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Scaling engineering teams

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Scaling engineering teams

  2. 2. ABOUT ME FRANK LAMANTIA, CTO @ CROSSCHX ▸Employee #14 (December 2013) ▸April 2015 ▸2 teams ▸8 engineers ▸December 2015 ▸5 teams ▸33 engineers ▸Engineering, Product, QA, DevOps, Support
  3. 3. WHAT THIS TALK IS FOREWARD ▸This is the presentation I needed in April of 2015. ▸This is intended for CTOs, VPs or Engineering leaders. ▸Based on my personal experiences; your mileage may vary.
  5. 5. SETTING YOUR EXPECTATIONS SCALING A TEAM IS HARD. ▸People, Process & Organization have to scale in unison. ▸Organizational units must be created to divide work. ▸Communication channels must be created across these units. ▸People have to grow into new responsibilities. ▸Processes must change to coordinate across teams. ▸For every 1 hire we made, 80 candidates started the interview process. ▸Finding qualified people is tough. ▸By the way, you still have a day job.
  7. 7. SETTING YOUR EXPECTATIONS HUMAN PROBLEMS ARE MORE COMPLEX THAN TECHNICAL PROBLEMS 1. Some people will resent becoming a “small fish”. 2. Some people will not want to scale with the organization. 3. You will make bad hires. 4. You will have to deal with the brilliant jerk. 5. 90% of issues are caused by communication breakdowns. 6. You will have tough conversations. 7. You are an example.
  9. 9. WE ONLY HIRE THE BEST BECOME A TALENT ACQUISITION MACHINE. ▸Hiring is your #1 responsibility as a leader. ▸Hire for attitude first, aptitude second. ▸Focus on the process — from interview to on-boarding. ▸Be upfront & transparent about working hours, responsibilities, values, expectations. ▸Run ScaleTech meetings as a secret way to recruit talent.
  10. 10. WE ONLY HIRE THE BEST ADVICE ON HIRING ▸Be picky. ▸Implications of a bad hire are too great. ▸Rigorous interview process sets expectations. ▸Don’t be afraid to walk away. ▸Hiring process doesn’t stop until after a person is fully assimilated.
  11. 11. LEADERSHIP LEADERS BUILD LEADERS. ▸Teach leaders how to think — not what to think. ▸Urge them to come up with solutions and evaluate options together. ▸Resist the urge to fix all of the problems all of the time — let people fail. ▸Recognize and express the importance of ownership. ▸Understand & encourage different types of leadership.
  12. 12. KNOWLEDGE SILOS BE PROACTIVE ABOUT ELIMINATING KNOWLEDGE SILOS. ▸Being proactive with FNG syndrome. ▸Multiple approaches: ▸Documentation (formal & informal) ▸Demonstrations or Presentations ▸Architecture & Code Reviews ▸“Battle buddy” system ▸Repeat 21 times. Seriously. (Don’t Repeat Yourself)
  13. 13. UNITY OF COMMAND EXPLICITLY DEFINE ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES. ▸Define roles and titles for each type of leader. ▸People Leaders focused on growing people. ▸Delivery Leaders focused on keeping teams on task and productive. ▸Technology Leaders focused on application of new technologies and ensuring overall architecture. ▸Unity of Command
  14. 14. TEAM OF TEAMS FLASH TO BANG ▸Minimize the number of organizational units required to deliver value. ▸Minimize the chain of communication. ▸Encourage smart, decentralized decision making. ▸“Think Horizontally” by building cross-functional teams ▸Then scale out of them.
  15. 15. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER ALWAYS BE LEARNING ▸Read: Netflix culture, Spotify Engineering culture, Amazon, etc. etc ▸Suggested books ▸Entreleadership — Dave Ramsey ▸Good to Great — Jim Collins ▸Extreme Ownership — Jocko Willink ▸Work Rules — Laszlo Bock ▸The Obstacle is the Way — Ryan Holiday ▸Watch: Ben Horowitz, Steve Jobs, etc
  17. 17. RETROSPECTIVE WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY? 1. Always be recruiting. 2. Identify and build people leaders now. 3. Use design & code reviews to share knowledge. 4. Hire for the future.
  18. 18. FINAL WORDS
  19. 19. IN THE END THE PROMISED LAND In the end, if • You are eternally optimistic • You are able to learn from mistakes • You provide a sense of purpose • You always turn failures into learning opportunities … your team will eventually do better things than you are capable of.
  20. 20. QUESTION S?

Notas do Editor

  • Had input or influence in the growth of other divisions, some of which were brand new to our organization.
  • To put it in perspective, we hired around 1 in every 8 people that made it to an onsite interview.
    We had about 75% of people drop out before the onsite interview.
    Doing the math, 1 in 32 people that started the interview process led to a hire. It’s going to take a long, long time.
  • For every organizational unit that is created, a leader must be chosen.
    For every organizational unit that is created, a link in the chain of communication is also created.
  • You will not be able to plan for everything that ever goes wrong.
    Reacting is not a sign of failure.
  • Your top talent now may become frustrated with the talent that comes i
    Facebook has hiring down to a science, and still has an 80% retention rate.
  • References accounted for roughly 25% of our hires. A’s want to work with other A’s.
    The implications of a bad hire or bad attitude are too great. Bad Hires lead to your best people losing faith, lost time in re-hiring, re-training, lost time in delivery of features or projects.
    Consistently on our employee engagement feedback our number 1 strength is “People”.
    A tough interview process not only sets expectations for candidates but enforces your commitment to only hiring the best to your current staff.
  • The default should be no, and the candidate has to have a strong reason to go ‘yes’
  • Leading leaders is different than leading individual contributors.
    Failure is part of the process — people need to learn from their mistakes, they need to learn to fail, they need to learn to get back up.
    How many of you have run an rm -rf command and wiped out something important?
    We have captains, squad leads, chiefs here — all of them play an important but slightly different role — all of them exhibit some level of leadership.
  • Engineers are typically very introspective. They don’t want to bother people.
    Your battle-hardened engineers can be overwhelming to new guys.