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Scaling Teams

Table of contents


Scaling hiring: Growing the team

  • A well-designed hiring process yields great results for the company.
  • Hire to cover gaps, not for warm bodies.
  • Better not to hire than hire poorly.
  • Diversity is key when the team has its foundations.
  • Treat well all the candidates.
  • Establish roles & relationships with recruiters and the recruiting coordinator.
  • Referrals, applies and sourcing (search for candidates actively) are the main sources of candidates.
  • Align hiring manager and hiring coordinator.
  • Culture and employer brand can help hires.

Open questions

  1. How to reach the perfect balance for strict and easy hiring process?
  2. How to know when we need to hire and when is not necessary? Re. warm bodies.

Scaling hiring: Interviews & hiring decisions

  • Screening process can filter candidates.
  • 4 steps/interviews per hiring is enough for the process accuracy.

    • Screening CV.
    • Screening call.
    • Challenge.
    • Interview.
  • Search for facts and achievements in CV analysis.
  • Orient technical challenge to what is needed in the company.
  • Search for candidates that prepared and learned about the company.

Install a process that ensures good decisions are made.

  • Models:

    • Hiring manager.
    • High-ranking hiring manager (like VP Engineering doing all the hires).
    • Consensus.
    • Hiring committee.
    • Bar raisers.
  • Balance diversity addressing bias.
  • Beware of the interview panel. Choose wisely how and who participates.

Scaling hiring: Close, onboard & beyond

  • Steps:

    • Offer.
    • Onboarding.
    • Off-boarding.
  • Better to have a single person (hiring manager) directing the candidate through all the process.
  • Create meaning when communicating the offer (always be closing).
  • Acqui-hires can be complex. You need to interview all employees, disband teams and set clear expectations.
  • Be aware of the acqui-hires antipatterns.
  • Check data & evaluate the hiring process: attrition, turnover, time between contact and offer, source, success in every stage, etc.
  • Onboarding: key to have good retention.
  • Onboarding evolution:

    • Improvised (initial stages): create a guide, document the process, assign a mentor.
    • Team rotation (+20 employees stage): perform easy tasks in each team plus improvised.
    • Program (bigger Co.): specific to area, bootcamp like. Beware of schedule, impact and apply all the above.
  • Buddy: can be combined with the other approaches.
  • Off-boarding means exit interviews for discovering root causes.
  • 3 main causes of attrition:

    • Culture change.
    • Lack of career advancement.
    • Lack of attention to organization.

People management: Getting started

Explicit focus on people management is vital to success, especially at fast growing companies.

  • Morale, alignment, goals.
  • Help to efficiently pursue a goal.
  • Top goals for EM:

    • Right people on, wrong people off.
    • Happiness, productivity through motivation, career, compensation and learning.
    • Focus on high priority, resolve disputes, decision-making and remove distractions.
    • Providing all necessary resources.

From ad-hoc to formal management

  • Search for burnout signs to act. Otherwise, face management debt.
  • Peter Drucker’s span of control means between 7 to 10 ICs for each manager.
  • Teams that need to grow quickly will get most benefit from dedicated people manager.
  • Prepare your team before introducing formal management.
  • Technical prowess !== management potential.
  • Communicate and rollout management structure.
  • Beware! this is not a promotion and shouldn’t be seen as one.
  • Important to introduce bottom-up mechanisms to influence in the roadmap:

    • Occasional skip-levels.
    • Roundtable discussions.

How to evaluate potential managers

  • Management potential framework:

    • Up: alerting, giving up feedback, etc.
    • Sideways: collaborating with peers.
    • Down: leading ICs instinctively, teaching and mentoring.
  • Traits: organic leadership, empathy, communication, mentorship, strategic thinking.
  • Negative traits: stress management, conflict avoidance, control, information hoarding.

Management reward cycle is way longer than IC.

  • Foster ongoing management education & set-up some structured learning tips like reading groups, shadowing or mentorship training.
  • Again, management role !== promotion.

Interviewing managers

  • Steps:

    • Pre-screening.
    • Check references.
    • Prepare IC to interview managers.
    • On-board like IC to help know the tech stack.

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