Starting and growing a team in a new city
16 April, 2018
When you have a "mothership" that's looking to expand to another city, it can be unsettling to wonder how this new office can be created and maintained in a healthy way, honoring the culture of the first office. If there isn't alignment, there's a risk that the new office could fail.
At two separate companies based on NYC, I've had the opportunity to work for the company but have not been willing to relocate from Silicon Valley. In each situation, I started a new office in California, first with just myself, but then hiring more and more people over time. I've had to ensure that I visited the main office quarterly to stay in sync with the true office culture, and it's been necessary to have explicit conversations about the company culture, making known what's obvious but not discussed (good and bad) of the company culture. The goal is to embody the "goods" in the new office as you hire and, hopefully, avoid but openly communicate the reality of the bad. Through this process, it's inevitable that a "microculture" will be created for the new office. As long as you have virtual company meetings, ideally on a weekly basis, as we have, you'll find that the broader culture can be seen, appreciated, and, hopefully emulated. One of the great risks, which I've seen happen a few times, is that if there's not enough connection between individuals at a given office, they will "flip the bozo bit" for someone in the other office, resulting in non-constructive conversations, wasted time, and other problems. When this occurs, it's important to have a transparent, explicit conversation about the elephant in the room and not let the "echo chamber" effect in the smaller office occur.
Explicitly define your existing culture with existing leadership, define the goals of the new office, create virtual company meetings to maintain the connection between offices, and ensure that any meetings and processes that need both offices involved have them involved. Be sensitive to "echo chambers" of subjective realities, and encourage people with issues to communicate openly and tactfully with one-another any issues that come up.
Jose Pettoruti, Director of Engineering at CurrencyCloud, describes how to handle multiple inputs from a number of people in an asynchronous mode.
Director of Engineering at CurrencyCloud
Murali Bala, Director, Software Engineering at Capital One, discusses the importance of psychological safety emphasizing its unparalleled significance during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Director, Software Engineering at Capital One
Agata Grzybek, ex-Uber Engineering Manager, outlines her efforts to inspire mission-driven culture among engineers on her team.
Engineering Manager at ex-Uber
Damian Schenkelman, Principal Engineer at Auth0, shares the fundamentals of developing a technical strategy and explains how that process helped him improve the overall efficiency of his engineering organization.
Principal Engineer at Auth0
Steve Hoeg, Director of Engineering at Faire, provides a detailed list of instructions that will make your remote work in times of coronavirus pandemics more efficient and productive.
Director of Engineering at Faire
You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.
Plato (platohq.com) 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.