Building a Global Engineering Organization: Insights from Expanding to India

Harsha Shekar

Senior Engineering Manager at Atlassian



In this article, we will explore the insights and challenges of building a global engineering organization, specifically focusing on the process of expanding engineering teams to India. We will discuss the benefits and considerations of such an expansion, as well as strategies for hiring, onboarding, and integrating new team members from different locations. By leveraging diverse talent pools and creating a cohesive global engineering organization, companies can effectively navigate the complexities of international expansion.

The Challenge of Transitioning Projects to India

One of the main challenges faced when expanding engineering teams to India is the impact on existing teams and projects. As one engineer explains, "The organization has an office in India and they've been growing. They are hiring people there and moving a big chunk of projects to India." This transition affects not only the team in India but also other teams that will need to be restructured as a result.

Motivating and Retaining Team Members

The transition to India can create uncertainty and impact team morale. Some team members may feel concerned about the change and question their future within the organization. As one engineer expresses, "I've been dedicating my whole career here, and now they are dropping that to India. The productivity for the next quarter or so is not going to be there for some of them."

To address this challenge, it is important to focus on motivating and retaining team members. One approach is to showcase the benefits and opportunities that come with the transition. Highlighting the technical challenges and growth potential of working on a platform project can help individuals see the value in the new direction. As one leader suggests, "You could showcase how one can build some kind of cross-cultural soft skill as well. Talking to folks across different geos is not very simple. Understanding culture across different teams is a valuable skill."

Onboarding Strategies for a Smooth Transition

When onboarding new team members, it is crucial to provide them with hands-on experience as quickly as possible. This allows them to gain confidence and start delivering results. One leader recommends involving new hires in support tasks, shadowing experienced team members, and gradually assigning them independent tickets in the backlog. This approach enables them to learn by doing and become familiar with the team's processes and systems.

Additionally, creating an architecture documentation and involving new team members in its development can help them understand the technical landscape and contribute to the team's knowledge base. By iterating on the onboarding process and continuously improving it, companies can ensure a smooth transition for new team members.


Expanding engineering teams to India offers numerous benefits, such as access to a diverse talent pool and cost optimization. However, it also presents challenges in terms of team restructuring and maintaining morale. By focusing on motivating and retaining team members, providing hands-on experience during onboarding, and involving new hires in the development of architecture documentation, companies can successfully build a cohesive global engineering organization. As one leader aptly puts it, "The duty of the leader is to keep that person in your company, not just in your team."

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Harsha Shekar

Senior Engineering Manager at Atlassian

Engineering LeadershipLeadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingCulture DevelopmentEngineering ManagementPerformance MetricsLeadership Training

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