THE PROBLEM WITH
• More layers reduce the number of connections
• But: Every layer of indirection reduces information, domain
knowledge, emotional attachment and buy-in by 50%!
• From a logical perspective, the best solution is to keep
hierarchies ﬂat cut through the red tape
WHAT WORKED FOR US
• Daily Standup: Move to individual teams when too large
• Biweekly All-Hands: Move to team leader presentation later
• Weekly Tech Talk (internal learning)
• Mentoring & Institutionalized Coaching
• Tech Open Hour (for other departments)
• You start with a handful of great generalists
• You end up with a few specialized Agile teams
• What to do in the middle?
• Flexteams: Clear responsibility with part-time resources
• Scrum Light/Kanban without Product Owner or Scrum Master
IT’S A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD
Good reasons: Major downsides:
risk mitigation stiﬂing creativity
predictable results boring people
transparency creating frustration
responsibility losing trust
SOME RULES OF THUMB
• Get full buy-in for process and apply “just-in-time”, not
• Soft process (checklists, conventions) before hard process
(enforcing by hard-/software)
• Need for process determined by risk category
• Think twice about establishing a process - but if you do it,
do it right!
“Hiring well is the most important thing in the universe.
Nothing else comes close.
It’s more important than breathing.”
From the Valve Handbook for New Employees
THE TEAM IS PRIORITY
• Keep the balance - mix different types of peole
• Hire people smarter than yourself
• T-shaped employees: generalists with special knowledge
• Aptitude and attitude before skill - select for team ﬁt
• One arrogant person can drag down a whole team.
• We’ve had continuous success ﬁlling positions “twice”
• Start fast, specialize later
• Most big decisions need to be done ﬁrst
• Great way to get ﬁrst-timers started
• Risk: Mismatch, too late separation of responsibilities
“Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.”
IDENTIFICATION & TRUST
• An atmosphere of high freedom and high responsibility
• “No fear at work” / “Don’t shoot the messenger”
• Admit mistakes openly and let the better idea win
• You can’t buy trust - no matter how much you pay
• Let the team take the credit - “We did it!”
THE NEXT GENERATION
• Build up future leaders from the start
• Communicate the big vision and sync regularly, skip the details
• Have a permeable career path for talents
• Thequality of a leader can be measured on the leaders that
grow up under his wing
YOUR JOB WILL CHANGE
• With a larger size of the company, focus will change.
• You will code less and manage more.
• Embrace it and get Help!