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Should I Divide My Squads by Industry, Solution, or Architecture?

Exploring the best ways to structure product squads for maximum efficiency and innovation.

Some of the worst product decisions come from rigid organizational structures. That’s right, the way you structure your squads can make or break your product's success. Should you divide them by industry, solution, or architecture? Let's break down the pros and cons.

Industry-Focused Squads

Assigning squads to specific industries can provide deep insights and specialized solutions. Your team becomes experts in their domain, understanding the nuances and pain points of their industry. This approach can lead to highly tailored products that delight specific customer segments.

However, the downside is the risk of creating silos. Your teams might become too focused on their industry, losing sight of the broader market and missing out on cross-industry innovations. Plus, the knowledge transfer between squads becomes a challenge.

Solution-Focused Squads

Dividing squads by solution focuses your teams on specific product functionalities. This can drive innovation and expertise in those areas, leading to robust and polished features. Teams are motivated to continuously improve their solutions, pushing the envelope of what’s possible.

The catch? It might lead to a fragmented product experience. Users could face inconsistencies as they navigate between different solutions. Moreover, coordinating across multiple solution-focused squads requires stellar communication and collaboration.

Architecture-Focused Squads

Organizing squads around architecture means structuring them based on the tech stack or layers of the product. This can streamline development processes and ensure technical excellence. Teams become highly skilled in their specific layer, driving performance and reliability.

Yet, this approach can also lead to a myopic focus. Teams might prioritize technical perfection over user needs, resulting in a product that's great under the hood but lacks appeal. Balancing technical priorities with user-centric design is crucial here.

Hybrid Models: The Best of All Worlds?

Why not blend these approaches? Hybrid models can mitigate the drawbacks of each method. For example, you could have industry-focused squads working alongside solution-focused teams, ensuring both deep domain expertise and cohesive user experiences.

This model requires careful orchestration and a strong culture of collaboration. But when done right, it fosters innovation, ensures consistency, and leverages the strengths of each approach.

Making the Choice

Ultimately, the best structure depends on your product, market, and team dynamics. Consider your priorities: Is deep industry knowledge more valuable, or does your product benefit from solution-specific expertise? Does your architecture demand specialized focus to meet technical challenges?

Experiment with different models, gather feedback from your teams, and stay flexible. Organizational structures should evolve with your product and market needs. So, be prepared to pivot as you learn what works best.

In the end, remember: A well-structured squad is not just about the org chart; it’s about fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and relentless focus on delivering value.

For more insights on optimizing your product teams, check out Eververse and stay ahead in the ever-changing landscape of product management.

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