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A new framework for organizational change

Pawel Rzymkiewicz

Head of Engineering at Appsilon

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Problem

"When I first started at my company, I was made the head of engineering, with a team of seven people. However, over the course of 18 months, the team had grown to 18 people, and I was still maintaining one-on-one relationships with each of the team members. I had one-on-one meetings with all of my team members to help them grow and to ensure that any issues could be identified and addressed as soon as possible. With 18 team members, my calendar was comprised of sixty percent one-on-ones, and I realized that the structure of my team was no longer scalable. I wasn't able to attend to everyone's needs very well, as I was working with too many people directly."

Actions taken

"Because of this, we decided to make an organizational change. We introduced two engineering leads to act as team leaders, but also as developers. They started off with five team members reporting to them but they now have six, as the teams are growing. We also strongly considered agile values when making our changes, as we work in an agile environment. When making a decision we tried to ensure that it minimized any impact on our ability to work in an agile way. As a result instead of introducing leads for each development team, we introduced them for groups of people based on their competencies. People who were more competent with the front-end would work with others with similar competencies, and people who were more competent with the back-end would work with others with back-end competencies."

Lessons learned

"This new structure allowed the leaders to act as mentors, so they could further develop their team members' skills. In addition, team members are able to switch teams without switching from their direct leaders, giving them a good continuation in their relationship. This structure also allows teams to be started with two or three individuals, with or without a leader. The drawback of this is that it is harder for the leaders to see what their reports are doing, as they don't always see them every day. However, we agreed that this tradeoff was worth making."


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Pawel Rzymkiewicz

Head of Engineering at Appsilon


Engineering LeadershipLeadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingCulture DevelopmentEngineering ManagementSprint CadencePerformance Metrics

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