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Building a team while your company is in hyper-growth.

Reorganization
Hiring
Scaling Team
Career Path
Team processes

6 December, 2017

Christian discusses how he grew his team while his company was in hyper growth.

Problem

When I first started at Blablacar, the company had around 50 employees and a team of just five engineers. However, we needed to rapidly grow the company. As part of this expansion, the company's founders put quite a bit of pressure on me, since everything was dependent on the work of high-quality engineers. Actions taken From the day I joined, I was tasked with growing the engineering team. My hiring strategy was simple - I aimed to double the team every year while still maintaining the quality of our work. This required a team effort, as it's not easy to double a team every year while ensuring that the quality of your work is maintained. To help in this process, we progressively adapted the structure of the company, to match its size. By the time our hyper growth phase was over, the company had over 500 employees and over 100 engineers.

I knew that I had to keep the bar high, to ensure that the old engineers would respect the new ones. New hires had to be motivated, good at communication, and responsible. While I knew precisely which profiles were needed, and the first year was okay, the second year was tough, as I had to hire 50 people in one year. In a small organization, it's easy to communicate. However, as a team expands it can become more difficult. As the company grew, we divided the one engineering team into three, and started using Scrum to improve our efficiencies. Over time, we then added scrum masters, a remote team, and hired a full-time agile coach. We then expanded further, and opened two tech hubs.

Lessons learned

Hiring so quickly in a company in hyper growth is quite a ride, and it's very difficult to keep everybody on the same page. If a company is rapidly expanding, it will feel as though you are changing your company every six months, as the company's ways of doing things will change so dramatically. My advice is to be enthusiastic, be authentic, don't look back and be open to change, as your entire structure and team will basically change every six months. I also talked at a conference about this topic. Check out my talk at Gdansk 2016 in Warsaw: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPI1Hyyq9ys


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