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VIRTUAL

speaker live q&a

A backstage conversation

During the live streaming session, you may have questions that you didn’t get a chance to ask to the speakers. Or you may want to have a deeper understanding of the topic the speaker talked about. This speaker live Q&A are extractly for that. You will join a small group of senior engieneering leaders and have an open, backstage converation with the speaker to gain deeper insights and make meaningful connections.
Meet speakers backstage
Meet speakers backstage
Meet speakers backstage for an open converation. Build real connections with speakers
A group discussion
A group discussion
You will be joining a small group of senior engineering leaders who share the same interest. A great way to make new connections
Get your questions answered
Get your questions answered
Not only you can get a quick answer, you will have a chance to know the reasoning behind the answer
speakers
so far
Wade Chambers
CTO & SVP of Engineering @ Grand Rounds
time
8:45 AM - 9:30 AM, October 16 (PDT)
topic
Debugging your Career: How to increase your ability to win as a manager

Most managers were previously individual contributors that transitioned to management without any coaching on critical leadership capabilities: what should they optimize for, how executives evaluate them, or how to accurately assess (and fix) gaps in their skill sets, etc. As such, they eventually reach a point where they don't understand how to advance to the next level and stall their careers. Research shows 60 percent of new managers fail within the first 24 months and 40% of new Executives fail within 18 months. Even more become walking dead, stuck in current (or similar) positions, doing enough to not be fired but clearly not enough to progress. Stalled careers turn into an atrophied careers and lead to increasingly less interesting roles. Grand Rounds CTO and SVP of Engineering, Wade Chambers, will draw from 25 years of experience in Silicon Valley to walk through rubrics developed over time, first hand experiences (often learned the hard way), and leading research to help you optimize your management career.

Most managers were previously individual contributors that transitioned to management without any coaching on critical leadership capabilities: what should they optimize for, how executives evaluate them, or how to accurately assess (and fix) gaps in their skill sets, etc. As such, they eventually reach a point where they don't understand how to advance to the next level and stall their careers. Research shows 60 percent of new managers fail within the first 24 months and 40% of new Executives fail within 18 months. Even more become walking dead, stuck in current (or similar) positions, doing enough to not be fired but clearly not enough to progress. Stalled careers turn into an atrophied careers and lead to increasingly less interesting roles. Grand Rounds CTO and SVP of Engineering, Wade Chambers, will draw from 25 years of experience in Silicon Valley to walk through rubrics developed over time, first hand experiences (often learned the hard way), and leading research to help you optimize your management career.

Allan Leinwand
SVP Engineering @ Slack
time
9:45 AM - 10:30 AM, October 16 (PDT)
topic
Balancing fast-paced innovation and technical debt

In this talk Allan will tackle the topic of balancing the desires of engineering teams to build innovative products at a fast pace while at the same time avoiding building up an unhealthy amount of technical debt. Too much innovation and engineering teams can lose focus on their customer and product-market fit while too much technical debt can crush the strongest of engineering teams with continual firefighting. Achieving the right balance is a skill that engineering leaders need to work on continuously to have healthy and productive teams. Allan will share his techniques that have helped scale teams at Cisco, Zynga, ServiceNow, and Slack.

In this talk Allan will tackle the topic of balancing the desires of engineering teams to build innovative products at a fast pace while at the same time avoiding building up an unhealthy amount of technical debt. Too much innovation and engineering teams can lose focus on their customer and product-market fit while too much technical debt can crush the strongest of engineering teams with continual firefighting. Achieving the right balance is a skill that engineering leaders need to work on continuously to have healthy and productive teams. Allan will share his techniques that have helped scale teams at Cisco, Zynga, ServiceNow, and Slack.

Jean-Denis Greze
Head of Engineering @ Plaid
time
12:15 PM - 1:00 PM, October 16 (PDT)
topic
Building Spiky Orgs: Why Doing Less Is Best

Optimizing for strengths is one way to build and grow an organization for impact. We'll discuss why building an organization that is great at only a very few things i.e., a spiky org -- can be a template for success. We'll also touch on technical, product, and organizational examples of strengths that a lot of organizations spend time developing but are often not necessary to the ultimate success of a business. Finally, we'll talk about how you can maintain these spikes as you grow, and other tricks that every manager and leader should know to keep their organization focused on the most important things.

