STARWEST 2020 Concurrent Session : Making the Marriage of Product and Engineering Thrive


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

Making the Marriage of Product and Engineering Thrive

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 co-founder for where she exercises her passion for coaching product leaders, product teams and company founders. She has over 18 years of experience specializing in business & technology strategy and product design, development and management. Vidya has held multiple executive roles at leading companies, including senior executive positions leading Innovation and Design, Product Management & Marketing at Mitchell International, Director of Customer Experience for TurboTax, Intuit. A holder of 7 US patents for software technology, Vidya earned a B.S. in Physics from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and a Masters from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is also a certified Net Promoter Associate.

Product Rebels

Heather Samarin, co-founder of Product Rebels, has over 17 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 both senior and C-Level roles at start-ups within the social gaming and healthcare markets where she led product strategy and new product development. Before this, Heather spent over 11 years and held several senior leadership positions at Intuit Inc. Most recently, as Vice President for TurboTax Product Management, she launched their “free” business model and alternative monetization strategy through 2 new online tax products. As Director of QuickBooks Brand Management, she launched several new products targeted at the SMB market. She holds a BS in finance from California State University and an MBA in marketing from Santa Clara University