Running Your SaaS Business | How we setup our team structure for our SaaS

Michael:

All right, Michael and Abdul back here with bionic WP. Now that we’ve recently released our new baby out in the world, we’re now going to call this show bionic up going forward. And today we’re gonna talk about how we set up our team structure for our SaaS products. Right, gonna talk about how you and I worked through getting to the final, I don’t know, team that we currently have. When Abdul and I first got together, you know, when we finally decided to move forward with this product, you wanted to have about 150 different developers doing different things over about two year period before we launched the product, though. Just kidding. We, you know, we wanted to have you know, I think I really pushed for a lean, lean team. So why don’t we talk a little bit about the structure and then I’m going to tell a little story. about something and then then we’ll go, we’ll go from there. So go ahead. So the team structure, how we kind of got to the point where we did.

Abdul:

Okay. No, I think it’s like we started with an idea. And then we were okay, how do we get the right people in the right places, but definitely like, it started, like everything is started with a bigger kind of a team and the Okay, this is what we need. And then as discussions went on, okay, let’s discuss how it should be what people are essentially what people can come later. So I think we then came down to a very manageable team size, which we can say, Okay, this is a team we can manage as well at the start. And this can at least get the work done as well, because you need to balance both things, right. You need to have a team which you can financially manage as well, like with your current like every like managing every aspect, and at the same time having enough people that the work actually gets done right. So you have to kind of keep a balance between both things. So I think we did get there. And

Michael:

but I think just even that in that right there is kind of funny because I think we would have you He would go off and create the plan and come back and you’d say, okay here and I’d be like, no way. That’s way too much. We need to be at half of that. You’d go up, come back, and I’d be like, okay, now we need to be at a quarter of that. Right? And then finally, you’re like, No,

Abdul:

I can’t do that. That’s right. I think that’s the process, right? And like, that’s the process that you have to follow. And like you have everyone has to be open for that as well. Because, like, if you were starting something, you have to be open. Okay, let’s, let’s have different viewpoints, right, because I had a different viewpoint. You challenged me on that. And then I kind of saw what what he was seeing. And then we get like, the end result is better, right? Like you’re saying in the video that we recorded yesterday about support, that you have a very different kind of where the line is drawn kind of a thing. Both of us think customer first, but we have different places where we draw the line kind of thing. But then there are discussions that we have happening between us, but the end result is that the customer is getting something better, right because of everything that’s happening here. But I think the same happened with this as well that the Have I had an idea, you had an idea, you kind of start discussing that. And then the end result is that it’s something that we both are comfortable with. People then decide, okay, this is like, this is where we should be right now at the current phase that we are in. And hopefully now that we are going and getting into things, we are talking to more people, we think, okay, we need to maybe hire now we know, right? Because it’s sort of like if you would have hired 30 developers that for example, and now suddenly, like the deals that we having things happening, we know we need some more support people in so that would have been a further strain on the world’s things right? So now we know Okay, we’re not as bloated in the developer side so we can get some more support people and get those things rolling as well. So I think that’s the kind of balance that we have to have because once you start when we started we didn’t know like exactly how the team would be right and how we kind of get worked and stuff like that. But now that we are into it, and we have gone with means completed sprint zero without almost completed sprint one. So now I know and I have a better idea. In terms of development as well, like, okay, where are we kind of where would we need some more help? going forward? Once we have once we hit some further phases of down the lines, okay, where I can see because now as work is happening, I can see right where the kind of gaps are, and where I need to kind of plug in things. So then now, same with support as well, now we have more room on our support site. Okay, keep going that part as well. So I think for us, one thing that the from the very start had in mind was, like you said, the lean kind of the structure. I like me making sure that the team is lean, or your add something on that.

Michael:

Yeah, I do, because I think it’s actually really, really funny. So we’re going back and forth with Hey, this team and you’re saying, Hey, we won’t have a product until, you know, August, and I’m like, I want 115 days in, right. Yeah. And we’re going back and forth and back and forth. And then all of a sudden that a deal comes in one day and he was like my dad said it’s kind of crazy. We’re waiting until August to have a plan right? And then I was finally like, I like your dad. And he, and it just, you know, I think it helps you to let go of the older kind of idea of, Hey, this is how we’re going to develop this product more to know we’re gonna have these. And then you’ve really gotten into this thing deep where you’ve actually created your own, which we’re gonna talk next about the MHP. Right where, like, you’ve, you’ve created these different stages, which still get us to August, where we have a product, which I think is what you originally thought August would be about. But having something earlier just for something, right, yeah, like I said, even if it’s just a button, or whatever it is, but it’s more than that after our first week, which is very cool. Thanks to our developers last night working. They’re working very hard to get there. But I think it was just it was it was cool to see both of us push each other. And then both of us give a little bit as well, in regards to Hey, this is where we Okay, it doesn’t have to be the full blown system. I just want to be able to log in, log out and launch an instance that’s our goal for June or June or January, June 1, right is what was what And we’ve both agreed. And then sometimes I say, hey, I want this and you’re like, nope. And then you’re like, nope, this is more important or no that that sprint is full. There’s no more sprint activities that can happen in that. So I think with the team structure, what we are seeing now, though, is because we’ve had, you know, I’ll say, we’ve been pretty lucky so far. We’ve landed a couple big partners, and we have one partner that thinks they’re going to start bringing on a lot of business for us that we’re going to need to probably double the support team already. Right. So there’s, I’ll say there’s two and a half people right now you being a half, because you’re obviously doing other things, not just doing the support, right. Maybe it’s a full person, because you’re half as as good as a full person, but maybe we have three people then. But you know, we need probably two more people are already just on the support side because of the requests that are coming in. And it’s just, you know, questions and the response times I expect, right and you expect and,

