Chapter 10. Scaling Communication: The Complexity of Scale and Distance
If communication seems to succeed in the intended way, there’s a misunderstanding.
Certain complaints are frequently overheard in fast-growing teams:
- “I have no idea what is going on anymore”
- When the company was small, information spread easily. But as the company grows and the organization becomes more complex, employees start to feel that they are missing out on important news.
- “I’m spending all of my time in meetings”
- As you hire more people you’ll need more synchronization, which typically leads to more meetings. Some of these are necessary, but the more the meeting load interferes with product development, the less you will gain from each person you hire.
- “I can’t keep up with all the email”
- Getting through your email and catching up on group chat channels used to take just 10 minutes in the morning, but now it takes 30 minutes, multiple times per day.
When a team first comes together, communication is effortless. There are only a handful of people on the team, all sitting in one room, and talking openly and freely about everything. These discussions are all interesting and easy to digest because, frankly, there’s not that much of it, and it all feels important while the team is struggling to figure out its product and business model.
But that’s just the beginning of the story. This idyllic environment starts to break down as the team grows, so you need to adapt.