PRO TALK (ProductWorld): Culture Clash: How to Make Product and Engineering Work Together Effectively


David Subar
Interna, Founder and Managing Partner, Interim CTO and CPO.

David Subar is a CTO, Chief Product Officer, and the founder and managing partner of Interna, a consultancy that enables technology companies to ship better products faster, to achieve product-market fit more quickly, and to deploy capital more efficiently. Interna has worked with companies ranging in size from small, six-member startups to the Walt Disney Company, and helped Pluto on the way to its $340MM sale to Viacom and Lynda.com on the path to its $1.5B sale to Linkedin.

Prior to founding Interna, David was CTO and CPO of a number of companies, including ZestFinance, Break Media, and Interthinx. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the LA CTO Forum. 


Product Management and Engineering are most commonly seen as two separate groups with separate and inward-facing measures of effectiveness. When the effectiveness of these teams are not evaluated together, the two groups are typically driven out of alignment with each other and worse, with the rest of the company. Although not commonly practiced, there are better measures of effectiveness that will not only align Product Management with Engineering and align both groups with the rest of the company, but will also aid in alignment among executives and recruiting.

In this talk, we discuss common evaluation metrics of Product Management and of Engineering, why they fail, and propose a better structure that aligns their goals and unites them, as opposed to setting them at odds with each other.