Abdul:

and it’d be already discussing on that as well like We, I think we went through a report, I think on Thursday, and then he came, okay, this is not right. Like the first response is you have to get better at that, things like that. Right? So we are like, we already have that in like, interview that we need to kind of start fixing those things from right now. Because that’s what I was thinking, okay, right now, we don’t have a huge number of customers in a first response time right now, if this, how will we manage it when we have, let’s say, 10 Next, these customers. So this is these are things that like we have to fix right now, to start making sure that Okay, once the load starts coming in, we are better prepared for that, right. So I think that, like for us customer support is one of the main priorities. So we are thinking of that make both of us from the start, right? Like we’re not, it’s not an afterthought, that we feel that with any company that Okay, once we get the customers and then you think of how to support them.

Michael:

And I think we’re still going to struggle, even though it’s like our forefront to find good people and have the knowledge that can support at the level we want. It’s going to be a problem. It’s gonna be a constant problem for any business, but we’re gonna try to stay in front of it. We just recently saw one of our partners struggle with support. they’ve they’ve recently changed some things pretty significantly. And it’s already affecting I think, people’s view of how they’re, yeah. Now people are being like, hey, they provide a great support forever give them a break, right, which I think is the approach you should take, right? They’re trying to figure it out. They’re trying to figure out, hey, we got to scale but have better support. You know, I don’t think we both don’t think their business model supports what they’re trying. But that’s, that’s a different that’s a different discussion, but it’s interesting to watch them go through it because I think we’re going to go through exactly the pains that they’re going through. And hopefully we can solve them you know, as well as they do, if not better.

Michael:

So. And like when you mentioned support people and adding more support people so I think one of the issues that we I think we should be there, like especially when we are starting when your team is already very small, is people ghosting you because we had it like like in a team of 15 we had it. We have to people, so that’s like, maybe how many how much like 20%? Something like that, right? Soft staff. So we had like two people who have, we had two people who kind of one person just told me the day they were supposed to join after one month of late notice. Because here we have like a one month notice period for many companies. So we gave him the offer, everything happened. The day he asked to join, he didn’t show up. We’re like, where are you? Right? He said, I can’t join. So then like now, because that was very like it was a QA person. It was very integral position for us. Because for all the developers having a QA day, it’s very important to keep things moving forward. So not having him there on sprint one. We saw the result last night, right of what happened of not having that person in the team. Because right now when we thought of a very lean structure, we made sure that everyone who is coming in has a kind of a very important role to play in the whole kind of the scenario, right? Because when you have a huge team you have okay Different people who can do different things. But when you’re lean team, you have to make sure that each person is pulling their weight, right. So that QA person had to pull his weight, which didn’t happen, then we had the same thing happened with one support person that we hired. So like that. That’s why we have to support people, not three, we should have been at three, but, but I think it’s better. Like, at that time, you might think that, okay, why did this happen? It shouldn’t happen. But I think it’s always good that these things happen at the start. I think it’s like, it’s a good thing that these people who weren’t that open to learning open to new things, if they would have joined, I think that would have been worse for us, like now that we didn’t join. So now we can get the right person as well for that. But I think that for momentarily, it does cause issues when you already have a very kind of lean team structure.

Michael:

Yeah, no, no, when you have one guy not show up, and that’s, you know, 15% of what you expected or two people not show up in this 15% it’s like, wow, okay, that’s a lot. Right. Somebody’s got to make up 15% of the work.

Yeah. So yeah, I think work, you have something else? Yep.

