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Presentation: High Performing Teams Act Like Owners

Track: Building & Scaling High-Performing Teams

Location: Ballroom BC

Duration: 5:25pm - 6:15pm

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Managers often ask engineers to “act like owners” or “show great ownership.” What does this even mean? How can you act on something that isn’t well defined? You’re an engineer, after all. Maybe it’s just code for your manager wanting you to work nights and weekends.    

In this talk, we will explore what it means to act like an owner. All of us know those certain folks that get the diciest or most pressing tasks because we know that we can rely on them getting the task done. We will talk about what situations look like from a manager’s or teammate’s perspective when somebody shows ownership -- and what it looks like when they don’t. We will draw analogies to software design that will help illustrate these concepts. Finally, we will talk about why teams need ownership to be high-performing. When team members, regardless of whether they have a formal leadership role or not, act like owners, magical things can happen.    

By the end of this talk, you will walk away with ideas that you can apply to your own work, regardless of your job title. You will get some ideas about how to recognize when you don’t live up to your own expectations of acting like an owner, and how to handle situations when others don’t.

Speaker: Katharina Probst

Senior Engineering Leader, Kubernetes & SaaS @Google

Katharina Probst is a Senior Engineering Leader, Kubernetes & SaaS at Google. Before this, she was leading engineering teams at Netflix, being responsible for the Netflix API, which helps bring Netflix streaming to millions of people around the world. Prior to joining Netflix, she was in the cloud computing team at Google, where she saw cloud computing from the provider side. Her interests include scalable, distributed systems, APIs, cloud computing, and building effective and successful teams. She also holds a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.

Find Katharina Probst at