Managing teams in startups versus in large companies – Vitor Arus of King.com


I’m Vitor Arusievicz. Currently I am project manager at King
which is one of the biggest mobile game companies in the world, part of the Activision Blizzard
group. I started in a small company, small startup,
trying to do something new, and then as I moved my career past through the different companies, and now last year, I worked on the big ones. So I think that the key difference is in a
startup, I think the team needs to be quite generalists in several areas. Of course, you want to preserve a little bit
of specialist skillset to your team because the team is where you have the biggest benefit,
you know. If I have a group of people that are specialized
in certain areas, you want them to, also, be a little bit generalists on other areas. You don’t want a person to be just a full
specialist that cannot adjust as things change, as discoveries are made inside a team. I think that’s the big difference from a big
company. The big company, like the company with 2,000,
3,000 employees, you have room for specialists, very focused specialists because you have
a lot of demand from across the organization. So it’s easy to keep these guys around and
have plenty of work for them and, also, get a lot of benefit out of them. Another big difference in teams between a
small startup company and a big one, I think, is more how the teams communicate to the organization. You know, in a startup, the teams are pretty
light, pretty fast. You don’t have a lot of communication layers
to do, so that allows for more risk-taking. It’s, actually, incentivized. You need to do that because you feel more,
let’s say by ourselves, more alone, while in a big company, you have multiple communication
layers that the team needs to go through, you know, to communicate their progress or
to ask for support. And that sometimes can turn things a little
bit slower as you need to, if you cannot communicate the proper way, the business might start questioning
your team effort. I mean, what exactly are you guys doing? So you need very good communication inside
the team, so maybe some people that are asked to communicate should start
talking with the rest of the business. In this area is a big differences between
those two. I think nowadays, especially how widespread
agile development is, and how so much learning and knowledge is being
shared over the internet, I mean, big companies are, you know, big companies that say you
look at them from afar. You look at all this massive, full of people
and super complicated, bureaucratic… I think the modern, software companies, I mean there’s
Google, Apple, even the example from King and game companies, the most modern game companies,
still inside there is, the culture is changed like in having smaller teams that are more
independent and autonomous and are able to take risks but with, let’s say, a little bit
of financial safety from a big organization behind them. And that was, this is the today, right, but
once I started my career, the main difference was that, yes, small teams you were able to
go much faster and take risks, and you don’t need to know, have reports for a lot of different
areas from a business. That was the big advantage. That’s how you have so much innovation, but,
I think, with times, all those learnings in how small startup things become successful,
that also has been pulled out on the big companies. And you see the companies starting to change
and adapt because, you know, I started my career in the 2000s, so there is almost, like,
in 2018, there’s almost, like, 18-years of things happening in the software industry. We saw how big companies can be disrupted
by smaller, very agile and innovative teams, and I think the modern big companies, they
are, they’re getting smarter about this. You know, they’re able to leverage and encourage
more their smaller teams.

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