DeveloperWeek Global: Enterprise 2020 DeveloperWeek Global: Enterprise 2020
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OPEN TALK: Perfect Strangers - Successfully Working in a Cross Functional Environment

- PST
Main Stage
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Lauren Nagel
New Relic, Sr. Dir. Product Management

Lauren has been interested in computers and software ever since playing Hunt the Wumpus on her TI-99 when she was four years old. Her career started as a Software Design Engineer in Test at Microsoft, until she realized that the best way to prevent bugs was to not design them in – and thus made the leap to product management. Today, Lauren is responsible for how New Relic supports full stack observability with a focus on front-end monitoring. When she’s not working to make the Internet a faster, friendlier place, she’s enjoying her role as a new mom and spending time with her husband, daughter and their two dogs.

Nic Jansma
Akamai, Senior Principal Lead Developer

Nic is a software developer focusing on high-performance websites, apps, and open-source tools. He currently works at Akamai as a Senior Principal Lead Software Engineer on mPulse. Previously, he was an engineer at SOASTA and Microsoft. He leads a 100% remote team from his home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he loves to spend any spare time with his wife and daughter.


Successful businesses are built on the shoulders of many different roles and personas. Your personal success certainly depends on your individual contributions, but it also depends on how well you can work across different functions as a team member. Interactions between Developers and Product Management, Developers and Test, or with business focused functions such as Marketing and Sales are key to getting things done in an organization, building a great product, and ultimately your own success! Each role may have different “languages” they speak, priorities and scopes of focus. Navigating these variations is not taught in school, and may initially seem like a huge challenge. Understanding and working well with your counterparts enables everyone’s impact to grow larger than each individual’s contributions, and can help create robust products, close working relationships and increase job satisfaction.

Nic, an Engineering Manager, and Lauren, Product Line Lead, started working together 5 years ago. They have not only built a collaborative engineering/product relationship, but have become good friends as well. They’ll outline the four pillars they think are critical to a great cross-functional relationship: Respect, Empathy, Trust and Communication, and how to cultivate them in your own teams.

You’ll walk away not only with a better understanding of the importance of your colleagues in different roles and how these cross-functional relationships aid in everyone’s success, but also with clear tactics to improve your daily interactions. Nic and Lauren will share their own proven methods for a great cross-functional relationship including; how they support and amplify each others’ needs, effective methods and tools for communicating with each other, and how together they prioritize their work efforts for the most impact.