The Engineering Leadership Podcast · Episode 125

Maximizing R&D spend, engineering efficiency & the journey from eng to operations

with Madalina Tanasie

Apr 11, 2023
Madalina Tanasie joins us to share her unique leadership journey as she transitioned from eng to operations, then back to her current technical role as CTO @ Collibra. We also cover strategies to improve engineering efficiency within your organization, factors to consider when scaling eng teams, maximizing your ROI when it comes to R&D, dispelling concerns when implementing culture changes, frameworks for scaling up, and more.
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Madalina Tanasie is the Chief Technology Officer and an Executive Committee member at Collibra, where she oversees and leads the Software Engineering, Architecture, Production Engineering, Test Engineering, and Security activities.

Madalina has over 18 years of software engineering leadership experience and her expertise is in service-oriented architecture, cloud-native distributed systems, and product operations with a focus on engineering practices, scale, and operational excellence. Prior to joining Collibra in 2020, she was the Engineering VP for Medidata Solutions’ Unified Platform Organization, an organization she built from the ground up and led since 2010.

She has been recognized as one of the Top 25 Software CTOs of 2023 by The Software Report.

Additionally, she is a proud sponsor of Collibra’s Women in Technology, and an active member of CHIEF, a network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders. Ms. Tanasie earned her BS and Master’s in Computer Science at Polytechnics University of Bucharest.

"The reality is that they need process and structure to eliminate the noise and to create a space for solving really, really deep challenging problems. They actually want the process for the part that is mundane and boring and disruptive. So as they discuss about what's making their life harder than it needs to be, we are coming back to a lack of process, a lack of uniformity, a lack of clear communication channels between themselves or between other departments.”

- Madalina Tanasie   

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  • Madalina’s unexpected career journey, beginning @ Medidata (2:13)
  • How Madalina transitioned from engineering into operations @ Collibra (4:57)
  • Qualities that make Collibra’s culture stand out (5:46)
  • What opportunities stood out when Madalina was evaluating the Collibra role (7:35)
  • Four considerations to keep in mind when scaling eng teams (9:07)
  • The Spotify model vs. Agile model & what worked for Collibra (15:19)
  • Challenges to adopting new management models (19:18)
  • Strategies for navigating people’s expectations (20:58)
  • Insights gained from Madalina’s “listening tour” (23:20)
  • Frameworks for addressing concerns around culture while scaling (25:04)
  • Madalina’s perspectives on improving engineering efficiency (26:51)
  • The right balance between cost of ownership and R&D (30:07)
  • Collibra’s new product introduction process & its impact on R&D (31:28)
  • Questions to help guide teams throughout the new framework (33:11)
  • Rapid fire questions (34:22)

This episode wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our incredible production team:

Patrick Gallagher - Producer & Co-Host

Jerry Li - Co-Host

Noah Olberding - Associate Producer, Audio & Video Editor

Dan Overheim - Audio Engineer, Dan’s also an avid 3D printer -

Ellie Coggins Angus - Copywriter, Check out her other work at

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