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Presentation: Inside Job: How to Build Great Teams Within a Legacy Organization?

Track: Building High-Performing Teams

Location: Empire Complex, 7th fl.

Duration: 10:35am - 11:25am

Day of week: Wednesday

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What You’ll Learn

  1. Hear about Meetup’s organizational change, building a better culture.
  2. Learn what it worked and didn’t work for them in this transition.

Abstract

What would you do to help create modern, successful teams, within a legacy organization?

Meetup is a company that achieved success a decade ago. Profitable, international, influential, and helping people connect every day. But today’s marketplace is not the same as it was then, and the company is working to meet the challenges of a much more competitive field. In order to do this, we’ve got to be able to learn, build, and release more quickly than ever. How do you build a high performing team in a company that’s comfortable just the way things are?

Francisco and Zoe are building exactly that kind of team at Meetup. In this talk, they will discuss their approach to building a sustainable, value-driven product team: up skilling engineers, collaborating with other disciplines, building better culture, creating technological independence, and moving from top-down project management to self-organizing teams. 

We will discuss the challenges of changing an established company, how we have thought about it, failed and learned while doing it.

Question: 

Would you provide a lesson that might be in your talk that a senior developer or architect might leave with?

Answer: 

Most of the talk is around organizational change, how to create high performing teams in an existing space structure. One of the lessons is about what worked well, where we failed and what mistakes we have done.

I have heard, and many people have heard that it takes six to seven years to change a culture. We've had a lot of success in changing a 17-years old culture in much less time than that. But there are also places where we have definitely run into hard spots and had to get creative to overcome.

Question: 

Can you give me a specific example that you're going to cover?

Answer: 

One example where we have been successful is we've run this team within the organization, making it more independent and less connected to the rest of the company, having more control how the team and coaching work.

We've had a lot of success in gaining autonomy and driving that, modeling it to the rest of the organization that other teams are striving for. We've also had a lot of success in creating safety. We have engineers who've been here for eight years and it's the only job they've ever had. There is a critical mass of people like that when outside practices haven't really made their way in. A lot of it is stuff that was invented here and sometimes quite intentionally. The goal is to do it ourselves. Building up mastery, considering what are the things other companies do. It's been pretty challenging. We tried several different approaches to that with varying levels of success that will definitely be talking about.

Question: 

Who is the primary audience you're going to be addressing?

Answer: 

I think anyone that's working on trying to improve a team in the company, both management and members of a team. We talk about practices within the team, but also on the organizational side.

I would say it's people whose primary concern is at least at the team level, if not the multi-team level, entering managers, engineering directors, people interested in getting more effective development into their organization.

Speaker: Francisco Trindade

Engineering Director @Meetup

Qcon

Francisco is an Engineering Director at Meetup.com in NY, who are helping people change their lives through meaningful IRL connections. With more than 15 years working across different roles in the software industry, Francisco has spent most of his career with ThoughtWorks, helping teams deliver better software in small to large organisations in US, Europe, Australia and South America. Francisco is passionate about problem solving, continuous improvement, helping and leading technology companies to deliver results.

Find Francisco Trindade at

Speaker: Zoe Gagnon

Engineering Manager @Meetup

Qcon

Find Zoe Gagnon at

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