Organizations hacked for growth

Last Updated on June 28, 2022 by Linn Teichert Asplund

Organizational design is a science in itself and the reason we bring it up is because it’s important to understand the environment in which you want your growth team or teams to function within. 

Growth Hacking as a method doesn’t require one special organizational design, all environments have it’s pros and cons. Let’s look into the settings we normally find ourselves in as growth consultants; matrix- and functional design.

The Matrix Organization

Nowadays we talk alot about matrix organizations, where employees do not only report to one manager. Rather, they may have a manager, an agile coach and maybe a project manager under whom they work.

It can sound like this design only adds complexity but for many, it helps to create a more efficient and fast moving organization. It can be especially beneficial for companies with more product lines and/or services. Let’s look at a great example of a matrix organization optimized for growth; Spotify!

Squads, Tribes and Chapters

Squads are growth teams. They are led by an agile coach or project manager. They focus on a feature or part of a function and consist of different specialists who together have all the necessary skills to bring up a new function in the app.

Squads working with the same feature area are part of a Tribe. The idea of gathering squads in tribes is to build shared direction.

Chapters exist to maintain best practices across disciplines within Tribes. They consist of people with the same role such as developers, UX designers, analysts.

The functional organization

For some reason, it can be a little bit tricky to fit a growth team into a line organization. Interdisciplinary teams are by definition people with different skills within the same group. Whereas the functional (line) Organization is often divided based on functions.

Here are three points to be aware of when starting a growth initiative in a line organization:

1. Mandate

One thing that is crucial for the success of the growth team is that one or more decision-makers in the company are involved in the start up of the growth team and not just the people who will work hands on. After the initial phase the mission of the management is to anchor the purpose of the growth team for e.g. investors and the board as well as with the rest of the organization. If the growth team does not have the mandate to experiment with user journeys or functions, the growth rate will be significantly reduced.

2. Start with your core product or service

In established organizations, new projects and or expansion plans are often initiated. The focus is rarely on optimizing the core product. If things goes okey why experiment with a functioning concept? Our way of doing it is, through the growth process, is to make the functioning concept a winning one!

3. Too many cooks in the kitchen

There can easily be too many cooks in the kitchen when the company’s most important KPIs are owned by everyone, such as conversion rate. The more the merrier says some but without clarity and overview it can paralyze an otherwise capable workforce. If you do not already have someone who has overall responsibility for growth, hire one! A person who can give managers, product owners and teams an overview of the entire business from a growth perspective.

Find you way

Regardless of the environment in which your new growth team will operate, you will quickly become aware of challenges, which will keep things exciting. 

If you are a startup with 5 employees, your growth team is your entire organization, which gives you a lot of freedom to experiment and find your way.

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