Cross Functionality: Engineering & Product – Story of Software S03E22

Laura Tacho, CTO at DX, talks about successful cross functionality between engineering and product teams to achieve value for your business.


The Guest – Laura Tacho, CTO at DX

Laura Tacho is the CTO at DX, a developer insights platform built specifically for leaders of internal developer productivity and/or platform teams. Laura is also an engineering leadership coach, partnering with software engineering leaders to level up their leadership skills.


Understanding Software Teams to Achieve Smooth Collaboration

Integrating engineering and product roadmaps is crucial to avoid misalignment and competition between engineering priorities and business objectives. A unified cross functional team ensures that both engineering issues and business priorities are evaluated by the same criteria, facilitating decision-making that benefits the overall business.

A big part of this equation is developer productivity, but measuring it effectively is a  challenging task. Traditional productivity metrics are no longer cutting it, and it is important for companies to prioritise developers’ voices and experiences, moving beyond conventional metrics like lines of code, or number of commits, which can be misleading. By involving developers in the structuring of metrics, companies can enable Improved workforce happiness, retention, and a culture of self-improvement. 

Some of the highlights in this episode include:

  • The intersection of engineering and product teams 
  • The importance of developer productivity
  • Strategies and metrics for assessing developer productivity
  • The impact of cross functional collaboration on business value


You mentioned having separate roadmaps for engineering product teams puts them against each other, and it’s kind of like a lose-lose scenario. Can you explain to us in a bit more detail what that means? 

Oftentimes when I am working with a team that is struggling to address certain issues, they see these issues as a purely engineering problem and the typical path forward is to put all these engineering issues on a list. Then we have this other list from our product manager or owner, whoever is setting business priorities and these lists are in competition with each other, which is just destined to fail. If the engineering team is unable to articulate the benefit to the business, then it’s very difficult to do a relative prioritisation. Most times, there is only one path forward and that is we’re going to pick the thing that is clearly tied to revenue. However, what we should do is aim to evaluate both of those projects by the same criteria, and then we can figure out which one is the most impactful one.


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