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KEYNOTE: LinearB -- Communicating Engineering Progress to Your CEO


Dan Lines
LinearB, Co-founder & COO

Dan here. A few things about me… First of all, the only thing I find more awkward than writing a bio about myself is asking someone else to write one about me. So, first person, it is! I’m a software engineer at heart. Two years ago I started a company with another engineer, my co-founder Ori Keren. I pulled the short straw so actually at the moment I’m responsible for customer success, marketing and sales. Which is crazy because I had never done any of those things before LinearB. I wish I had more time to write code but I love being customer-facing because I’m learning a lot of new stuff. Before LinearB I was a dev team lead and VP of Engineering. I’m obsessed with how dev teams work together. Like what makes a great culture? And how can engineering leaders be data-driven without being performance tyrants? And why can cars drive themselves but I have to spend 30 minutes every day manually updating my project tickets? :-) More importantly, my partner Lauren and I just had a beautiful baby girl named Leila. We recently moved to sunny Southern California which is a welcome change for this suburban boy from upstate New York. 


When I was a VP of Engineering, I would show up to the CEO's staff meeting every week and get the same question, "how can we accelerate project XYZ?" Answering this question was one of the most important aspects of my job. And yet I failed to answer it accurately most of the time.
In order to answer the question, first, we need to know:
- What is the current status of XYZ? And I'm not talking about "in progress" :)
- Which developers/teams are working on XYZ?
- What else are those developers/teams working on that are competing?
- Do we have any bottlenecks slowing us down?
There's no place we can go to get the answers to these questions. Jira doesn't have it. Our dev leads don't have it. Without this data, we can't have rationale negotiations as priorities shift and we can align engineering to business.
Through trial and error, I found processes and technology that improved my communication with the business. In this presentation, I'm sharing:
- How I correlate real developer work from GitHub with our Jira projects to provide highly accurate project delivery updates.
- How I visualize what our teams are working on so everyone in the business can see which projects are getting attention.
- Which metrics I share with the business every month to demonstrate engineering performance and improvement.
- How to implement the same process and technology in your organization.