Synergistic Effects: A mixed remote/inhouse team can be better than the sum of its parts

Synergistic Effects: A mixed remote/inhouse team can be better than the sum of its parts

Seacliff A/B
Tuesday, 2:50pm - 3:40pm

Genentech Research & Early Development does a significant amount of in-house software development to support its drug discovery effort. In the last several years our software development staff has more than doubled, employing both local and remote contractors.   Although expanding this quickly and working with remote team members has been challenging, we've had great success. We attribute this success to our emphasis on creating mixed in-house/remote teams where:

  • there are no second-class citizens
  • everyone is encouraged and willing to make contributions and compromises
  • we all strive for effective, but not overly burdensome communication


In this session we will explore some of our specific practices that contribute to our team’s effectiveness, including:

  • adaptations of agile methodologies to improve communication and delivery
  • alignment of development processes and tooling that support iterative improvement
  • processes to mitigate team member turnover and speed-up onboarding


After attending this session you will be able to take a critical look at your team's characteristics and develop a process that actually works for all of you. We will share with you a variety of concrete examples of process changes that have worked (or not) for us and send you away ready to take your own first steps towards developing a more effective mixed in-house/remote team.

Dana.Caulder's picture
Dana received her PhD in Chemistry at UC Berkeley and then completed a postdoc at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. When it was time to get a real job, she decided the chemistry lab was not so interesting after all and accidentally found her way into software development. Hired to bridge the communication gap between computer scientists and the scientist customers, Dana quickly realized that programming was fun and that it provided the opportunity to solve many challenging and diverse problems. She has built a range of scientific software that address problem areas such as combinatorial chemistry, in vivo data management, and data warehousing and reporting. Dana currently works as a technical lead in the Genentech Bioinformatics department. When she is not trying to tease out the difference between what her customers ask for vs. what they actually need, she is probably in a standup with her development team, most of which are in Poland.