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Team structure how and why carpe data changed it up - Matthew McLughlin

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Last February, Carpe Data restructured the functional organization of the product and technology teams in an attempt to improve meaningful outcomes and reflect the continued growth of the company. While some aspects of these changes had already begun to emerge organically, it was important to formally define strong and self-sufficient teams to replace what was previously one large technology resource pool that interacted in a way that was too decoupled from the product vision. This presentation explains the benefits and drawbacks associated with this change and presents the slides used to unveil the change to the company.

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Team structure how and why carpe data changed it up - Matthew McLughlin

  1. 1. 3 Matt McLaughlin Director, Technology May 23, 2019 Productized Talks Team Structure: How and Why Carpe Data Changed It Up
  2. 2. 4 Me at a Glance ● 2011 - Present: Entry level analyst -> Quality Assurance -> Business Analyst -> Project Manager -> Director of Technology ● Not an engineer ● Business / technology seam
  3. 3. 5 Carpe Data at a Glance ● Industry: Insurance Technology ● Customers: Insurance and data companies ● Founded: 2016 [Spun out of Social Intelligence - founded 2010] ● Size: 60 employees (~35 in Technology and Product; expected to grow to 80 by EOY) ● Offices: HQ in Santa Barbara, CA ; 2nd office in Hartford, CT ; 3rd office in Lisbon ● Funding: Venture-backed
  4. 4. 6 Relevant Team Structure Concepts ● Team scaling fallacy ○ 6 people = 15 links ○ 12 people = 66 links ● Jeff Bezos’ two pizza team rule ● Spotify Squad Model
  5. 5. 7 Operating Structure Model ● Formal organizational structure = foundation ● Operating structure = necessary
  6. 6. 8 Product/Tech Resources Outside looking in ● 4 Data Science ● 6 Data Quality + Data Analysts ● 1 Product Lead ● 1 VP of Product ● Client Solutions Lead Agile development cycle team ● 8 Engineers ● 4 QA ● 1 Project Manager ● 1 Business Analyst ● 1 Tech Ops ● 1 Dir of Tech
  7. 7. 9 Warning Signs 1. Team size increasing 2. Communication strain 3. Prioritization bottleneck (ME) a. Bus factor = 1
  8. 8. 10 Proposal Proposal: Self-sufficient product-based teams across 3 major focus areas Values: Depth of knowledge > breadth ; Sustained participation > sporadic ● Claims 2.0 automation ● Product config refactor ● Data Store ● New Indexes ● New data sources ● Logging ● Security ● Data Science Infra Claims Platform Commercial GC
  9. 9. 11 Roles Product Owner ● Own vision / market BA/Scrum Master ● Focus on execution Eng/QA/DS/DA/DO ● More upstream/connected
  10. 10. 12 Advantages of Proposed Structure 1. Decentralized prioritization 2. Scale via horizontal framework 3. Increases Ownership 4. Clear communication channels 5. Couple product vision with product development/execution a. 10,000 foot view <-> In the weeds 6. 4 W’s and 1 H ○ Who - Formalized ○ Why - More clarity ○ When/What/How - Team decides
  11. 11. { Reporting Structure with 2019 Hires
  12. 12. 14 Pitfalls to avoid ● Silos - ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mentality ● Lack of communication between teams How to overcome? ● Functional managers break ties for resource allocation ● Consistent communication + reporting structure + auditing ● Commitment to CARPE DATA goals
  13. 13. 15 Early Successes ● Easier goal-setting ● Well thought-out, detailed product plans ● More vision equals better planning and organization ● Less reactive/more proactive
  14. 14. 16 Early Challenges ● Coordination between teams ● 3x meetings for GC ● Allows team to drift further apart ● Tough dual role of BA/Scrum Master
  15. 15. 17 What’s Next? ● Formal evaluation study ● Is/ought fallacy ● Respond to emergent operating structure ○ New teams? ○ Split BA/Scrum Master into 2 roles? ○ etc
  16. 16. 18 THANK YOU

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