How to Win as a Tech Team in a New Reality That Feels Like a Mad Max Movie?

Most of us can’t remember how we worked before the pandemic hit. I remember I used to catch a train to get to work every day at Nike’s European headquarters in Hilversum, Netherlands. We were already a distributed team and had a fantastic infrastructure to connect with colleagues worldwide. Then came the pandemic and I moved to Austria to work for adidas. Like Nike, they had a fantastic infrastructure that connected employees from around the world - but it was 7 months before I met a colleague in person.

When I first met a colleague in their Vienna office, I didn’t know where to look while talking to a real human face-to-face. I think I stared at plants, posters, the table, pens, a glass of water, my colleague's nose and everywhere else except directly in their eyes. As a team, we envisioned changing lives with the best of digital sports while our own internal team dynamics were evolving. 

If this were a sci-fi movie, I would say we went into a wormhole together and came out into a new reality, which didn't just change how we worked but who we were as individuals. We had great times laughing, were often frustrated and there was a whole lot of confusion as to how to deliver a roadmap to our commitments. When it came to digital product development, the Adidas leadership team rose to the occasion like the Avengers, and learned very early on the things that did and didn’t work in this new reality.

This presentation will focus on how we learned and adjusted to this new global reality. I’ll also share some quick tips to help tech leaders prepare for a hybrid workplace and 100% remote teams in the future. Most importantly, I will talk about how to support extroverts and introverts in these settings, and why now more than ever it’s important to focus on team culture as the #1 priority in product development.



Mehnaaz Abidi

Vice President Product, Runtastic @adidas

Mehnaaz ‘Mez’ Abidi loves to build digital products that trigger feelings of joy, fun, trust and inclusiveness. 

She believes the best teams are those who work in a culture where every moment spent should feel like it was worth it. They love what they’re building so much that it becomes a calling, and while doing that they form a tribe of people whom they love, hate and most importantly don’t want to leave. 

She joined Adidas in February 2021 as Vice President of Product to scale their Digital Sports experiences. 

In the last 20 years, she has covered every aspect of digital product development and led distributed teams across consumer, technical and data product development. She has established teams from the ground up for 0-1 scaling in tailwinds, and leading change and optimization in strong headwinds.

Read more


Friday Dec 2 / 11:20AM PST ( 50 minutes )


Optimization Fast Flow Hybrid Work Strategies People and Culture Digital Product Development Remote Teams


From the same track

Session Optimization

Optimizing Teams for Fast Flow

Friday Dec 2 / 09:00AM PST

Do you find yourself asking how do we ensure teams are aligned, working together, and delivering value to the organization all while continuing to find optimization opportunities over time? How do we build intentional resilience, predictability and agility?

Speaker image - Collette Tauscher
Collette Tauscher

Director of Supply Chain Strategy @Columbia1938

Session Optimization

Modeling Patterns for Digital Transformation

Friday Dec 2 / 10:10AM PST

Digital transformation is not about new cool technologies, it’s a mindset shift and requires the awareness and understanding of customer needs.

Speaker image - Asif Iqbal
Asif Iqbal

Global Director, Digital & Experience Design @Alimentation Couche-Tard

Session Optimization

Navigating Complex Environments and Evolving Relationships

Friday Dec 2 / 12:30PM PST

Organizations evolve. Industry tools and practices change. Individuals have a wide array of opportunities.

Speaker image - Jennifer Davis
Jennifer Davis

Engineering Manager @Google