Abdul:

team structure, I still have to kind of have to get into how the structure. So I think, for us 33 main important teams right for, I think, as we are more for hosting kind of a provider cloud solution provider, but I think this is very similar to any SaaS business that would be like, they might name teams differently, but it’s very similar to any SaaS business. What is our platform operations team. This is a team that is developing the platform, the platform that customers will come to customers will interact with, and be as admins will also working. Then we have a DevOps team, which is kind of doing the development operations doing this handing servers handling the infrastructure, automating that part of the system. And then third, the most of our team is the application of operations team that is the support team that we have. So these are three teams that we have divided a kind of whole structure into platforming people on each team. Yep. So when you When we talk about the platform team, right, right now, in platform, we have one lead developer. Right, who’s leading that team. And underneath that lead developer, he has a two back end developers and two front end developers. Right. And then he had to have a good one. Yeah. And he had to have a QA as well, which we will get into. So he’ll have a QA as well, right? To QA, the work with the DevOps team. We have a lead DevOps engineer who’s leading that team, he has one supporting person there, you have one, although I just remembered his one was also one that kind of, but his code that he told us when he was he didn’t accept her offer. So it was everything was good when you place off, it just didn’t work out. So he had to have two people under him supporting him. But right now it’s one but the both of these guys are doing an amazing job, making sure that things are moving forward. And then when we come to the application operations team, where they’re right now we have two people who are in our support site. We’ll be increasing that team as well as we go forward. So that’s how we’ve kind of structured team, we do. We do have one other guy in the platform team who looks after WordPress as well. So I just forgot that To start with, oh, he just joined this week. So a team is structured into a lead developer on the platform side. Two developers on back end, two developers on front end, one WordPress and then one keyword. Same with the DevOps side, one lead DevOps engineer, and then to support supporting people for him. And then for the support side, we have to support people right now adding more into it. But for the support people, I think the main idea that we have is kind of training our own people because finding good technical support people like because for us, we have goals that we all the support people that come into our company to bionic would be WordPress engineers. So that some one thing we’re separating ourselves with that Okay, any customers talk to us support people, they’re not talking to some tier one kind of a guy who doesn’t know WordPress who doesn’t know things like that. They are talking to the person who can actually solve a problem. Right, and then he doesn’t need to kind of own this. I’ve taken the information now some other guy has to,

Michael:

and other advanced issues that they might not understand. Yes, but it’s not like calling whatever the 10,000 or 8000 pound gorilla that we all know. And they say, hold on, I gotta get somebody else up. Next person. Yep. Okay, hold on, like, I know more than the third level tier information that they have there at that company. Right. And it takes a while to get moved up here. We want the first three or four tiers addressed by the people that are right there where we have to pay a little more upfront to have that experience, not somebody just answering the phones, right, that can actually address your problem and help their customers.

Abdul:

Yeah, so so yeah. Now getting developers to do custom because then it needs to be a WordPress engineer. That means he needs he or she needs to be a developer. So getting them to do customer support is a developer to do customer support is a challenge in itself, right? Because they like to kind of develop it so For us, it’s very important to have some career stuff inbuilt in the role as well that how we can move forward in their career, how they can kind of get trained how they can get better WordPress engineers. And at the same time having in giving them the customer service skills that they need to make sure that they are providing a good experience. So one thing of that is that we will be like kind of, we are in the process of starting our kind of Academy as well like an internal kind of a learning platform where developers and our especially our support team can learn and get better into WordPress skills so they can support better. So the idea is, maybe we might not find that many good support people, we just might have to train support people. So this is something that is there as well. And that’s why we have to kind of sort thing we are thinking of support from day one right now of how we can make sure that we we always remain ahead of this problem and we don’t get caught off guard. So I think it’s this is a very kind of a lean team structure. And I think as one idea that we have is of sports and as I think we do Just in a video yesterday as well then as time goes on, and as a product product gets more mature, we will be having scores, scores of two, three developers front end back end mix, who, who will be responsible for their own modules or they own 80 of the product and they will be the product owners have their own a of product. So that’s the idea. And that’s maybe we’ll get into by end of this year or early next year. But for now, this is how our team is structured. So very simple. team structure itself is really simple, but I think it’s sufficient that it gets the work done.

Michael:

I think we’re one for one so far on Sprint’s so took a little bit longer than we had hoped, but they got there but yesterday we were able to see the login screen and log in and Log out So that was exciting, right? I mean, a simple thing like that can be exciting. Yes, it can be when you’re developing it when you’re when you’re building this team, getting everybody to work together. And so And to push that ball, you know up the hill as we do this getting everyone to do it together, you know, you have done a great job with that. So as a front end Hassan as well, to get this team working together and the team has done great coming together to build it seems like we have some really good team chemistry so far a lot of joking in the stand ups and having some fun and things like that. So, um, anything else you want to add here with the team structure?

Abdul:

I think we go a lot of that. So I think, if we will, I think this is like something that we might have to leave with it six months down the line. So we’ll do that once the team structure changes.

Michael:

Six months, you know how we roll be more like two months, right? And we’re doing something different. Hey, I’m a completely different note. We are still with front where we’ve switched, you know, multiple platforms recently. This one has stayed for a little while.

Abdul:

Yeah, so it looks like it was staying late right now. We don’t have many problems with it. So it looks like it was

Michael:

spending a lot of time time researching anything else right now. So it would survive. I think that I think the team structure makes sense the way it is and how we’re doing it. So yeah, I think that that’ll kind of wrap it here for the team structure, how to how to structure, how we structure our team structure and how to build a SaaS product. That’s kind of what we’re doing and how we’re building it. I’m up dual, Michael.
Talk to you later.

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