, your closest cross-functional team will be in your relationships with product and design. And while you may have interacted with these groups as an IC, your step into engineering leadership will require you to understand these functions more deeply and forge effective working relationships with them. 

 

In this talk, we’ll explore creating an effective engineering-product-design bond. We’ll outline how to think product and design’s perspective when approaching problems and functionally look at how to work together on projects. 

Ellen Wong

Director of Engineering

Calm

Ellen Wong is a Director of Engineering at Calm, where she leads their B2B Product Engineering and Backend Platform. Before that, she was at Periscope Data By Sisense, where she led their product integration post merger. She prides herself in building happy and productive teams and believes that teams work best when they are having fun. 

She lives in San Francisco with her husband and pup, and loves nothing more than snuggling with her pup on a beach with a glass of wine.

Talk

Venturing into the unknown (business functions)

So you’ve nailed your relationship with product and design, but what happens when you look outside of that trio? As you progress further through your career, you’re likely to engage with other functions more frequently. Be it legal, marketing, support, operations, finance, or success, each department has its own priorities and responsibilities.

 

So how do you work with these business functions, especially when you don’t work with them frequently or have the time to understand their intricacies fully? In this talk, we’ll outline how to communicate across functions to form the most effective relationships possible. 

Richard Archbold

VP of Business Systems 

Intercom

Rich Archbold is a VP of Engineering at Intercom, a highly successful and fast-growing Irish technology company that provides customer communication software to Internet businesses. 

Today, Rich leads Intercom’s Business Systems organization providing technology and data solutions that enable Intercom’s GTM teams to excel. Previous to this role, Rich led Intercom’s Foundations engineering organization and some of Intercom’s product and platform engineering teams. 

Before joining Intercom, Rich worked as a senior technology manager at Facebook and Amazon in their Dublin offices.

Talk

Engineering teams are from Mars, Go To Market teams are from Venus.

In any company, all departments share the common goals of creating products and services that customers love, creating a profitable company that generates shareholder value and maintaining an engaging work environment that attracts and retains the right employees.

Each department's work to achieve these goals is quite different, necessitating different strategies, principles, and cultures.

If not well understood and managed, these differences can lead to bad outcomes initially for employees and eventually for customers and shareholders.

The potential for problems arising from different ways of working is often highest between Go To Market (GTM) teams (e.g. Sales & Marketing) and Engineering, whose work is perhaps the most different from each other.

This talk attempts to help engineering leaders better understand how GTM teams work and guide them toward more effective collaboration with GTM peers.

Rukmini Reddy

VP of Platform Engineering 

Slack

Rukmini Reddy is the VP of Platform Engineering at Slack. She joined Slack in 2021 to lead teams that deliver exceptional first-party and third-party app experience, as well as drive the vision of Workflow Builder - Slack's no-code automation tool.

Before Slack, she was VP of Engineering at Abstract, Model N, and other enterprise SaaS companies. Her experience as an immigrant, a woman, and a developer with nearly 15 years of technical experience, have prepared her to lead large and diverse engineering teams, and forge genuine human connections with her colleagues.

She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has been juggling work and home-school like most parents in 2020 for her 7-year-old twin boys.

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