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Alex goes to tech events: How to build great Eng and Product teams

Last Wednesday I went to my first event of the year at the Intercom offices. Plato organised a meet-up to find out from industry leaders what they think it is that makes a good engineering and product team.

I came not knowing what to expect, especially as I am not part of the engineering team at Personably. That said, the tips and recommendations that were being discussed could very easily be applied to other teams. There was a panel and fire-side chat with experienced leaders who shared some brilliant anecdotes along side plenty of advice. Below I’ve summarised my main take-aways

👯‍♀️👯‍♂️Collaborate and communicate

Product and Engineering are not separate entities and only by working together can both understand the consumer, the market, and of course the problem for which they are trying to create a solution.

Rhama Javed of Deliveroo says the Heads of Engineering and Product Managers need to be talking or having sit down meetings with each other every day to establish a good relationship and flow of information.

📚 Being organised makes for a good team working environment

It’s the new year and I’m sure plenty of us have made new years resolutions to be better organised - but when it comes to writing code, especially within a team, organisation is crucial! From making sure that you’re sharing best practices, to providing explicit notes on any changes or updates you and your team has made, all will help in how teams can come together. This is particularly relevant when working across different continents and time zones!

You should also have a clear idea of the very structure within which you work: for example who do you report to, and who you should go to for the different queries you may have.

🌻Lead with a high performing leadership team

The usual ‘people don’t leave their companies, they leave their managers’ quote was of course thrown in here, but it’s used so often because it is so true! Each of the contributors touched on how important it was to establish good leadership within your team and company. Maria Gutierrez of Intercom says that training for leadership is important and being sure to provide clear career maps for employees who want to continue to progress.

🌍🌏🌎 Diversity is key

It was really encouraging to see not only that being spoken about but also embodied as the crowd listened to female and BAME speakers talk about how they have led teams in some of the largest tech companies. Thanks Plato for the great representation, looking forward to seeing more within the audience too in the next meetups!

We’re all (hopefully by now 😅) very aware of the significant positive impact diversity and full representation can have throughout all industries. Ensuring diversity often comes at the recruitment stage but can be encouraged by a culture where the team is made up of people with a variety of experience, who all want to learn and who want to do so from one another. Great leaders should want happy teams; engaged in work and appreciative of others.