Building and maintaining complex distributed systems
June 19–20, 2017: Training
June 20–22, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Jose, CA

Managing engineering teams through constant change

K Vignos (Twitter)
3:40pm–4:20pm Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Technical Leadership
Location: LL21 E/F
Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ***..
(3.50, 8 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Engineering managers and technical leads

Prerequisite knowledge

  • An understanding of the software development cycle
  • Familiarity with the challenges of programming, including setting up local environments

What you'll learn

  • Learn practical and applicable management tips with stories and concrete examples


Constant change is all but inevitable on most software engineering teams. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median tenure for computer and mathematical occupations is just 4.4 years; software engineering teams often see developers rotate out after 2 years or less. Startups rise and fall. Reorganization is common. Attrition is high. How can you keep a team performing when the environment is in constant flux? Kathleen Vignos offers tips, shortcuts, and stories for stabilizing a team and finding a path to productivity amid the chaos as she walks you through engineering-specific real-world examples of how to keep #ShippingIt.

Topics include:

  • No, you cannot do #allthethings
  • How to kill a project
  • Planning a successful offsite
  • Building team trust
  • Increasing the bus factor
  • Hiding docs in plain sight
Photo of K Vignos

K Vignos


Kathleen Vignos is a full stack engineer turned manager who has led engineering teams at Twitter and Wired. She’s worked at two startups (one of which she founded), traveled the western US for management consulting and professional services, taught business software programming at the university level, won a hackathon, and built dozens of websites. Other experiences include everything from being on call as a COBOL programmer for Y2K to modifying a React app for a hack week project. She holds engineering degrees from UCLA and Michigan.