Plato Elevate Winter Summit has been announced (Dec 7th-8th)


Back to resources

Managing Squads Effectively

Scaling Team
Agile / Scrum

27 May, 2021

Daniel Archer

Daniel Archer

VP of Engineering at Ritual

Daniel Archer, VP of Engineering at Ritual, implemented a squad-based model of collaboration in order to focus the efforts of a quickly-scaling team.


At the beginning of 2020, our team was very small. We were all focused on the same work, drawing from the same Jira backlog, and running the same sprints as a whole. While we were able to function, we noticed that some team members were getting lost in what other people were doing.

My team had the potential to be distracted as more individuals joined the team — my back-end engineers didn’t necessarily need to know what my front-end engineers were doing at all times, and we found that separating them into separate squads focused the conversation around specific topics and KPIs.

After restructuring, we enjoyed an agile workflow where we were more focused, productive, and collaborative across departmental lines that were now much more clearly defined. One downside, however, was that some individuals were losing touch with coworkers who they no longer interacted with daily.

Actions taken

Giving each squad its own assigned focus and the dedicated space that it needed became my priority. Each squad had its own individual stand-up daily. Their sprints were all planned individually, with managers aligning their goals with the objectives of the company as a whole. Each squad had a clearly-defined purpose, so nobody had any questions about what they should be doing at any given time. The separate Slack channels that each team used and Google groups that controlled team calendar events. We integrated this model into our onboarding process, as well, laying a clear track for every new team member to follow. Scaling naturally and collaborating effectively became a part of our infrastructure from the beginning.

To encourage coworkers separated by these lines to remain in touch with one another, I instated channels that allowed individuals to access each other across the official squad boundaries used during our working hours. These look like Slack channels and GitHub teams for front-end/back-end specialties. We’ve also planned social events, happy hours, hackathons, and, most importantly, a dedicated stand-up every Monday that included the entire digital team at once. This “round table” was key, as it got everybody on the same page for all of our projects and goals on that given week. Team members were able to touch base outside of their immediate squads, ready to re-group and continue as before. Each group retained its “personality” while maintaining its connection with the ones adjacent. This made for a more cohesive, consistent experience for our clients.

Establishing KPIs for each group was another way that we tried to show our team members how they were making an impact on the company overall. Each squad had its own set of KPIs, supplemented by company-wide KPIs that illustrated the objectives that we all shared. Individuals were encouraged to develop their own KPIs, with the support of their manager, to ladder up to their squad/department KPIs.

Lessons learned

  • Communication between my team members became much deeper as the topics at hand narrowed and became more focused. The connections that they shared were enhanced by the camaraderie that everybody felt within each squad.
  • Product managers, each overseeing a now much more manageable team, were able to refine their scopes of interest. This newfound sense of clarity allowed them to draw upon one another’s experiences utilizing this model, improving the ways that they managed the squads that they were responsible for.
  • Our reports became much more connected to what they were doing for the company as a whole. Sometimes, as an engineer, you write the code and ship it off with little feedback on how it impacts the customer or the business. Connecting them to the results that their work has contributed to can often be a source of positive morale. Now, I try to make the vision for the team very clear. Continual check-ins reduce diversion and drive everybody forward.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader

Related stories

Delegate successfully as a first time manager of Product Managers

24 November

Andrew Tsui, a Product Leader, works to build great teams that are independent, demonstrate mastery of their domain, and fully commit to their purpose.

Scaling Team
Building A Team
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Psychological Safety
Cross-Functional Collaboration
New Manager
Andrew Tsui

Andrew Tsui

Director of Product at Startup

Building a Long-Lasting Career Infrastructure Using Ikigai Principles

16 November

Albert Lie, former Founding Engineer and Tech Lead at Xendit, shares his annual performance review process implementing principles from the Ikigai framework into regular check-ins.

Scaling Team
Personal Growth
Albert Lie

Albert Lie

Former Tech Lead at Xendit

How to Build a Software Team from the Ground Up

12 November

Deepesh Makkar, Sr Director of Engineering at SunPower Corporation, shares his experience transitioning his organization from contractors to a 50/50 split of full-time employees and international vendors.

Cross-Functional Collaboration
Agile / Scrum
Deepesh Makkar

Deepesh Makkar

Sr Director of Engineering at SunPower Corporation

The Power of Collaboration Between Junior and Senior Engineers

9 November

Frédéric Duperier explains his process of pairing juniors and seniors to fill the knowledge gap and learn new techniques.

Scaling Team
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Frédéric Duperier

Frédéric Duperier

Founder at We Are One Sarl

How to Scale Product Teams for Empowerment & Impact?

5 November

Prasad Gupte, Director of Product at Babbel, shares his insights into the challenges behind successfully growing a team.

Scaling Team
Prasad Gupte

Prasad Gupte

Director of Product at Babbel

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato ( is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.