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The org chart that makes product teams independent, scaling easy and founders free from operational management

Collaboration with Resume.io, Part 1
January 2022

In a nutshell

In 2020, Alex Taktarov and Tikhon Belousko asked us to hire a product designer for their company — Resume.io. We introduced a fit one to the company and, a year later, the guys came back with a huge goal to attain — they needed an org chart and a team scaling plan that would fit their expanding business.


In 2021, the company was acquired by the American holding company Talent Inc. This important event brought changes, so, Resume.io came to us for help. As a result, the team has grown from 8 to 30+ members, and now keeps on upgrading with the promising talents we’ve engaged. One of them is Ivan Shishkin, the CPO who is in charge of mastering and changing our org chart as the company grows.

Resume.io is a free online resume maker to create CVs and cover letters in one click. The company has existed for five years and has attracted over 12 million users worldwide. The marketing office is in the Netherlands and the product office is in Russia.


To cover all the directions and to depict all the details, we united and divided the story into several parts. In the story you are currently reading we explain how to make an org chart that frees founders from operational management, describe how to make all responsibilities crystal clear, and tell how to form independent product teams. Additionally, we share the secrets of maintaining a fit org chart as a company develops.

Alex Taktarov and Tikhon Belousko

Collaboration period: February – June 2021


{{team}}

Resume.io before the project

  • The business was centered on Alex and Tikhon. They kept all the knowledge about product aspects and governed all the decisions on its change and development. Consequently, scaling was problematic.
  • From code review to product research, Alex and Tikhon made everything on their own, being product managers, engineers, and operational managers all in two.
  • Different business functions lacked distinctions: the marketing office could change the product office tasks and influence their prioritization. Such actions demotivated product managers and caused debates.

Our key tasks were to

  1. set up the business for scaling and selling
  2. help founders delegate manual operational management and let them be top managers, not operational ones
  3. divide responsibilities of the product and the marketing offices clearly


Resume.io Request

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Valeria Rozova, TYPICAL:</div>

If you keep on doing the same things to master your business and see no development, you feel lost and, finally, burn out. To get from such a ground-hog day, you need to broaden your team and your opportunities. New people open new areas of responsibility and change your mindset. Meanwhile, they accomplish additional product tasks and enable you to get real results.


The guys had a feeling that the fresh blood is a must, but they were stuck and had no idea where and how to develop. They sought new verticals, products, and challenges, but the Dutch team was more conservative. So, the guys came to us for a breath of fresh air and new perspectives.


We analyzed the problem and collaborated on a new org chart. We figured out how to expand the team, whom to hire firstly. Besides, we built, polished, and automatized the hiring process.


<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Tikhon Belousko, Resume.io</div>When we came to TYPICAL, our Russian team consisted of Alex, me, a designer, five developers, and no managers at all. We understood that we needed some to govern all the tasks and set the course for Resume.io’s development. However, our understanding of a “manager” was too vague and we had no idea what this person was supposed to do.</div>

<div class='p-container'>From time to time, we were trying to create roadmaps and set our priorities, but all our attempts were in vain. We had loads of urgent work to do, lacked concentration, and were literally scared of the “org chart creation” task. TYPICAL made a change and had a strong therapeutic effect on us. They told us: “This is cool, and this has room for improvement. Why not try this way? Think about this”. So, we got more confident, and, finally, relaxed.</div>


<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Alexey Taktarov, Resume.io</div>

The truth is that we came to TYPICAL not just with a request, we came with pain. We were working on a huge mechanism, and it was centered on us. If we left for a while, everything was about to get ruined. So, we were constantly stressed.

However, this is not the whole story, because everything was very uncertain. We were worried about the sale and had no idea whether our company would be bought or not. Meanwhile, we both were kinda demotivated. We were literally sitting and thinking “Holly Molly, we are lost”.

We faced a new environment that had nothing to do with our previous experiences. We didn’t launch numerous companies and worked majorly  in startups made of 10 people or less. Consequently, we used to be multifunctional workers and had no idea of what to do in a big team, where everyone should be responsible for a particular area.

But we got this big team and tried to realize what to do with it next. Finally, we came to TYPICAL with the request to hire a product manager. However, the team of TYPICAL stopped us and proposed to check whether we really needed some or the solution was in something else. Together, we identified all our problems and started to change the game at the third or the fourth meeting.

