Instagram, which was once a part of Facebook, has grown rapidly since 2015. In fact, at the start of the social media empire, it only had about 115 engineers to name, but with the growth, 2017 brought in additional engineers to scale that number to over 400 total. With such rapid growth, Instagram needed something to help them recoup the chaos that growth had brought. Thus, reorganization began.
Typically, companies tend to underutilize reorganization, and though it is a huge step, it is perhaps one of the biggest tools that a company can use to help build the company. The engineering department over at Instagram headquarters needed a good bit of reorganization and a change in management. Through a series of three months, many took the time to reorganize the company and then another 18 months to put everything into place for growth in the department. With this reorganization, Instagram’s engineering group quadrupled, and they were working faster and harder than ever.
Instagram’s team that worked for reorganization put a few tips online to help with other companies that want to reorganize themselves. For starters, coming up with a list of outcomes and then prioritizing them from the most important to the least important. Choosing the top five from that list and acting on them is the way in which companies can rebuild their structure and organize themselves.
For Instagram’s company reorganization, the new structure slowly began to reveal itself naturally. They transformed their teams into departments, foundational areas, and vertical areas. This structure change allowed them to create a more organized structure.
Instagram only has three teams when the company first took off. They have a backend team, an Android team, and an iOS team to help with the same exact thing which was searching. Reorganization of the company enlisted everyone to work in the same place on the same problem, and there was no question about who the decision maker was. This was all a part of the defining roles position of the reorganization. When roles are defined, it helps encourage efficiency and overachievement.
The reorganization team at Instagram helped create fewer moving parts in their structure to help simplify things. Their newfound confidence in the structure was vastly important for growth in the future. However, they aren’t always easy.
Reorganization is messy, disruptive, and unsettling, but they are incredibly important. If the job is done correctly, then the new structure will be rewarding, which is what Instagram’s thoughts were when they began the process.
With reorganization comes a sense of ambiguity. There are many misunderstandings out there that can make it difficult to get the process started. Avoiding this ambiguity and understanding the truth about reorganization is important for having a smooth transition. Instagram is a true testament to this understanding and smoother transition. They have a pretty big goal to double in the next few years, and they’re moving much faster than they expected to. It all comes from their time taken to reorganize the company.
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