Company culture refers to the attitudes and behaviours of a company and its employees. It is evident in the way an organisation’s people interact with each other, the values they hold, and the decisions they make. (source)
Culture defines how company builds products, how responsibilities are shared and how trade offs are made. It also drives individual growths with ownership, learning and accountability / responsibilities assigned depending on career ladder.
As org size grows, culture needs to evolve to protect and help growth of products and individuals. Few signs of it slipping as small companies grow towards mega-corps:
High cross team co-ordinations
This is mostly a result of scaling org (People) before tech is ready. That is, teams require higher co-ordination to move features. More communication = More Friction = Slow Releases.
This leads orgs to start solving symptoms, by introducing planned releases / release dates and increase co-ordination instead of enabling teams by separating common concerns and CI.
Meetings for every decision (Decision Paralysis)
Most decisions for products or teams have to be run by few high designation folks in the org. Which requires even small decisions / alignments to call in a meeting with multiple folks. 🙂
This eventually leads to situations where no single person wants to own up decision making and risk of failures. And hence nothing common moves for ages, because there is no ownership or experimenting.
Restricted access to Information
Everything eventually starts becoming need to know basis. Which scales to not knowing changes / plans which can impact teams, people.
Everyone is talking about “resources”
A small job / task which could be completed in a couple of days starts being pushed forever since everyone keeps talking about “resources” or the lack of them.
Focusing on Internal Priorities over Product
Eventually you reach a stage where most problems that get solved are completely top-down. This leads to conversations being shifting from customer problems and prioritisation to internal people (John Doe wants this done by month end).
At this point innovation becomes incredibly hard since there is always a pile of work, which blocks bottom up ownership and changes.
If this continues, leads start aligning their goals to “show progress” over actually “making progress” or building a great product or user experience.