70 episodes

We share the most critical perspectives, habits & examples of great software engineering leaders to help evolve leadership in the tech industry.

Join our community of software engineering leaders @ www.sfelc.com!

The Engineering Leadership Podcast ELC

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 18 Ratings

We share the most critical perspectives, habits & examples of great software engineering leaders to help evolve leadership in the tech industry.

Join our community of software engineering leaders @ www.sfelc.com!

    We'll Be Back January 2022!

    We'll Be Back January 2022!

    We’re taking a break to make a few BIG updates to the show and will return in January 2022! We won’t be completely gone... We’re releasing a few “experimental” episodes and preparing to announce the 2022 ELC Summit.

    Help us define the future of the show! Send us an email to hello@sfelc.com with feedback, topics, or guest ideas!

    To stay updated on the ELC Summit & our return… Sign up for email updates at www.sfelc.com!


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    • 2 min
    Building Autonomous Teams & Engineering Career Ladders with Sri Viswanath #65

    Building Autonomous Teams & Engineering Career Ladders with Sri Viswanath #65

    Sri Viswanath (CTO @ Atlassian) shares Atlassian’s approach to building autonomous teams, the story behind Project Pascal & how Atlassian built their engineering career ladder! You’ll learn Sri’s 3 key areas to creating autonomy (principles, priorities & process), creating transparency at scale, and common & counter-intuitive process changes. Plus the key elements to build/launch a successful engineering career growth plan!



    ABOUT SRI VISWANATH

    Sri is the chief technology officer (CTO) at Atlassian. Sri joined the company in January 2016 and is at the helm of Atlassian's cloud-native journey – assuming responsibility over the building and scaling Atlassian's cloud platform. Before joining Atlassian, Sri served as CTO and senior vice president of engineering at Groupon, the vice president of R&D for mobile computing at VMware, and the senior vice president of engineering at Ning – where he was instrumental in the company's acquisition by Glam. 

    He also led the development of a number of very successful open-source and B-to-B products at Sun Microsystems, served on the Board of Directors for SendGrid, and has a number of patents. Sri currently serves on the Board of Directors for Splunk and holds a M.S. in Management from Stanford University and a M.S. in Computer Science from Clemson University.



    LINKS & RESOURCES


    Atlassian's Engineering Handbook: https://www.atlassian.com/engineering/handbook
    Atlassian's Project Pascal: https://www.atlassian.com/engineering/career-framework



    SHOW NOTES


    Sri’s people-first approach to leadership (1:50)
    Why “putting people first” is key to building autonomous teams (3:17)
    How Sri operationalizes his approach to leadership (4:35)
    What processes should you prioritize first, to build autonomous teams? (9:31)
    Common & counter-intuitive process changes for engineering leaders to assess (15:32)
    How Atlassian leverages pre-mortems for major projects at Atlassian (20:29)
    How Atlassian’s engineering culture creates transparency at scale (22:22)
    Where to start with building your own engineering handbook: principles, prioritization, & process (24:29)
    Atlassian’s approach to engineering career growth & “Project Pascal” (32:20)
    How Atlassian defined each role in it’s engineering career ladder (39:48)
    How Atlassian formed cross-functional working groups to define different roles (42:23)
    How different opinions were included in Project Pascal (43:38)
    How Atlassian incorporated feedback to improve it’s career framework (46:08)
    Rapid Fire Questions (48:15)
    Takeaways (54:15)



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    Special thanks to our exclusive accessibility partner Mesmer! Mesmer's AI-bots automate mobile app accessibility testing to ensure your app is always accessible to everybody. To jump-start, your accessibility and inclusion initiative, visit mesmerhq.com/ELC 

    Listen to our Bonus Episode: Building Your AI Organization with Maia Brenner! Listen HERE: https://spoti.fi/2WLX9Cm

    Ready to own your AI Strategy? Learn more about Tryolabs HERE: https://bit.ly/39QpNoH


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    • 56 min
    The Impact of Mentoring & Paying It Forward with Li Fan #64

    The Impact of Mentoring & Paying It Forward with Li Fan #64

    Li Fan (CTO @ Circle) shares about the power of mentoring and the impact of paying it forward! We cover Li’s career journey, the mentors that have inspired and shaped her leadership, and how Li’s passed along those lessons to the people she’s mentored. Through Li’s stories, we uncover the long-term impact and ripple effect when you pay it forward.