Frankly speaking, I had been thinking about some well-defined structure for a long time but had no idea of how to make it correctly. Surely, I investigated the matter and learned how other companies coped with it. I understood that everything can be done by product teams, but had no idea how to put this theory into practice. On the one hand, I had no experience, on the other — I needed validation from some expert to guide me.

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Anastasia Minetto, TYPICAL</div>Working on the same project for five years is getting harder and harder daily. The founders have been manually piecing the project together, being not only its managers but the only people who were digging into it.</div>

<div class='p-container'>Surely, they had a huge sub-goal — selling. But the company could be sold only in the condition of spotless independence from its founders, Alex and Tikhon. In a word, the product couldn't be put on the market without a team that would be actually developing it.</div>

{{doing}}

Current org chart

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Alex Taktarov, Resume.io</div>

One evening, Tikhon and I got a breakthrough insight — we needed an org chart that would eliminate our problems. We stocked up with coffee, locked in the office until late, and worked hard to describe our dream team. Next, we brought our brainchild to TYPICAL, but the setup failed because it was developers-oriented and fitted coding issues only.

I called our draft “product teams”, but I was sly. I knew my people and was aware of their skills. So, I followed the principle: “This one is good at this, so he goes here” and even created some departments. TYPICAL checked each of my proposals and asked clarifying questions: “What is it for?”, “What problem are you solving here?”, etc. A month later, we made the right setup together.

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Tikhon Belousko, Resume.io</div>Our first setup draft was oriented to the technical architecture and our back-end set. As a result, we got common metrics. One team included several experts, was far cry from being scalable, multilayered and “fat”. TYPICAL proposed us to divide the product into steps, into stages of a scenario with some clear metrics, and build teams according to this core. That's what we did: we took our entire funnel before payment and retention and divided it all into three pieces.</div>

<div class='p-container'>Finally, we got a matrix structure with product managers, designers and developers. Talent Inc. appreciated it too and took it as a Proof of Concept. It turned out that the American guys are much into doing things this way. That meant that we could easily integrate by fusing these matrices.</div>


<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Anastasia Minetto, TYPICAL</div>

To bring Alex and Tikhon to the top management, we needed a fit org chart. Additionally, this org chart was to be divisible and scalable to let small teams easily emerge and expand inside the growing old ones.

When a company is growing with its teams being arbitrarily divided, their areas of responsibility overlap, and people complete each other's tasks. TYPICAL was aimed to deal with this chaos where different teams in the main products’ structure do the same things.

The product team structures may vary greatly, but they always depend on the business strategy. For example, if a company’s key goals are growing the retention and keeping clients for as long as possible, a separate retention team must be formed. Next, the whole company should center around this team with its needs being put first. Then, the further teams are to be shaped according to the same principles.

For Resume.io, we started from the value chain (value chain for the client), where you need to attract him to the service, then register, then activate. The product usage and the growth of the customer's value can be further developed and divided into different teams.

Meanwhile, we needed to predict the further growth: what teams could be divided next, what could they do, and what to pay attention to. So, we needed to understand how each team should be singled out, where it would emerge, and how it would communicate with other teams.

Resume.io had another problem — the lack of clear subordination. Therefore, we clearly outlined Menno as CEO, Tikhon as СPО (now CDO), Alex as СТО and Rolph as СМО (all of them headed by CEO). This hierarchy was noted to prevent people from doing someone else’s tasks.

Additionally, it was necessary to reduce the number of people who could directly communicate with Alex and Tikhon. We solved this by getting a tech lead and a product manager in each team. At that time, Vanya joined the company. The org chart was ready, the next task was to fill the blanks with appropriate people.


<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Valeria Rozova, TYPICAL</div>To divide the team logically, we needed to know how they work, how they divide tasks, and what they have inside. I even asked Alex to record a 20-minute demo and make an inside review of the whole product. I needed to see how the admin panel looked and what functions it had.</div>

<div class='p-container'>The first guys' draft was based on limitations: on people, their skills, stack, and so on. On the one hand, the org chart was rooted in their loyalty to their team. On the other hand, it was designed from the perspective of stack. We put it aside, and started working from scratch. But now we were keeping in mind that the team would scale with new divisions emerging not "from the inside" only. The teams of the company that would buy them were also to be taken into consideration. So, seeking the bargain, we learned to be flexible.</div>

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Alex Taktarov, Resume.io</div>

We realized that departments can be shaped on the basis of professional skills only (for example, front-end and design departments). This model is outdated: people are not much into working this way, because, being stuck in this model, they lack feedback to understand the value of their work. Consequently, they keep on working “for someone else” and are not interested in making the most of themselves. To break this model, we decided to shape independent and autonomous product teams. Encouraged players would make self-sustainable decisions efficiently, because they would bear in mind the product problems.