Optimizing for strengths is one way to build and grow an organization for impact. We'll discuss why building an organization that is great at only a very few things i.e., a spiky org -- can be a template for success. We'll also touch on technical, product, and organizational examples of strengths that a lot of organizations spend time developing but are often not necessary to the ultimate success of a business. Finally, we'll talk about how you can maintain these spikes as you grow, and other tricks that every manager and leader should know to keep their organization focused on the most important things.

Yonas Beshawred
Founder & CEO @ StackShare
time
8:45 AM - 9:30 AM, October 23 (PDT)
topic
Technology Decisions At Scale Using ADRs & Tech Radars

Making decisions about which open source & SaaS solutions to use isn’t easy. Historically, every company has had its own process for making these decisions, some companies even document them. Now, large companies are converging on a standard process for making technology decisions and recording them. Recently GitHub, Spotify, and eBay have written about Architecture Decision Records (ADRs) and why they’ve valuable, while organizations like the CNCF have created their own Technology Radar to help technical teams streamline the assessment of new technologies. We’ll unpack ADRs, technology radars, and how they can be useful for large teams.

Making decisions about which open source & SaaS solutions to use isn’t easy. Historically, every company has had its own process for making these decisions, some companies even document them. Now, large companies are converging on a standard process for making technology decisions and recording them. Recently GitHub, Spotify, and eBay have written about Architecture Decision Records (ADRs) and why they’ve valuable, while organizations like the CNCF have created their own Technology Radar to help technical teams streamline the assessment of new technologies. We’ll unpack ADRs, technology radars, and how they can be useful for large teams.

Richard Wong
SVP of Engineering @ Coursera
time
9:45 AM - 10:30 AM, October 23 (PDT)
topic
Move fast, break (fewer) things

The top priority for any startups is to find their product-market fit through rapid iterations of their products. “Move fast, and break things” becomes the de-facto motto and reality for many. After years of hard work, your product finally attracted millions of loyal users, including many paying customers. Your users developed high expectations, and trust on your product. At the same time, technical debts and “breaking things” gradually shifts from a convenient aspect you chose to ignore, to become major concerns raised by your users, customers, and even many of your teammates. In this session, the speaker will share Coursera's journey on quality as they scaled, and how they took a head-on approach to overhaul its technology, dev process, and culture to drive quality focus with their hundreds of engineers. You will hear what worked, what did not, valuable lessons they learned. This session is for audiences who are interested in driving quality focus for their company, as well as those who are interested in sharing their own stories.

The top priority for any startups is to find their product-market fit through rapid iterations of their products. “Move fast, and break things” becomes the de-facto motto and reality for many. After years of hard work, your product finally attracted millions of loyal users, including many paying customers. Your users developed high expectations, and trust on your product. At the same time, technical debts and “breaking things” gradually shifts from a convenient aspect you chose to ignore, to become major concerns raised by your users, customers, and even many of your teammates. In this session, the speaker will share Coursera's journey on quality as they scaled, and how they took a head-on approach to overhaul its technology, dev process, and culture to drive quality focus with their hundreds of engineers. You will hear what worked, what did not, valuable lessons they learned. This session is for audiences who are interested in driving quality focus for their company, as well as those who are interested in sharing their own stories.

Pete Nichols
Head of Core Product Engineering @ Pinterest
time
8:45 AM - 9:30 AM, October 30 (PDT)
topic
Using Bug SLAs to understand and improve quality at scale

Today, Pinterest has hundreds of engineers working to bring Pinners the inspiration to create a life they love. Bug management is a critical part of ensuring a high quality experience for those Pinners. Every week, we identify hundreds of bugs, and it is crucial to have a scalable system for identifying, tracking, managing, and addressing them in a timely manner. In 2018, we realized our processes around bug management were no longer sufficient for our rapidly scaling product, team, and technology base. Our teams were working hard to fix bugs, but the number of issues in our bug DB was growing. At the same time, confidence in the quality of the data in the bug DB was shrinking. To address this challenge, we implemented a Bug SLA (Service Level Agreement) process, and it has significantly improved our ability to understand and raise the quality of our product. Putting this process in place at scale required a combination of project management, technology, and - most importantly - engineering cultural change. We'd like to share what we learned along the way about the benefits and limitations of this approach, how it fits into our overall strategy of building a strong technical foundation, and the next steps we're taking to further improve quality.

