I’ve been somewhat remiss in answering reader questions lately. Largely, I’ve lapsed because I’m choosing to focus on my upcoming book. Nevertheless, I apologize for the lapse. I do appreciate all the questions you folks send my way. I’ll try to compensate today with this post about organizations engaging in top heavy department growth.
I’ll paraphrase this reader question because the specificity of the titles and information involved could make it sensitive if I didn’t take a couple of liberties.
I read your article about architect title over-specialization. I’m a software developer with senior level experience.
Recently, my company has created “levels” above me. I used to have only a dev manager above me. But recently, the organization has brought in both new team leads under the dev manager and architects under a different manager. Both take precedence over the existing developers. These people now have authority to tell us what to do and they get to choose what they want to work on, leaving us with the leftovers.
I feel as if i’m being promoted down hill. Can you please advise?
How Companies Expand
If you’re up for it, I’ll offer a good bit of background reading to flesh out the terms. If not, I’ll furnish minimal definitions here for reference. A while back, I wrote a post describing the company hierarchy. That post contains excerpts from my upcoming book, which you can pre-order and read on leanpub.
Here you have an apt illustration of the average company. At the top, in executive roles, you have opportunistic individuals who define (and violate) the rules and culture of the company. Then, in the middle, sit the idealists, who guzzle that same kool-aid and ask for more. Finally, at the bottom toil the pragmatists, who roll their eyes at the company but put up with it for lack of better options.
Significantly, pyramids retain their stability by maintaining their shape. Thus the most stabilizing growth pattern involves rewarding (over-promoting) loyal pragmatists, and hiring a bunch of grunts beneath them. If you think of an existing pyramid that needs to get larger, you wouldn’t heap stuff on top. Instead, you’d build from the bottom. You’d pull some senior developers, make them architects or team leads to reward them hanging around, and hire a bunch of new grunts to report to them.