Design Your Org Structure Early. Rinse and Repeat Every 6 months

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In order to avoid short-termism in hiring (or at least to ensure that long term goals are adequately considered), I’ve found it extremely valuable to build out a skeleton org structure, very early on (when you have as few as 10 people, sometimes). At each point in time when you’re going through the exercise, plan it out for 6, 12, and 24 months.

Some potential benefits to the exercise:

 

  • Forces you to think about which members of your team are future leaders of teams vs. strong ICs vs. neither.

  • Helps you think through how your functions should be organized, which will deeply inform your hiring plans. Does your growth function belong in the product org or the sales org? Do you want to have a COO with the corporate and strategic functions reporting in, or do all of these report to the CEO? 

  • Allows iteration over time, so that when you actually need to update org structure in 12 months, you’re not thinking about it for the first time.

  • On a related note, when you go out to fundraise, you’ll already have a well-designed hiring plan that has been integrated into your goals and operations for a while (rather than making up “we’ll spend $7.5M on 5 hires in engineering, 8 hires in sales, 3 hires in marketing, etc.). You’ll be able to position the actual needs of the org in an extremely thoughtful manner that your potential investors will appreciate.

  • Allows you to identify how your organization and culture will evolve over time. Will your ops team be doubling while product / eng increases by 25%? That will probably influence the fabric of the entire company.

  • You can clearly articulate promotion / functional trajectory to current employees. It’s a lot better and more tangible to point to a specific box to an employee and say: “hey I think you’d be great at this role in 6 months” than “yeah if things go well, I think we could promote you soon.”

Written by Hari Raghavan, Founder of AbstractOps

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