Track Talk Th17

Shaping a Fast Growing Team like a Bonsai

Seema Prabhu

16:30-17:15 CEST Thursday 9th June

Heading the QA function of a fast growing company has been a uniquely challenging experience. As the organisation grew organically with increasing teams, and inorganically by acquiring companies, the need for growth and shaping teams could not be left for chance.

As the team scaled, the nature of challenges changed. Just like a bonsai tree, you wouldn’t want to leave the team to shape without a plan.

Scaling changed hiring requirements. As the team grew, at a certain point the effectiveness of the team dropped. This warranted a change in the structure of the team. Defining clear roles and responsibilities, and clarity in career paths was required.

One of the major components that a bonsai represents is that of balance. How could we achieve the right balance in a remote, multicultural team, and achieve the purpose ?

With growth, the decisions to build and shape a team took different directions with time. We had to find the right balance to achieve our purpose. Was the balance between people, process and tools imperfect like the bonsai’s imperfect, triangular shape?

The craft of bonsai highlights harmonious elements working together. Shaping teams is very similar to shaping a bonsai.

In this talk, I will be looking at how the team changed shape as we scaled, looking back at some of the decisions taken – some good, some lessons learnt – and share tools I wish I had during this phase of growth.