Building the right organization

Choosing the right organizational structure is always a challenge. Some of those decisions can cause pain and suffering while others can prove to be real game changers. One thing is for sure… changing those once going live is almost impossible.

Structure changes are mostly about people. Who are the people at hand and how can I share the workload in a balanced way between them. Considering things such as experience , skill , location and cultural fit , so it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. If I’ll move one piece it will most likely impact some others.

So many pieces…

But what else ?

Here are a few hints that helped me in the past

Have a clear vision
Figure out what are the things you are trying to solve. Phrase them in 1–5 words. Few examples could be ‘faster time to market’ , ‘strong technical leaders’ , ‘Diversity & inclusion’ , ‘ownership’ and others.
See how every new idea is supporting one or more of these.

Plan your span of control
Plan the optimal number of direct reports based on your experience level. This would possibly your most important decision. Having more direct reports means more flexibility but less scope for each. This needs to balance.
In any structure proposed stick to this number.

Don’t expect a silver bullet
There is no one solution for everything. Address each function indevidualy.
Example : Should QA report to the team lead or to a QA lead ? should we use the same product structure for our core product and use cases ? Should architects use the same reporting structure as PO’s ? Should BE teams have the same structure as FE ? or maybe go cross functional ?

Consult with people you trust
Consulting with peers, team members and others you trust is critical. You can’t see everything. When creating new roles and assigning people to them it is important to have as many views. You would also need their support when implementing changes.

Think of the people
We tend to mainly consider managers and leads. Try to minimize the change for the working level team. On day one , most of them should keep doing the same as in day -1. Change will possibly come later.

Good luck !

Agile R&D leader since 2010