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Surviving Hypergrowth

Edited: March 15, 2021 (v0.0.6)

I spent the past 10 years working at a company that underwent hypergrowth. This note is a number of reflections on that experience.

Tooling is important. Tooling helps you engineer culture. It’s the “invisible hand” that I’ve talked about before. Tooling helps you scale. Tooling helps you prevent paralysis caused by large teams.

Telemetry is critical for maintaining a healthy Kaizen-based culture. What get’s measured get’s fixed. But, this cuts both ways, and must be kept in check. Over-operationalization, over focus on metrics, seems to have a quicksand-like effect on your productivity. You’ll crash a plane if your instruments are bad, so make sure you know when your instruments are bad.

You must invest in machinery to move boulders as well as pebbles. Moving both boulders and pebbles is equally important. You must be able to move mountains and molehills.

Finding ways to scale the maintenance and transfer of knowledge helps remedy symptoms caused by “tribal knowledge”. Vast amounts of organizational knowledge will be lost over time if you don’t have a durable way to maintain and transfer knowledge. Make investments into pedagogy earlier than later. Find ways to structrually void single points of failure (SPOFs).

Keep your sense of ownership in check. During hypergrowth, scopes are expanding, and sometimes different people can overlap. Sometimes this turns into conversations about ownership. Make sure ownership doesn’t inhibit change, when you stop growing. Consider standardizing on consensus frameworks.

Don’t get high on hypergrowth. The growth will stop eventually. If you don’t know how to run your business with the resources it currently has, you may die of withdrawal. Exercise muscles to budget and plan with the resources you have now. Don’t normalize HC asks. Don’t allow for slips because HC wasn’t given. This is simply a sign leaders cannot focus or prioritize.

There are additional good reflections on organizational structure written about by Coda Hale in [1]. These reflections serve as good advice for companies to survive hypergrowth.


  1. [1]C. Hale, “Work Is Work.” 2020 [Online]. Available at: https://codahale.com/work-is-work/. [Accessed: 01-May-2020]