Summaries

Running Engineering Teams | Julianna Lamb | Slush 2023

Published
December 8, 2023
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3
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Updated
December 18, 2023
Jenna Pitkälä
Running Engineering Teams | Julianna Lamb | Slush 2023
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Want to learn the best business insights from remarkable speakers at Slush 2023, but don’t have the time to watch the full speeches on YouTube?

You’ve come to the right place. Below is a summary of a speech by Julianna Lamb, co-founder & CTO of Stytch.

(psst: the notes were automatically generated with Wudpecker's AI notetaking tool. If you'd like to check these notes + transcript + audio recording without needing to log in, press here.)

<p class="h1-rich">🤏 TL;DR</p>

The meeting discussed the importance of building a high-performing engineering team through hiring the right people, codifying values, and promoting exceptional performers. It also covered organizing engineering teams, resource allocation and management, planning the work and roadmap, and measuring performance and creating growth opportunities. Action items include creating a structured interview process, codifying company values, organizing teams based on functional areas or product focus, implementing a planning process, and establishing strategies to maintain focus for engineering teams.

<p class="h1-rich">✨ Summary</p>

Building a High-Performing Engineering Team

  • Building a great engineering culture starts with hiring the right people who align with the team's values and promote those values.
  • Creating a structured and rigorous interview process is critical to ensure the right hires.
  • Codifying values and promoting exceptional performers who embody the culture are important for building a high-performing team.

Planning and Managing Engineering Execution

Organizing Engineering Teams

  • Functional teams offer flexibility but can lead to resource contention between teams.
  • Vertical teams or product-focused teams are more self-sufficient but require confidence in longer-term roadmaps.
  • Combining both approaches can be effective, with platform teams supporting product teams.

Resource Allocation and Management

  • Structuring engineering time and protecting it from excessive meetings allows for focused work.
  • Creating processes for issue tracking and bug fixes helps prioritize and manage incoming requests.
  • Having a structured on-call rotation ensures reliability and flexibility in addressing issues.

Planning the Work and Roadmap

  • In the early stages, flexibility and nimbleness are crucial, with frequent check-ins and adaptability.
  • As the company grows, transitioning to a more structured monthly or quarterly planning process becomes important.
  • Creating clear roadmaps, timelines, and project reporting helps align teams and stakeholders.

Measuring Performance and Creating Growth Opportunities

Individual Performance

  • Implementing lightweight performance reviews and individual development plans early on helps provide feedback and growth opportunities.
  • Celebrating achievements and recognizing individuals' work through informal channels like Slack can boost motivation.
  • Introducing engineering levels at the right time provides structure, clarity, and growth opportunities for engineers.

Team Performance

  • Setting clear goals, deadlines, and expectations for projects helps measure and hold teams accountable.
  • Using project management tools and regular status updates enhances visibility and cross-functional coordination.
  • Reflecting on missed deadlines and learning from those experiences improves future planning and execution.
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Running Engineering Teams | Julianna Lamb | Slush 2023
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Running Engineering Teams | Julianna Lamb | Slush 2023
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Running Engineering Teams | Julianna Lamb | Slush 2023
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