How to pump a team of products: culture, experiments and structure

    Skyeng product director Mikhail Karpov told at the Epic Growth Conference product marketing conference how to successfully deal with rapid growth three times, how to pump the team and build internal processes.

    Watch the video and read the notes under the cut.

    It is important that every Skyeng player knows our setup for a year - you need to grow threefold. This year we have exactly the same plans, and we are closely watching them. The schedule (see screen below) is located in the office at the coffee point. And the whole team sees every day how we grow.

    There is a tradition in Skyeng: with the growth of the company and the audience of the product, the team is also gradually growing. Therefore, every year we moved to a new office. Moving changes in the company almost everything. You meet new people who bring new ideas and their own rules. But with such growth, when the company and the team grows, it is very important that we manage to preserve the key principles and culture.

    We have several time-tested principles in Skyeng that we have identified for ourselves as a company. The whole team diligently adheres to these principles, including the new guys. I will tell you about the most important for us.

    The first principle - everything can be counted in money.

    First of all, the common denominator for the entire company is the principle “everything can be counted in money.” Any idea can be counted in money; I speak at the conference, it can also be counted in money. How much I spent my time, how much I will get - we will take this with the guys. This principle is part of the company's culture.

    The second principle is fast feedback.

    Many say that it is important not to forget to give feedback so that people feel comfortable, that there is a feedback and no one is offended.

    We are for the speed of feedback. If you noticed at a meeting or in the work process that a certain team player began to think out less correct ideas, perform tasks worse, then you must give feedback immediately, as soon as you feel it. Do not wait a day, do not wait an hour.

    The absence of this principle at the speeds at which we are running would entail only a misunderstanding. When you run wildly, there is a chance that you might inadvertently offend someone or not fully understand.

    It is very important to pronounce everything with the team and give open and honest feedback. Yes, it can often be painful, but we know that we need to overcome ourselves; each of the team felt for themselves. It is important to quickly give feedback to the person and then you will run much more successfully with him for a very long time.

    The third principle is a company that is open to experimentation.

    We are a company that is open to experimentation. What does it mean? If someone comes and says: “Let's try a new motivation scheme” - I say: “OK, let's try, we are a company open to experiments”.

    In different sub-companies and teams there are completely different rules that mutate and modify. Some rules take root, and over time we can incorporate them into the basic principles. Some are tested month and die. The rest are needed only for a certain period of time, for example, a year, when we go through one of the growth stages, these rules are relevant for this stage.

    If you feel as a manager or as a team player that you want to experiment on processes or on a product, then you should do this, as this is part of the company's principles.

    People, not projects

    Many also say that people are important in the company, not the projects they do. We felt for ourselves how true it is. When we draw up quarterly or annual plans, we cannot always clearly know which projects will be launched. No one knows what will happen in a year because of the speed of market change and the rate of change of the company itself.

    Therefore, we all invest in the guys in the team. The question is, what kind of person you took, how much can he quickly run with you and how quickly can he find ideas and then implement them.

    If there is a right person, he will already find those projects that will be made with us. We understand this, so we treat people and the team with care. After all, we do not have the desire for one-time growth, we strive for growth in the long term.

    Company growth in the growth of people

    It is necessary to constantly research the market or grow the guys at home. When we faced this, the question arose: how to make employees grow with a company that grows three times a year.

    Constantly there are new Challenges, with which we have not previously encountered. And now the whole team needs to figure out how to deal with it. Therefore, we promise pumping twice in competences every year. Without the double growth of a team player, we will not be able to physically fulfill our plans and figure out how to further develop the company at the same speed.

    We have the tools to pump products and other guys. A total of 14 processes that we work on and bring to perfection. I will focus on some of them:

    1-to-1 meeting

    On 1-to-1, I don’t ask the result from my grocery team, but help solve their pain. We have built an infrastructure that helps through the processes to maximize the use of these meetings.

    Weekly "lessons"

    Lessons are held weekly at Skyeng. The development team has lessons, the analytics team, the product team and other teams. I or someone else from the team gives Challenge to the guys. For example, calculate the unit-economy of a product from competitors or find weak points in some hypothesis.

    We solve such problems together in real time format. It is an excellent contributor to the transfer of professional experience, helps to look at specific cases globally and from a different perspective. And it takes only an hour.

    Cross check

    Planning is super important. Your end result depends on what you have planned. If you have planned something small, even if you have a team of cool professionals who can improve the result twice, the small will remain small. If you plan something stronger, you will improve what you get at the output tenfold.

    Therefore, we recently had a cross-check. When a product has an idea for a project, it must protect it. He goes out in front of the team and shares his plans, in return he receives from the team a challenge, criticism and ideas on what can be changed and improved.

    And after that we check with what plans a person came to this meeting, and what happened after this meeting, when he processed all the information. Thus, we are seeing a truly multiple growth.

    Weekly networking

    Every week, food teams or C-level from different companies come to visit us: it can be Yandex, YouDo, and others. And we absolutely openly meet with them: we open our plans and PNL, honestly tell what the processes consist of, what we work on. And the guys in return tell us the same thing and show real life within their company.

    Weekly networking allows both managers and the team to live several lives, to gather experience much faster. This is the mechanism that works weekly.

    Personal development plan

    We in Skyeng have a set of tools that allow measuring employee flow in numbers. One of them is PDP, that is, a personal growth plan. When a person comes to an interview, we check what he knows and what does not, what he has minuses.

    After onboarding in the company, after about two months, we make up the first PDP (they are quarterly). A person thinks what skills he will actually need in six months or three months in the changed conditions of our grown company. And he allocates time in his calendar to think about what skills he should have in order for him to cope with new tasks.

    After that, we make a table in which it is written that he will pump over, who will help him in this, what books he needs to read, what conferences to attend, what people I should introduce him to, what mentors I should find him. And as a manager, I constantly work on this plan. If a person does not keep up with the growth of the company, our growth will begin to slow down.


    We find outside people who have great expertise. We agree on how they will be able to participate, how much time they will be able to invest in our team player - this is also one of my tasks, so that everything works and the employee is pumped.

    The rules listed above help people keep up with Skyeng growth rates. But the height of the people is not enough. It is also important what conditions your team is in, what your team has external dependencies on other teams.

    More product marketing reports available at the @epicgrowth Telegram Channel. Epic Growth Conference is a product marketing conference organized by Mobio, Getloyal and Appsflyer with the support of myTarget.

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