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.
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.