So your team outgrew its rituals: A framework to scale your team

Candace Myers
4 min readJan 25, 2022

One of the toughest nuts to crack in operations is scaling your team’s rhythm of business and rituals as the team grows. Similar to the product development process, the rituals set in place as your team went from 0 to 1, lose their luster as you move from 1 to 2 and beyond.

With burnout running rampant, the value of team rituals must be clear and impactful at the IC level. There is no doing away with team meetings and rituals. Designers and design functions including research and content design crave connection and engagement from all altitudes of leadership.

Having been on a hyper growth team on the Facebook App for the last several years, as the design operations lead I was responsible for collaboratively, proactively and consistently solving for context collapse.

Understanding the ideal functional value of each altitude of the team, by applying the familiar metaphorical governance framework of Federal, State & Local, will put your team into insights and solution mode.

The framework I’ve laid out below makes a great workshop or ideation session. It’s quite broad and modular, but the metaphor is something everyone can easily grok and can be applied to virtually any team* with ease.

🌏 Federal: The highest, most broadly applicable level

  • Characterized by: strong operational and infra backbone, broad influence but not deep line of sight across all of the teams, typically controls the budget or has access to funding, has an influential voice and is typically fronted by the most senior leadership
  • Leverage when: there is a broad top-down message to convey, or for shared team culture or org-wide initiatives (e.g. hackathons, quality initiatives, or vision setting All Hands )

Questions to ask in your workshop:

1. Is there anything across the team that is so universal that it is personal and impactful to every IC? What is the value of harnessing, managing or leveraging this shared attribute at scale?

2. What top-level infrastructure can we leverage to help solve problems across the entire team? (e.g. hiring practices, or streamlining budget principles)

3. What are the messages that are ideally suited to come from our most senior leadership? (e.g. reinforcing mission, cementing cultural norms, or team-wide vision)

4. Given the scope of the team, what are we doing at this level that no longer makes sense?(e.g. weekly work share-outs or deep dives, possibly Q&A’s)

🛣 State: The team layer; broadly applicable to teams with shared localized leadership or common areas of focus

  • Characterized by: autonomy within an area of focus or shared areas of focus with logical relevance or interdependencies such as shared metrics. Typically has senior leadership who is accountable for outcomes across people, product and process.
  • Leverage when: there is a need to scale by weaving a fabric across pods or localized teams, enable productive workflow, ensure a streamlined user experience and guarantee that the parts come together as a whole

Questions to ask in your workshop:

  1. What can we do more efficiently by leveraging our economy of scale across tools, workflows, or shared processes?
  2. What do we need to deploy or communicate in order to achieve our goals or further our shared mission and vision? (e.g. what is your “storm the hill”?)
  3. What are we managing or leading at this level that may be done more high quality by leveraging the infrastructure at the Federal level?

🌇 Local: The pods made up of managers and IC’s as well as cross-functional collaborators; the working team

Characterized by: the relationships and day-to-day interactions that move the work forward and advance the people in their careers.

Leverage for: the rhythm of business of the team to drive progress at the initiative level, effect team-level connection, and share domain-specific knowledge.

Questions to ask:

  1. What is this team or cohort uniquely positioned to manage, that requires domain-specific knowledge or a localized collaboration model? (e.g. shared nomenclature, project milestone tracking)
  2. What is this cohort managing locally that might be scaleable to benefit others, or better positioned at higher altitude such as state or federal?
  3. What should this cohort start doing to ensure that the local connection is in place, to keep the team connected as a community, align our work and share best practices.

There are never any easy answers or slam dunk tactical solutions, but we can apply the metaphor of Federal, State and Local to define the function of each level of the organization and find the right fit for a rhythm of business at all altitudes!

*This framework is best suited for teams that have multiple nodes of management but all live under the same Organizational leader with the same mission but with product areas that don’t regularly or logically intersect.

I am the typo queen- sorry not sorry!



Candace Myers

Pinterest, Facebook, & Netflix design & creative operations. Never backed down from a work challenge, & I’ve failed a lot. Rich in insights, typos & tattoos.