Proving Structure for a Fast-Growing Team

Luka Prah

Head of Quality Assurance at Povio | San Francisco CA


Working Across Industries

Our team is spread, working on different technologies and industries. Typically companies work on a single product, usually working on one interface or technology. The QA team works with clients that are from 12 different industries, meaning that we are either building web pages, web dashboards, OS apps, native mobile apps, or apps with hardware etc. The projects vary significantly, and it’s challenging to get to know each industry, product, and technology.

Our team has been growing really fast in the past year. I’m still ironing out the challenges that accompany growth, but I’ve been delegating some of my responsibility to the rest of the team members, which has significantly reduced stress.

Tips for Managing the Team

Structuring a Team:

Our team is built in a specific structure. We have sub-teams, which we call pods, that are responsible for a certain number of people. Our team rule is that a single person shouldn’t manage any more than six to eight people, depending on their seniority. Those pods directly respond to me and take over some of my managerial duties.

Structuring the team in this manner has allowed me to meet with the ICs under the pods in quarterly meetings or when they need my support. I’ve found that ever since I shared my responsibilities, I’m more relaxed at work.

Specializing for Growth:

As our team continued to grow, I learned that it was ideal to have specific team members focus on specialized areas. With growth comes division – and teams need to be grouped into smaller sections where they can focus on specific projects. When the team is smaller, everybody needs to know everything, and it’s relatively easy to share information.

The team members that joined the company early on are aware of more general knowledge of multiple domains and industries. Now our team has grown to the point where new team members are added into specific sections of the team to hyper-focus their attention on one area.

Remote Connection:

Our team is located remotely in four different cities and four countries, making it challenging to communicate and collaborate. I’ve felt that it is essential to visit team members a couple of times of year – to increase the personal connection and rapport.

Even if a company is fully remote, I still highly recommend making the step to visit team members. Not only is it meaningful for the individual, but it grows the trust within the team.

Trusting the Team:

When the time comes to break a team up into sub-sections, it requires a significant amount of trust. I struggled with trusting the team when I created the first pod, as I was used to working independently. Eventually, I had to make the jump and quickly learned that my pod would deliver value without the need for monitoring.

Collection of Feedback:

Collecting feedback from teams and team members is positive for both sides, although especially helpful for individuals. Everyone appreciates positive feedback and improvement suggestions no matter their role. Regular feedback sessions allow for teams to be honest with one another and feel individualized coming from a leader.

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Luka Prah

Head of Quality Assurance at Povio | San Francisco CA

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyFeedback TechniquesCareer GrowthTeam & Project ManagementDiversity & Inclusion

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