    ABOUT LI FAN

    Li Fan is CTO at Circle, a global fintech firm enabling business to harness the power of digital currencies and public blockchains (Circle is the principle operator of USD Coin). Prior to Circle, Li was CTO at Lime, an innovative technology company that connects and empowers urban living through mobility. Before Lime, Li was SVP of engineering at Pinterest leading all 600+ engineers to execute technology strategy and deliver company priorities. Li was a Senior Director of Engineering in Google, accountable for Google’s popular image search and was Vice President of Engineering at Baidu.



    SHOW NOTES


    Why this conversation with Li Fan is so special (2:02)
    When has a mentor made a meaningful difference for you? (3:30)
    How mentors help show you what’s possible in your career and life (6:29)
    How mentors inspire and shape your leadership (10:00)
    Mental models for a successful mentor relationship (13:29)
    Paying it forward and becoming a mentor (15:19)
    How to balance your team’s retention and your mentee’s career growth (19:12)
    The hard-to-imagine long term impact of mentoring (25:20)
    Staying in touch with your mentors and the people you mentor (29:17)
    The long-term ripple effect when you “pay it forward” and mentor others (31:22)
    Finding the right mentor and creating mutually beneficial relationships (36:04)
    How Art influences Li’s approach to engineering leadership (39:51)
    Rapid Fire Questions (44:17)
    Takeaways (47:38)

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    Special thanks to our exclusive accessibility partner Mesmer! Mesmer's AI-bots automate mobile app accessibility testing to ensure your app is always accessible to everybody. To jump-start, your accessibility and inclusion initiative, visit mesmerhq.com/ELC

    Listen to our Bonus Episode: Building Your AI Organization with Maia Brenner! Listen HERE: https://spoti.fi/2WLX9Cm

    Ready to own your AI Strategy? Learn more about Tryolabs HERE: https://bit.ly/39QpNoH


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    Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/engineeringleadership/message

    • 50 min
    BONUS: Building Your AI Organization with Maia Brenner

    BONUS: Building Your AI Organization with Maia Brenner

    Maia Brenner (AI Specialist & Head of Business Development @ Tryolabs) shares the fundamentals to begin your company’s AI/ML journey! We cover the most common challenges & pitfalls eng leaders face when investing in AI, how to understand feasibility/impact & ROI of different AI/ML initiatives, how to build your AI roadmap, how to break down massive AI/ML projects into small experiments, and how to accelerate different phases of your AI/ML strategy with partners like Tryolabs.



    ABOUT MAIA BRENNER

    Maia Brenner is a passionate data scientist and economist with strong programming skills, a mathematical and statistical background, and work experience in consulting and the public sector. As an AI Specialist at Tryolabs she helps clients maximize the full potential of data science and machine learning to solve their business problems.

    Maia's experience in the consulting industry covers several projects related to demand forecasting, price optimization, customer segmentation, and natural language processing applications, among others. As a technical consultant, she has helped design and develop AI solutions for companies from several different industries such as Retail, Finance, Pharma, Logistics, Transportation, Hospitality, Education, and more.

    She is also a professor in several universities and enjoys working on initiatives of AI4SocialGood. She has helped in the application of Machine Learning to improve the Public Education sector and is involved in Gender Inequality research groups.



    SHOW NOTES


    The origin story behind Tryolabs (2:33)
    Common AI/ML challenges Tryolabs helps solve (5:48)
    Most painful problems with building AI capabilities (7:50)
    What are the fundamentals to build an AI organization? (10:11)
    How do you integrate AI/ML into your core business? (12:42)
    What problems can (or can’t) be solved with AI/ML? (15:18)
    How Tryolabs helps companies to identify specific AI/ML use cases (16:59)
    Common pitfalls when investing in & integrating AI/ML into your company (18:19)
    How to start small & experiment with AI/ML solutions (20:14)
    How Tryolabs scopes & iterates their AI/ML projects (24:42)
    Metrics, KPIs & other ways to determine feasibility, impact & ROI of your AI/ML project (26:53)
    How to build an AI/ML roadmap for your organization (30:34)
    How Tryolabs accelerates building your AI organization (34:28)

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    Ready to own your AI Strategy? Learn more about Tryolabs HERE: https://bit.ly/39QpNoH


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    Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/engineeringleadership/message

    • 39 min
    Speed vs. Quality with Richard Wong #63

    Speed vs. Quality with Richard Wong #63

    Richard Wong (SVP of Engineering @ Coursera) shares how the dilemma of speed & quality evolves as a company scales. We cover how to balance building new features & fixing quality issues, internal & external signals to help you determine your priorities, & how to gain alignment. Plus how to avoid over-engineering!



    ABOUT RICHARD WONG
    Richard oversees Coursera's infrastructure and product development. Prior to joining Coursera, Richard held various engineering leadership roles at the early days of LinkedIn, with a key focus on scaling the Jobs marketplace and Talent Solutions to become its first billion-dollar product.