Resume.io after the project

  • Now the company has differentiated marketing and product tasks, worked out the risks of conflicts and demotivation of the product team
  • Alex and Tikhon left the manual product development and stopped being the only source of the product expertise
  • Vanya keeps on mastering and scaling the org chart according to the new tasks of the company

What has changed in Resume.io

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Anastasia Minetto, TYPICAL</div>

While “taking seats” in a new org chart, people check whether they feel comfortable or not, and how they can tune it for themselves. To work with it, one doesn’t need any extra knowledge: this is not a new tool, just human relations. Our org chart fitted Resume.io members, but Vanya Shishkin came and headed the product team. The person of new power, he modified the structure. As a result, one more team, LTV, has appeared.

Young and flexible, Resume.io consists of smart and quick-witted people, who don't need to be constantly navigated. We finished the project, but didn’t cut the guys off. If they have any questions, they are always welcome.



<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Tikhon Belousko, Resume.io</div>Our collaboration with TYPICAL has finished, but our org chart keeps on developing. For example, our structure has had no business analyst, because I haven't understood the value of such a specialist. The benefit of the final structure we got with TYPICAL is its flexibility. Now we can easily embed new options into it. Everyone has their own place, and you know for sure why they are here.</div>

<img src="https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/612d23b62060b0d3b0d1c32e/61deceddabe37c3fa4e5dc9c_screen_2.jpg" loading="lazy" sizes="34vw" srcset="https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/612d23b62060b0d3b0d1c32e/61deceddabe37c3fa4e5dc9c_screen_2-p-800.jpeg 800w, https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/612d23b62060b0d3b0d1c32e/61deceddabe37c3fa4e5dc9c_screen_2.jpg 982w" alt="" class="screen-2">

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Ivan Shishkin, Resume.io</div>

The structure shaped by TYPICAL became the first step towards organization of the product teams. It’s “staggering” now, and it is a significant benefit. For example, I was hired as a product manager in APP, but the team turned out to be responsible for 8-9 subproducts. Its duties included the activation for the first payment, experience after the first payment, and subscription retention. Next, it was in charge of numerous additional  job search tools, all the integration issues, cross-sales, and so on.

If something looks like two teams, it should be two teams. So, I decided to divide APP into constructor and LTV, and to form a separate cross-sales team.

If we want a certain team to influence the certain stage of a user’s life, this should be the only aim of this team. The user experience after a CV downloading is our main growth area, there is huge room for improvement. The product manager shouldn’t think about two parts of the product at the same time. Instead of this, he or she should use the two hemispheres of the brain to focus on the same task. Consequently, to make the most of our business, tasks are to be divided between people. So, we are planning to shape 14 product teams for different goals, including the improvement of our interaction with the US team.

The results

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Ivan Shishkin, Resume.io</div>

Working with TYPICAL made a change, we got 2 teams, and it boosted us greatly. Before the collaboration, we used to act intuitively and implemented only the things that seemed to be interesting. Consequently, our product got lots of funny, but inefficient features, while the “dull” marketing was stagnating. Now each team is focused on the tasks of its own.

Before the acquisition team appeared, we lacked marketing and acquisition, because nobody took care about the “dull” aspects of company development, and teased the intriguing product sphere. The marketing team and its tasks were neglected, so, it was our weak side. Now the progress is evident: everything is covered with analytics, all the funnels are built. We can see what to stress and where to launch tests. The blog design started developing, meanwhile, our experiments speed also boosted, and the funnel conversions have grown.


