How to improve the collaboration with the Product team

Andy Fang

CTO at DoorDash



"An issue that many companies face is holding engineers accountable for driving business. Often there is a misalignment between the work engineers do and the ultimate goals of a company, and the work that engineers do can be obscured. In the past, Doordash has had these type of challenges, where engineers have tried to fix an issue, but it hasn't resulted in a positive business impact."

Actions taken

"We addressed this by ensuring that the product and engineering teams were held accountable for the exact same goals in terms of business impact. It's important to bear in mind that business impact doesn't just refer to revenue. Impact can also refer to a number of other factors, such as driving down API response times, or lowering load on our database.

Ensuring goals are aligned helps to make what needs to be done next very clear for both the project managers and engineering managers. In turn, this encourages collaboration and it forces engineering managers to develop metrics which show notable positive changes. For example, if the product manager wants to drive conversion from 20 percent to 30 percent, the engineers won't be just held accountable for shipping, they'll be accountable for moving that number. They could ship the best architecture in the world, but if they're not having business impact, then they're not hitting their target.

This approach has drastically improved the visibility we have in terms of what the engineers are working on."

Lessons learned

"Before we implemented this approach, project managers would often state that they didn't feel the engineering managers placed the same amount of emphasis on the goals that they did. This approach changed our business' conversation away from a finger-pointing game, to a discussion about how everyone can work together to accomplish what is best for the company."

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Andy Fang

CTO at DoorDash

Engineering Management

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