opsZero and Primitive Organizational Structure

2019-10-07

To hire as an entrepreneur is to know your strengths and delegate your weaknesses to those that have your weaknesses as strengths. opsZero has a strong offering but its growth has been limited because it is limited to me and a few others. However, it is time to take the next steps of hiring out so we can scale the organization. This means creating a strong team structure where people with complementary skills can work together. This will ensure regularity, repeatability and focus on the part of the organization.

As a leader I am strong at certain things, but I am not strong at operational excellence. It is not my forte to do tasks on a schedule. I want to create a powerful Vision, Hire Amazing People, Build a Strong Culture, and Build Systems and Processes that allow us to scale but it is better if other people to execute the mission. So this means to scale opsZero, Primitive and Sheepdog I need to create the structures that are useful in allowing the organization to grow quickly.

To do this I will be creating the initial two pizza teams. The two pizza team is a Amazon model where each team should not be bigger than what two large pizzas can feed. The reason for this is to reduce communication barriers between different people while ensuring high autonomy.

Each team will be divided by customer segment i.e healthcare, finance, etc. Because each team is autonomous each can address the needs of the customer segment without having to concern with the whole. This division will make each team able to better handle and understand the needs of their market and work autonomously to achieve the needs of that market. Initially, it will largely be all under the same organization, but the goal over time is to split the pods further and further to take on more and more customer segments.

The teams will be functionally bound and will be responsible for each other, but there will be divisional bound separation as well so that knowledge can be shared on how to do tasks related to those bounds. This creates a structure that is adaptable. But the main goal is that if a team gets overwhelmed, we can quickly split it into subteams all working in concert with a manager that manages the subteams.

Each team for opsZero should include Two Sales, 1 Marketing and 2-3 Engineers all being lead by a Coach. 7 People is the maximum size of each team.

The structure of the team for opsZero and Primitive should look something like this initially:

Eventually it should look like this:

Me

My role overtime is to Create a Strong Vision, Hire Amazing People, Build a Strong Culture, and Build Systems and Processes. My role is to design the company because the product I am building is the company. My role is to ensure that the company remains strong and can grow independently while achieving its Vision. All other roles I will initially handle but will delegate so that growth can happen smoothly and I can focus on the parts that are my strengths.

Coach

The Coach is the person that acts as a coordinator of everyone in the team. The Coach’s role is to ensure that the team stays on track in advancing towards their customer segment, ensuring that deliverables are being met, removing impediments, designing Sprints and communicating decisions with other teams.

A Coach therefore needs to be highly organized and ensure everything is in writing and a large part of their job is to ensure that the correct things are being done and prioritized while also collecting the negatives. The Coach is who the team members will report to as a lead, however, the team will also report to their effective divisional leads. The Coach is there to ensure that the work is advancing forward and that clients are happy. It is also up to the coach to understand the constraints and figure out what is slowing down the team and figure out if they can delegate their tasks.

Quarterly

  • Work with the team to define the Objectives and Key Results that track to the broader organization’s OKRs.

Weekly

  • The manager’s goal is to ensure that the team stays on track and that deliverables are being met. This means being hyper focused on their customer segment and clients needs.
  • They need to get the requirements from the clients and ensure that they are happy. This means collecting all questions and needs that the client has and organizing them so that they can be addressed either as a priority or in a future Sprint.
  • Collect Observations from the team of improvements to processes, bottlenecks, constraints and mistakes that are slowing them down. These should be collected in Sheepdog to be addressed as part of the Weekly Sprint. This means writing a weekly retrospective and communicating it.
  • Sprint Planning. The manager needs to work with the team to design weekly sprints on Tuesday for delivery by the following Monday. This includes figuring out the priorities from the client, ensuring that there are enough tasks to be completed, and also working with the team to figure out what the bottlenecks are and running experiments to remove the bottlenecks.

Daily

  • Talk to everyone on the team and figure out what their bottlenecks and impediments are. Help them resolve issues.
  • Talk to clients and ask them if they have any concerns and take input.
  • Figure out any changes made by the team and relay it up the chain and the broader organization.
  • Build relationships with industry partners.

Sales

Each team will also have two salespeople. This is to ensure two things: 1) any changes that the team is making will be immediately reflected in the sales material 2) sales will be able to give feedback for what customers are requesting since they will be focused on the customer segment that they are a part of and help define and strengthen the offering for that customer segment.

We will have two salespeople to induced friendly competition and cooperation. We want the salespeople to work together to help each other and work with the engineering teams to solve the customer’s problems.

Weekly

  • Define the quota and experiments to run.
  • Improve the sales material to reflect the changes in the service and better meet the needs of the customer.
  • Create observations to help the team prioritize what services need to be created.
  • Find additional sourcing places and add it to the queue of places to source from and add it to the CRM.

Daily

  • Prospecting. Figure out best approach to outreach to Clients and outreach to those clients through various methods: Drip emails, linkedin, calls.
  • Close clients and full onboard them before transferring them to the responsibility of the Coach.
  • Regular checkins with former customers to ensure they are content and ask for referrals.

Marketing

The marketing person is responsible for creating the content on the website for the particular customer segment the team is covering, converting information from the engineers into blog posts, press releases to the customer segment, create messaging that counters our competitors, and finally social media. By being embedded within the team they will be able to better execute based on new developments and will also be able to contribute to the growth of the team.

Weekly

  • Figure out the content that needs to be created for the week.
  • Figure out what competitors are talking about and create potential responses.
  • Design content pipeline
  • Create press releases that take into account the changes from the service and publish them.

Daily

  • Create and publish content that is relevant to the customer segment.

Engineers

The engineers will be responsible for implementation and executing the weekly tasks they define with their coach. There will be a Senior Engineer and Two Junior Engineers with the idea that the Senior Engineer will oversee the work of the Junior Engineers on the team. Their roles will include designing specifications with the Coach and Client. They will include getting tasks done and ensuring deliverables are being met.

Weekly

  • Help define their deliverables for the Sprint for each clients.
  • Help define the specifications of the projects and split it into smaller chunks.
  • Figure out bottlenecks in the process and create systems and processes for addressing them.

Daily

  • Work on client related tasks
  • Work on process related improvements that are a part of the weekly sprint.

Additional

All of these are under the assumption that 80% workweek with a day of the week that can be used for process improvement or other hacks, and learning so that we can learn and improve. Learning should be made a part of the routine. So a day a week should be used to learn new techniques, and improve oneself.

The pace should be a steady 85-90%. Working 100% is a cause of burnout and so to deal with that we need to maximize our work to be at a 85-90% overtime.

Each team member will be evaluated based on the outcome of the team not their individual output. As such an individual can perform well, but if they are not helping improve the team overall then that is negative. When the team wins, the individual wins, when the team loses, the individual loses.