Session 4

Empower teams through effective planning and prioritization 

November 30, 18:00 - 20:30 GMT
10am–12.30pm PT / 1–3.30pm ET / 6–8.30pm GMT / 7–9.30pm CEST

December 1, 14:00 - 16:30 GMT
6–8.30am PT / 9–11.30am ET / 2–4.30pm GMT / 3–5.30pm CEST

See session details

Meet our session contributors

HOST

Anjuan Simmons

Engineering Coach

Help Scout

co-HOST

Sarah Milstein

VP of Engineering

ConvertKit

SPEAKER

Ras Kasa Williams

Senior Staff Engineer 

Mailchimp

SPEAKER

Aisha Ferrazares 

Senior Engineering Manager

Dropbox

SPEAKER

Holly Allen

Senior Director of Engineering

Slack

Meet our session contributors

Experience all of the last sessions

Get full access to all videos from the last series in 2021. Enjoy talks and panels on coaching, difficult conversations, career vectors, and more.

Session overview

To provide a stable environment for your team, you need to manage constant changes to short- and long-term plans. 

Rapidly incoming unplanned work can easily leave your team feeling stuck or frustrated and can leave you struggling to align your team around a shared vision. In this session you’ll hear talks and panels on:

The pros and cons of filtering

How to manage change that comes from above and work effectively with counterparts in other parts of the business.  

How to effectively manage ambient disruptions to avoid slowdowns in work and higher levels of general stress.

Hosted by 

Sarah Milstein

VP of Engineering • ConvertKit

Sarah Milstein is VP of Engineering at ConvertKit. She previously held executive roles at Mailchimp, 18F.gov, and indie.vc. She was also CEO and co-founder of Lean Startup Productions and co-author of The Twitter Book. 

Earlier, she was a freelance journalist writing regularly for The New York Times. She holds an MBA from UC Berkeley. 

Talk

Balancing user needs, platform health, and engineer growth

As a lead on a team with high (internal) demand, you have to continuously balance the short-term work needed to support users (who are your coworkers), the long-term work needed to support infrastructure/platform health, and the personal growth/development desires of the team’s engineers. There are a number of challenges in managing all of that at a high-level. 

In this talk, Kasa will walk through tactics for addressing each challenge; things that work, things that don’t work, things that appear to work until they don’t.

Ras Kasa Williams

Senior Staff Engineer

Mailchimp

Ras Kasa Williams is a Senior Staff Engineer at Mailchimp where he builds systems and tools to support the company's product engineers, data scientists, and analysts. He makes time for everything from building out scalable data processing workflows, to coaching and mentoring around career progression, to building supportive communities for Black technologists through organizations like /dev/color.

Talk

Supporting your team (and yourself!) in times of change

Teams developing new products are likely to experience strategic pivots, some of which may be sudden or come top-down. As a new manager, Aisha was in exactly this situation - and had to learn how to support her team in navigating this change

In this talk, Aisha will share tips for how to clearly communicate strategy, build agility, identify the unique needs of your team members, and keep a pulse on your own needs during the process.

Aisha Ferrazares

Senior Engineering Manager 

Dropbox

Aisha Ferrazares Johnson is a Senior Engineering Manager at Dropbox where she currently leads product engineering teams working on the core Dropbox product. She's passionate about engineering hiring and building diverse and inclusive teams. When she's not working, you can find Aisha rock climbing, skiing, or at home in Berkeley with her husband and her Australian Cattle Dog.

Talk

How Slack manages ambient disruptions

Disruptions can and will come from everywhere, on every given day, and — if they’re not managed correctly — will create instability for teams. While these disruptions are natural and inevitable in a business if you have no strategy to address ambient distractions they can leave your team feeling stretched too thin and in too many directions, leading to slowdowns in work and higher levels of general stress. 

Holly will talk through Slack’s system for managing ambient disruptions, detailing Slack’s process and the benefits it has brought.

Holly Allen

Senior Director of Engineering

Slack

Holly Allen is a Senior Director of Engineering for Developer Platform at Slack, helping make Slack powerful and extensible by developers. She is tireless in her efforts to make Slack the software delightful to use, and Slack the company a delightful place to work. Holly has also worked at startups, DreamWorks Animation, and was Director of Engineering at 18F, a civic tech startup in the US government.

PANEL

Creating stability for teams in your organization

Group discussions are such a powerful tool in problem-solving and decision-making, and they help you build confidence in yourself. But openly discussing challenges you are facing and mistakes you might have made in front of a group is not that easy.    

So to help you structure the discussion time with your group and turn your conversation into actionable insights, a group of engineering colleagues will be joining the panel and will role model some of the discussions you will be having later.

Panelists to be announced soon.

MODERATOR

Sarah Milstein

VP of Engineering 

ConvertKit

Sarah Milstein is VP of Engineering at ConvertKit. She previously held executive roles at Mailchimp, 18F.gov, and indie.vc. She was also CEO and co-founder of Lean Startup Productions and co-author of The Twitter Book. 

Earlier, she was a freelance journalist writing regularly for The New York Times. She holds an MBA from UC Berkeley. 

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