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

10,000 messages a minute: Lessons learned from building engineering teams under pressure

Julia Grace (Slack)
1:15pm–1:55pm Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Technical Leadership
Location: LL21 E/F
Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.92, 13 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Engineering managers, team leads, tech leads, and IC engineers interested in team dynamics

What you'll learn

  • Explore high-functioning teams
  • Learn how to evaluate if your current teams are high functioning


Julia Grace has built teams at IBM Research, startups, and Slack and has done due diligence for venture capitalists to determine how well a startup’s engineering team is working together. Drawing on this knowledge, Julia attempts to answer the question, Why do some teams ship features rapidly, support each other, and effectively communicate while others struggle?

Topics include:

  • How to turn constraints into advantages
  • What is a high-functioning team?
  • The foundation for building a high-functioning team
  • Advice for taking over a team or building a new team
Photo of Julia Grace

Julia Grace


Julia Grace is the director of infrastructure engineering at Slack. Previously, she was cofounder and CTO of Tindie, a marketplace for electronics funded by Andreessen Horowitz, where she built out and led the engineering team from founding through acquisition. Prior joining the startup world, she spent several years building systems at IBM Research. Julia holds a BS and MS in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a focus on distributed systems. She is an avid runner and once starred in a TV commercial.

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Milind Khandekar | N/A
06/22/2017 11:50pm PDT

Managing a team of incredible talent and varying personality is very tough. Thanks Julia for sharing your 7 points and lot of tips to get some handle on it. We already do a team lunch, will try to implement rest of the tips to provide psychological safety and clarity to the team.

Picture of Dale  Hamel
06/21/2017 7:09am PDT

Great talk! Julia is an amazing presenter.