Dealing with Reorganizations

Alex Boudreau

Director of Software Engineering, Analytics at Pindrop



Our company is growing and our product portfolio is constantly increasing. As a result, the organizational structure that once worked was no longer adequate. Too many silos were forming and hence we needed to find a way to better align teams. New orgs that provide leadership alignment across product lines were created. For instance, I now run the Analytics department, which includes 3 engineering groups, each focused on individual products but all within the domain of Analytics. The groups develop analytical pipelines, Data Lakes, predictive analytics and ML pipelines, to name a few. By aligning the teams at a department level, we're now able to more effectively prioritize work and feature development across product teams and increase collaboration with the Research and Product departments.

Actions taken

"To reduce these types of concerns we did the following."

Reorganization and change in general can cause people to be a little anxious - uncertainty can be worrying. People want to understand what the changes mean for them, how their team structures will be affected, what product they'll focus on, or what will be expected of them. Because of this, clear communication is really important.

To reduce these types of concerns we did the following:

  1. We had multiple meetings to explain what was decided, the reasoning behind it and how it would impact them in the short term to ensure that people were clear about our changes before we made them. When you are making large changes it's really important to communicate about them effectively and to do so multiple times.
  2. A first level of communication was had with team leads and managers, followed by a broader group with those who were impacted. Individual chats were also had after the broader announcement to ensure individuals could ask questions they could be uncomfortable asking in a group setting.
  3. When you present the expected outcomes of your reorganization, be very concrete about the changes that are going to occur and when they will occur. If you don't, people are going to worry.
  4. During this process, I was also faced with onboarding new teams. People tend to be very worried when they are given new managers, as they don't know what to expect. Because of this, gaining their trust was really important. I had individual conversations with everyone to say hi and get to know them. I also let them know ahead of time that I would be attending their daily standup meetings so that I could learn from them and I reassured them that I wasn't attending the meetings to judge them or rate how they worked. I just wanted to slowly and organically embed myself in the team. This comforted people a lot and reduced their worry.

Lessons learned

While this is just the beginning of the reorganization, as we are still going through it now, so far things have been running really smoothly. We're now starting to have more conversations about what the changes mean for the future and the new structure is already showing improved cross team collaboration. So far so good.

One key learning was that multiple lines of communications can be necessary when restructuring. This ensures everyone is clear on the changes and that no concerns are left unaddressed. In addition, when taking on new teams, I've personally found that progressively embedding yourself in the team without being quick at taking a top-down approach pays off greatly. Although this approach may not work for every organization, I believe it can be a very positive way of integrating new teams.

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Alex Boudreau

Director of Software Engineering, Analytics at Pindrop

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyCulture DevelopmentEngineering ManagementLeadership TrainingFeedback TechniquesCareer GrowthSkill DevelopmentTeam & Project Management

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