Scaling an Organization

Liz Rodriguez

Director of Software Engineering at Modernizing Medicine



"When we started, there were no tech leads, leaving the majority of technical guidance up to the senior engineers to provide. There was nobody to truly own the team from a technical perspective and we didn't really have supervisors either. People were more like myself, where I had 19 reports, which doesn't scale well."

Actions taken

We divided our development team into scrum teams on a matrix organization that works really well for us. In those scrum teams for the web organization, which is my specific team, we have anywhere from 2-10 web developers. We structured the teams to have at least one tech lead, with the larger teams having two tech leads that can provide help whenever needed. They meet on a weekly basis and I am currently working on structuring the organization in a way where there is even a tech lead for the tech lead. It will be someone who will be in charge of the organization that has a very broad and in-depth knowledge of the systems and that can provide input for the tech leads. The rest of the teams have managers and there are managers that are in charge of multiple teams, as well as supervisors, that also have multiple teams that report up to them at an individual contributor level. This is the way the team is segmented right now and we are working with someone to sort of onboard them into this role.

Lessons learned

  • "It is better to have five to eight direct reports so that you can really focus on those people and it also makes it easier to scale that way, as well as, grow the organization from within, which is what I prefer."
  • "A more scalable organization is important especially for us hiring 20 engineers in one year. You have to be able to scale because the onboarding of engineers is truly important. The more time you can spend with someone upfront the better they are going to be down the road, and likewise, the more impact you can make on a person early on, the better. For this reason, it is very important to have that scalability within a team."

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Liz Rodriguez

Director of Software Engineering at Modernizing Medicine

Engineering LeadershipLeadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingCulture DevelopmentEngineering ManagementSprint CadencePerformance Metrics

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