Chapter 6. Scaling the Organization: Design Principles

The purpose of organization is to reduce the amount of communication and coordination necessary.

Frederick Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month

This chapter describes how to structure an organization over time so that hiring more people results in getting more work done. We focus on organizations that deliver a consumer-facing product in our illustrations and examples. However, the principles we outline are valid for other technical endeavors, such as building B2B solutions.

The key to scaling organizations is to avoid diseconomies of scale: basically, getting less return for each hire. In extreme cases, each new hire might actually result in a reduction in overall productivity. Another focus is to connect team members as closely as possible to the success of the company. We will show how the right organization can help achieve this focus by establishing a well-defined purpose, effective communication techniques, and direct user feedback.

First, we will look at how to grow an organization. Everything we discuss is also applicable for larger and more established organizations, but we want to start by examining how small teams evolve because the decisions you make at the beginning have long-term consequences.

Motivation and Organization

One of the core aspects of all organizational planning is motivation. Only if motivational triggers are set correctly will an organization blossom and be successful. In his book Drive: The Surprising ...

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