<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Valeria Rozova, TYPICAL</div>Consulting is aimed to turn the clients' trickiest pains into organizational problems and then into gains. For outsiders, organizational structures are a piece of cake: everything seems understandable, flexible, and adaptable. But clients regard it as a complete house redevelopment. It takes money and time, it's scary, and clients think: "Maybe we can leave everything like this..." So, the first step is always the decomposing of these pains into real and clear problems. The united efforts and collective decisions come next.</div>

<div class='p-container'>Now Tikhon and Alex understand their roles and know how to grow and scale a business that is constantly growing like a mythical hydra. I hope the guys are not scared of the team growth anymore, because they understand how beneficial the results are in terms of revenues and processes. Menno, Resume.io CEO, and Rolph, their CMO, all of them had their personal versions of org chart, but the guys have chosen ours.</div>

Working with TYPICAL

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Tikhon Belousko, Resume.io</div>

The coolest thing is that TYPICAL doesn’t tell you: «That’s lame, do it this way». We team up, work together and live everything through to understand what is wrong and what is right.We learn a lot, explore why and how others do business, and, step by step, our mindset is changing.


Each call enabled us to dive deeper into the company and understand the upper-level problems that already exist or may arise in the future. Moreover, we've learned that well-timed actions stave the potential problems off. We came for a product manager, but it turned out that we needed to work on our org chart first. Besides, we were afraid that the more people we would have, the more connection issues we would face to control them efficiently. TYPICAL helped us to sort everything out, to range people and to reach the state of “well, the puzzle is about to be completed”. As a result, thanks to all this, we won the game. Firstly, we got resources for the development of the new features. Secondly, we got resources for customer acquisition. Thirdly, we shaped a healthy scaling.

I should say that we use the org chart during the onboarding. It enables new members to realize where they work, with whom they will communicate, who is in charge of what, and what departments exist.

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Alex Taktarov, Resume.io</div>Our work with TYPICAL is consulting as it should be. In most cases, consulting is more like an audit, where experts come and tell you: “Here is a document. You need this and that”. This work is formal, because it results-oriented only – “because it is necessary”, because the management asked for it. But we had the true consulting at its best, it was rooted from our problem, of our pain. I like the approach when you roll back into the problem and only then offer a possible slightly modified solution. So I realized that TYPICAL is not a conventional company.</div>

<div class='p-container'>After the collaboration with TYPICAL, I understood that one doesn't have to be responsible for everything at the same time. The specialists are here for you, you can trust them, and they can help you. If you listen to them, you will have useful insights, learn what and how can work. They came like an emergency ambulance and cured us. We have never scaled teams before, but now we do – and we know how to act in such cases.</div>


<div class='p-container'>Everything was transparent. Yes, the work was complicated, but it has turned out to be amazing. For example, it helped us when we had to fire a player who didn’t fit the org chart. Sometimes, transparency is the only way to solve problems. I think TYPICAL can be efficient both for the huge companies and for the fresh ones: the former will understand their existing problems, the latter will learn to fly.</div>

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Tikhon Belousko, Resume.io</div>

How to distinguish the best business partners? They are the ones who make you feel safe and sound. Their calls are like therapy. If business tasks are the gas that fills the room, then TYPICAL opens a window and "ventilates" the company. Then the gas will appear again, and your focus will blur with something new, new people and new problems. But you will know what to do, how to build it into Talent.Inc, how to act if another company joins you, and how to integrate new people. So, TYPICAL doesn't just ventilate the room, they teach you how to open the window to let the fresh air in.

Summary

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other collaborations

TYPICAL team:

Valeria Rozova, CEO

Anastasia Minetto, Chief Consultant

Resume.io team:

Alex Taktarov, CTO

Tikhon Belousko, CDO

Ivan Shishkin, CPO

Talked to everyone and wrote this text:

Ksenia Zhebrovskaya, creator in TYPICAL

Our first steps

  • Made an org chart and restructured the teams.
  • Divided the teams into independent sub-products. Identified two large cross-functional teams, each with a product manager, a product designer, and a tech lead.
  • From the marketing department, we singled out the acquisition product team responsible for attracting users and website construction.
  • Shaped a big core team with scaling plans. It works on three key subproducts: CV constructor, CV rendering, and various smart tools for CV creation. All of them are ruled by product managers headed by Vanya Shishkin, Head of Product.
  • Described possible options for the product development and the org chart scaling.
  • Shifted Tikhon and Alex from manual product work and coding to the top-level management of the product and tech teams.
  • Made a hiring plan and described positions to be closed with product managers and designers in the future.