1. 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.
- How to reach the perfect balance for strict and easy hiring process?
- How to know when we need to hire and when is not necessary? Re. warm bodies.
2. 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.
- 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.
- Hiring manager.
- High-ranking hiring manager (like VP Engineering doing all the hires).
- Hiring committee.
- Bar raisers.
- Balance diversity addressing bias.
- Beware of the interview panel. Choose wisely how and who participates.
3. Scaling hiring: Close, onboard & beyond
- 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.
4. 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
- Check references.
- Prepare IC to interview managers.
- On-board like IC to help know the tech stack.
5. People management at scale
- Management at scale comes with different problems.
- Improve managers with:
- Providing a mentor.
- Establish a learning program (book club also works).
- Assign someone for management quality.
- Tribal identities can occur. Invest in manager to manager relationship.
- Look for opportunities for manager collaboration. EM forum collaboration for instance.
- Measuring manager performance is really important.
- Define expectations.
- Gather data about the team to measure performance.
- Skip-level and other meetings to gather frequent feedback.
- Competition isn’t feedback.
- Seek for performance, not likeability.
- Handle with care, planning and adjusting when letting go a manager.
Morale under rapid growth
- Realistic, not arbitrary deadlines.
- Leaders should be good examples.
- Heroes are unhealthy for the teams.
- Participating in diversity hiring or activities can be a burden for underrepresented people.
- Beware of environment and null process (absence of formal process).
- Promote work-life balance and use metrics to surface bias.
- Ongoing education is key for good engagement and performance.
- Learning budget, conferences, meetups, etc.
- Mentoring is very effective for young leaders.
- Retrospectives, post-mortems and cross training are good strategies for team learning.
- Career path is critical when introducing formal management.
- Consider separate tracks for IC/Management.
- Levels can be tricky when they’re introduced. Slotting and promotion.
- A promotion process is key for growth.
6. Scaling the organization: design principles
The purpose of organization is to reduce the amount of communication and coordination necessary
— Mythical Man-Month
- Avoid diseconomies of scale (hiring reduces output).
- Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation:
- Organizing by skill-set is common in early stage.
- Value Streams are affected after growing.
- Goals while growing: move fast and connect employees to the product.
- Agile mindset.
- Delivery teams (also, domains).
- Purpose and measure success.
- Continuous value delivery.
- Continuous learning culture.
- Can deliver 95% of backlog independently.
- Cross knowledge, has all the necessary skill-set inside the team.
- Embrace autonomy: motivation comes when they clearly understand the effect on customers. They have a good picture on whatever needs to be done.
- Measure success & establish purpose: KPI team goals are fundamental. Go from company KPI to team KPI.
7. Scaling the organization: delivery teams
- Can be build around: platform, features, company or customer.
- Platform: it’s the easiest and works great on small companies. Does not scale well.
- Features: scales very well. Can be difficult to handle growing amount of features without growing the team.
- Company goals: keeps clear how to contribute. Can be difficult to scale.
- Customer: develop for customer groups without dependencies. Clear alignment with customer needs. Hard to scale.
Value stream mapping
- Can help improve existing suboptimal setups.
- Good example of VSM from Phil Calçado p. 147.
- From one team to two:
- Beware of shared members when splitting teams (bus factor).
- Sync between teams are good ways to avoid siloing.
- How to improve: measure average cycle time.
- Use VSM in retrospectives.
- Search for heavy coordination time in retros.
- Check VSM: bit.ly/2gVZ8xd
8. Scaling the organization: reporting structure
- Question: which engineers should report to which managers?
- Question: how many reports per manager? Drucker’s span of management responsibilities, between 7 to 10.
- 4 ways to organize:
- One EM per delivery team.
- One EM per entire delivery team (including design & PM).
- One EM per specialization (tech).
- General people management.
- Combining multiple approaches is what makes sense.
- Next level: additional level of management (Director of Engineering).
- Infra/platform teams are needed to treat inside team as user/customer.
- Transition phase: combination stage is normal when adding platforms (Android, iOS, mobile, etc.). Can integrate later.