Agile + DevOps West 2020 Concurrent Session : Happier Engineers with Less Management

Conference archive


Thursday, June 11, 2020 - 11:30am to 12:30pm

Happier Engineers with Less Management

When an organization is growing, having teams of half a dozen or so engineers focused on a specific product area causes several issues for management. Scaling the number of teams can be challenging, as every time a team member moves, it means pausing that product area's development for months. A bit more than a year ago, Kadri Pirn's organization decided to convert teams to tribes and remove team leads. Instead, they now have one people manager and temporary teams inside the tribe—every team has a lead, but with this approach, any engineer can volunteer for that lead role. This gives the leads motivation to be excellent managers for the project they are in and then go back to taking on a regular developer role. Engineers have the freedom to try out different roles considering their current capacity and energy level, opportunity to work with different stacks and types of projects, and new challenges to constantly learn from. Come discover how this approach can give you happier engineers with less management.


Kadri Pirn studied in Tartu University in Estonia for Computer Science. She has worked in several different disciplines including engineering, and project management with a critical chain method. As a certified PMP, kadri still leans heavily on agile principles of leading projects—"better to try things out rather than make too long documentation". She has experience working in telecom and utility companies, delivering real time charging and rating systems. Over the past 15 years, Kadri has been part of defining the development processes and now works with Pipedrive—a young, hungry, and dynamic company.