    Richard also oversaw the product development for Linkedin international expansions. Prior to LinkedIn, Richard spent over a decade at Microsoft leading various product development teams including MSN Hotmail, Active Directory, Windows Server, and System Center. Richard received his Master’s degree from Stanford University.



    SHOW NOTES


    The dilemma of speed v. quality (1:49)
    Richard’s personal example of speed v. quality dilemma (5:58)
    How Coursera improved product quality (7:47)
    Tactical steps to improve product quality (10:34)
    How to avoid over-engineering & leverage customer complaints to improve product quality (16:37)
    How to balance speed & quality as an engineering leader (20:06)
    How to get alignment on quality issues with executive & cross-functional teams (25:25)
    How to prevent spending too much time on quality-focused engineering work (29:46)
    What are the signals for when you need to shift between speed v. quality? (33:22)
    How the dilemma of speed v. quality change as you scale (38:52)
    How Richard allocates resources to focus on new features or quality (42:02)
    Rapid Fire Questions (48:28)
    Takeaways (54:17)



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    Special thanks to our exclusive accessibility partner Mesmer! Mesmer's AI-bots automate mobile app accessibility testing to ensure your app is always accessible to everybody. To jump-start, your accessibility and inclusion initiative, visit mesmerhq.com/ELC

    Interested in ELC's Peer Group Program? Click here to learn more & apply: https://bit.ly/3oBwLDC


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    Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/engineeringleadership/message

    • 59 min
    Changing Priorities & Making Massive Engineering Pivots with Vivian Shen #62

    Changing Priorities & Making Massive Engineering Pivots with Vivian Shen #62

    Juni scaled 2x-3x week-over-week in the 1st month of Covid-19 restrictions. Vivian Shen (Co-Founder & CEO @ Juni Learning) shares why they had to massively shift priorities from growth to internal tooling/operations & how they gained buy-in from their engineering teams throughout the process. Plus you’ll hear about their pitch process to surface innovative ideas, and how the “engineering pod” team structure increases ownership, creativity & directly connects engineering to user impact!
    VIVIAN SHEN, CO-FOUNDER & CEO @ JUNI LEARNING
    Vivan's experience ranges from strategy development for Fortune 500 companies to building teams from scratch at startups -- and everything in between. Prior to founding Juni in 2017 to satisfy the gap in the education system, Vivian served as the Director of Product at Operator, where she launched multiple products in the US and China. She also spent two years as a Consultant in McKinsey & Company’s Silicon Valley office, working with high-growth tech companies. She began her career as a software engineer at Google.
    Vivian has been featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30, as well as in Fast Company, TechCrunch and Fortune. She holds a B.S in Computer Science from Stanford, with a minor in Creative Writing. Today, she is passionate about helping kids discover and cultivate new interests and skills, empowering them to learn through the power of community and connections.

    LINKS SHARED

    IDEO Design Thinking Blog with David Kelly - https://www.ideo.com/journal


    SHOW NOTES

    Juni’s Covid pivot: Why they focused on engineering operations & internal tooling (2:19)
    Making the decision to pivot (4:59)
    Prioritizing and reallocating engineering resources (8:49)
    Refocusing the team and getting buy-in (11:01)
    Dealing with resistance/friction on the company’s direction (13:50)
    Juni’s pitch process to surface new ideas (17:06)
    How to leverage end-users to motivate your teams (21:03)
    Increase ownership and creativity with “Engineering Pods” (26:13)
    Lessons learned on communicating priorities (28:21)
    When to revisit your orgs priorities while scaling (32:09)
    Shifting focus back on growth (34:52)
    Collaborating in planning meetings with analytics / biz ops & engineering to impact end users (37:10)
    Rapid Fire Questions (40:13)
    Takeaways (46:19)


    ---
    Special thanks to our exclusive accessibility partner Mesmer! Mesmer's AI-bots automate mobile app accessibility testing to ensure your app is always accessible to everybody. To jump-start, your accessibility and inclusion initiative, visit mesmerhq.com/ELC
    Interested in ELC's Peer Group Program? Click here to learn more & apply: https://bit.ly/3oBwLDC

    ---

    Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/engineeringleadership/message

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
18 Ratings

18 Ratings

Rudest Buddhist ,

Fantastic

A breath of fresh air in a category that can have a lot of BS. Keep up the great work!

Exotic Explorer ,

Love the new summaries

Just like the events, the podcasts are great value. The recent addition of summaries after the interviews is brilliant! Keep doing these!

smankala ,

All engineering leaders must listen to this podcast

Great chat and very informative. Actionable items. Thank you SFELC team.

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