Aligning teams with clear goals

TL;DR: As growth team grew 10x from 10ish people to ~100, the output per capita or say efficiency of execution isn’t 10x. Have couple learning worth to note here.

Big team means more alignment

Alignment is always needed when team gets bigger. When you only have a few people working on certain product area, it’s easy to get team members aligned across Eng, PM, Design. When you have more people working on the same product area, each person will have a view about the approach and prioritization. This has positive impact as well negative impact. With more people’s input and thinking, the plan and the actions will be more comprehensive. But the execution speed will be slowed down. One classic example is that it takes 2 week time to align with team members and 2 week building time. But what if we actually can just spend 4 weeks to build 2 versions of the idea and launch better version of the 2?

Fast changing business need

Under fierce competition, business need tends to be driven by short-term competition. Big chunk of effort will just go into reacting competitor move, especially in an industry that has heavy incentives spend. Short term market share will be largely influenced by incentives spend (promo campaign, new driver incentives etc). Top priority 4 weeks ago might not be a priority today. The product focus has to shift according to the needs. That sets up a hard enviorment for team to do long term planning as well as short term project prioritization.

Key People

Sometimes key people actually will become the bottleneck of decision making. This is one thing I recently noticed during our fast iteration about incentive and pricing optimization.Key people have much broader consideration (business impact, politics, team moral) so it will take some time to make a decision around some key product pivoting.

My thinking

Based on my experience in different organization (MS, MSR, FB), I think it’s better organize product team with clear product goal/metrics. So that the team goal is very clear defined and communicated to external stakeholders. For example, growth team probably could be organized with rider lifecycle (signup, first trip, engagement), driver lifecycle(signup, first trip, engagement), marketplace efficiency(pricing, matching). In fact, our current team structure is somewhat similiar but the missing pieces are around top line metrics definition.