Hiring management Team building

Seeding new teams

We’re currently trying to seed a new team to work on a high profile high-value initiative.

In this post, I will walk you through the different options we came up with, as well as the DACI format we’re using to get to a decision.

Existing team

The fastest option but also the one that carries the most risk.

Existing teams already own components and have plans for them in the future.

By switching priorities over to this new initiative, they will have to drop their work and ownership onto someone else’s plate or decide that there is no value in engaging in the work, which could have very real negative business impact.

Add to that the human factor. You usually join a team, make plans, and have certain expectations of the work you will be doing.

Now imagine that suddenly, the company decides to switch directions and sends you over to go build something entirely different.

Depending on what the new work is, this might sound like a fascinating opportunity or a terrifying one that could cause some churn within the company.

New team

The most time-consuming option is establishing an entirely new team.

It takes an average of three months to hire a new engineer, even longer to hire an engineering manager, a product owner and a designer.

Add another three months or so of onboarding time and we’re saying that if we start today we will see progress on this initiative in about six months.

Internal recruiting

This in-between option means that we seed the team initially from within but, unlike option number one, where we’re using an existing team, we will open up a requisition to gather interest from within the company and go through our internal hiring process to seed the initial squad.

The approach comes with a few advantages and disadvantages.

On the plus side, we ensure that interested individuals actually join the team.

It is also less time-consuming than hiring externally.

It is possibly less disruptive than removing an entire team, given that ideally, the individuals will come from multiple parts of the company.

On the negative side, it does take longer than just taking an entire team and switching directions for them.

There’s also the risk that no one shows up or is interested in the work.

As well as the unlikely option that an entire team would want to move over.


While we have not decided what we’re going to do, I’ll talk a bit about the DACI framework used to get to a decision.

The framework stands for driver, approvers, contributors, informed.

The driver’s job is to initiate the process and gather all the approvals, contributors, and people that need to be informed of the decision.

The driver could also be in one of the other statuses.

The approvers will provide feedback, contribute to the decision, and ultimately make a decision.

Contributors are different stakeholders that will offer some input or based on their expertise.

Informed are the group of stakeholders that will need to be made aware of the decision.

With very well-defined roles, the process is simple.

We start a document with an initial summary that displays multiple options, such as the ones we included at the beginning of this blog post.

We include any risks that we believe there to be with each option.

We sent the document to everyone in the approval and contributor groups and set a deadline to give everyone enough time to provide their feedback.

Once everyone has given their input and provided their preferred option, the approvers will get together and make the final decision.

The last step is to inform the people in the “informed” group.

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