STARWEST 2019 Concurrent Session : Making the Marriage of Product and Engineering Thrive

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Thursday, October 3, 2019 - 9:45am to 10:45am

Making the Marriage of Product and Engineering Thrive

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By now you have probably heard that there should be a healthy tension between the product and engineering teams. The key word there is "healthy"—when this relationship is unhealthy, silos tend to form, ideas may be thrown over the wall, and a lack of ownership can develop. But what exactly goes into making this relationship work? Vidya Dinamani and Heather Samarin will explore this question and provide the product perspective in not just identifying and overcoming the root causes of most dysfunctions, but getting on the path to thriving. They will share examples from their experiences working as product coaches with over a hundred companies, detailing working relationships that have flourished as well as ones that have crumbled. Vidya and Heather have distilled what they've learned into five key areas that everyone can learn and apply in order to help product and engineering take their relationship beyond the day-to-day and actually encourage their teams to excel.

Product Rebels

Vidya Dinamani is the founder of, where she exercises her passion for coaching product leaders, product teams, and entrepreneurs. She has eighteen years of experience specializing in business and technology strategy and product design, development, and management. Vidya has held multiple executive product, customer experience, and technology roles at leading companies such as Intuit, Mitchell International, and Deloitte. She is also an angel investor, primarily focused on software companies. A holder of seven US patents for software technology, Vidya earned a B.S. in physics from Victoria University and a master's from Carnegie Mellon University. 

Product Rebels

Heather Samarin, founder of Product Rebels, has seventeen years of experience in delighting customers through the design, development, and management of customer experiences within both B2B and B2C marketing and product management. She’s held senior and C-level roles at start-ups within the social gaming and health care markets, where she led product strategy and new product development. Before this, Heather spent eleven years at Intuit Inc. and held several senior leadership positions. She holds a B.S. in finance from California State University and an MBA in marketing from Santa Clara University.