Today, Pinterest has hundreds of engineers working to bring Pinners the inspiration to create a life they love. Bug management is a critical part of ensuring a high quality experience for those Pinners. Every week, we identify hundreds of bugs, and it is crucial to have a scalable system for identifying, tracking, managing, and addressing them in a timely manner. In 2018, we realized our processes around bug management were no longer sufficient for our rapidly scaling product, team, and technology base. Our teams were working hard to fix bugs, but the number of issues in our bug DB was growing. At the same time, confidence in the quality of the data in the bug DB was shrinking. To address this challenge, we implemented a Bug SLA (Service Level Agreement) process, and it has significantly improved our ability to understand and raise the quality of our product. Putting this process in place at scale required a combination of project management, technology, and - most importantly - engineering cultural change. We'd like to share what we learned along the way about the benefits and limitations of this approach, how it fits into our overall strategy of building a strong technical foundation, and the next steps we're taking to further improve quality.

James Barrese
Former CTO @ PayPal
time
11:00 AM - 11:45 AM, October 30 (PDT)
topic
Playing to win: the criticalness of infrastructure and tools

The world is changing. Every company wants to compete and win. Most of us recognize that the companies that are the most technically savvy are winning. Ask yourself, are your company's tools, infrastructure and processes helping or hindering your product development teams? Improving infrastructure is a challenge that touches everyone in a company. What should you do? How do you go about improving things? In this talk, James will share his experience, philosophies, and recommendations on how focusing on infrastructure can unlock the potential of your teams. Companies that focus here see radical benefits; the right strategy and investments will set your company on a path to win in today's highly competitive marketplace.

The world is changing. Every company wants to compete and win. Most of us recognize that the companies that are the most technically savvy are winning. Ask yourself, are your company's tools, infrastructure and processes helping or hindering your product development teams? Improving infrastructure is a challenge that touches everyone in a company. What should you do? How do you go about improving things? In this talk, James will share his experience, philosophies, and recommendations on how focusing on infrastructure can unlock the potential of your teams. Companies that focus here see radical benefits; the right strategy and investments will set your company on a path to win in today's highly competitive marketplace.

Kristian Lindwall
Director of Engineering, Data & Insights @ Spotify
time
8:45 AM - 9:30 AM, November 06 (PST)
topic
An Inside Look into the Evolution of the Engineering Org and Culture at Spotify

In this session, Kristian will outline some of the stages of evolution the Spotify engineering team has gone through over the years to stay lean and effective. He will outline some of the underlying principles and also some of the concrete practices they have put into place to optimize for the needs of the business.

The talk will be followed by a panel of Kristian alongside 2 other engineering leaders who have all been heavily influenced by Spotify's approach. They will debate and discuss their learnings and thoughts on how to effectively organize and scale engineering teams.

In this session, Kristian will outline some of the stages of evolution the Spotify engineering team has gone through over the years to stay lean and effective. He will outline some of the underlying principles and also some of the concrete practices they have put into place to optimize for the needs of the business.

The talk will be followed by a panel of Kristian alongside 2 other engineering leaders who have all been heavily influenced by Spotify's approach. They will debate and discuss their learnings and thoughts on how to effectively organize and scale engineering teams.

Viraj Mody
Technical Advisor to the CEO @ Convoy
time
9:45 AM - 10:30 AM, November 06 (PST)
topic
From Engineering Leader to the Hand of the King: My Tour of Duty

After spending my entire career as an engineer, and having spent the last several years leading engineering organizations at Dropbox and Convoy, I jumped into an individual contributor role, as Technical Advisor to Convoy's CEO. A detour into a staff role is unconventional for an engineering leader, so I'll spend some time talking about my motivations for making this move, and also talk about what I've learned so far (spoiler alert: I think I'll be a much more effective engineering leader when I return)

After spending my entire career as an engineer, and having spent the last several years leading engineering organizations at Dropbox and Convoy, I jumped into an individual contributor role, as Technical Advisor to Convoy's CEO. A detour into a staff role is unconventional for an engineering leader, so I'll spend some time talking about my motivations for making this move, and also talk about what I've learned so far (spoiler alert: I think I'll be a much more effective engineering leader when I return)

Alexis Rask
Executive Coach, Partner @ Sweat Equity Ventures
time
11:15 AM - 12:00 PM, November 06 (PST)
topic
The power of dynamic communications in leadership

From tough 1:1 conversations to term sheet negotiation to rallying up a team to take on the world, it all comes down to communication in leadership. Executive coach to Silicon Valley's top CEO, Alexis Rask, will share her insight into how leaders can master communication to drive success.

From tough 1:1 conversations to term sheet negotiation to rallying up a team to take on the world, it all comes down to communication in leadership. Executive coach to Silicon Valley's top CEO, Alexis Rask, will share her insight into how leaders can master communication to drive success.

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