Alexey has been an invaluable advisor to interviewing.io. As growth has become more of a focus for us and as our team grew and needed a bit of process (especially around having a good way to elicit ideas), he’s stepped in and done everything from audit our funnel to recommend meeting structure and approaches to product prioritization to mentor members of the product team. He’s also been a great sounding board and source of advice for me. Anyone would be lucky to have Alexey in their corner.
- Aline Lerner, Founder and CEO, interviewing.io
…all kinds of things, if we trust Aline! Here are some common problems I help with:
Scenario 1: Going 0 to 1 on Growth Engineering
Your company just raised a significant round, and promoted / hired somebody to be “Head of Growth.” The Head of Growth is now in charge of scaling up customer acquisition and given staffing, including some engineering headcount.
But - it’s your first rodeo. You may have worked with engineering and product before, but never in a “growth” capacity. Growth Engineering is different - but if you don’t adjust working styles for those differences ahead of time, you’ll end up learning those lessons at your own velocity’s expense.
Scenario 2: Going from PM-lead to writer’s room-style culture & ideation.
You run a Growth org. You have an engineering team. The eng team cranks through the assigned tasks at what feels like a reasonable cadence, but the team’s impact is stagnating or falling. Metrics like win rate and average win size are plateauing.
What’s going on? Your PM seems exhausted - “we’re cranking pretty hard as is, I’m exhausted from all of the irons in the fire”!
What you may have is a cultural mismatch. The engineers think their job is to code the PMs ideas and the designer’s figmas, instead of “to improve the business metric.” The effective change here is to adjust the team’s mindset to where the best ideas are coming from everybody, instead of mostly the PM (the PM has great ideas, that’s why they have that job, but that well will run dry eventually).
Scenario 3: Balancing velocity and quality
You have a functioning Growth org that produces solid results quarter after quarter. The problem is scaling, and engineering is the bottleneck. You are pretty confident that you could easily put more engineers to high-impact work, but staffing is getting in the way.
Balancing the quality culture of the Engineering team and the scrappy culture of Growth is an adventure - but getting it right is huge.
Scenario 4: Growth Tech Audit
In the era of ad blockers and state-by-state privacy laws being introduced multiple times a year, it’s surprisingly tricky to be confident that your performance marketing pixel is doing everything it can to help optimize your advertising spend. What events are important? Are they firing? Server or client side? In which geos?
At this point, I’ve had to set up (and fix) the marketing pixel setup often enough to
- take a look and see whether everything is working as expected today
- teach your team where to look (and setup monitoring so that any issues are caught ASAP)
- identify and recommend improvements that would improve the quality of signal you are optimizing with to improve bidding efficiency.
Alexey is an exceptional Head of Growth Engineering who knows growth tech inside and out, from experimentation to martech, lifecycle, and analytics. He is highly autonomous but welcomes guidance, always striving to improve processes and people. Alexey has been a driving force in improving our postmortem process and empowering his engineers to contribute ideas. Alexey significantly leveled up our Growth Engineering team - his dedication, expertise, and leadership is exemplary
- Mandar Bapaye, MasterClass CTO
But what do you actually do?
Start-ups are different; what they most benefit from varies. Consider this a menu of services.
Audit growth roadmap to identify high-value opportunities and generally vouchsafe prioritization and staffing levels
Staffing gaps audit - given your roadmap, is your staffing across full-time and contract engineers, PMs, designers, data scientists and analysts going to let you fire on all cylinders? What gaps, either current or upon scaling, will slow you down the most, and how do you manage around them?
Audit technical architecture getting key growth infra right means you (a) go fast and (b) can trust your results. It’s hard getting it right if you can’t look around corners.
- Typical surfaces areas worth auditing include:
- Analytics infrastructure (Usually Segment or competitor + instrumentation)
- Experimentation infrastructure (from front-end components to 3rd party landing pages to a full-stack A/B testing tool to experiment analysis)
- Martech & Pixel architecture, Privacy-aware getting the right data to the right advertising partners means you can efficiently acquire customers, even in the post-GDPR world.
Quarterly or Monthly
Align teams to bets - Given the available opportunities, what kind of surface area and theme ownership maps best to the available engineering staffing, and how do we trade off bigger vs smaller teams and surface area ownership vs hitchhiking.
Bring engineerings onboard for planning - I’m a big believer in the W-shaped OKR process and I’ve implemented effectively on my teams over the last decade.
Setup ICE process - a system like EVELYN helps keep the org on an “everybody contributes, and it’s easy to see how ideas get prioritized” mindset
Review OKRs & architecture docs - before getting started on something massive, it’s helpful to get a once-over by somebody who has been there before. Have a better intuition for which corners to cut and where to future-proof.
Weekly or Fortnightly
1:1s with PMs, EMs, and First growth engineers - troubleshoot obstacles and generally talk things through
Project architecture review - tactical help “if you use library X that saves Z time”, or “don’t bother going this route, here’s why it hurts you later”
You can get somebody better to…
Much as I would love to, I’m probably not the right person to:
Code up the landing page experiments
There are more efficient and cost-effective front-end engineers that would probably make more sense for day-to-day experiment implementation. I’m happy to help connect you to an agency or a weigh in on your hiring process, if you’d like
Hire the first growth engineer
Hiring deserves a full-time hiring manager. I’m happy to talk them through what the Job Posting should look like, where and how to source, and how to put together the interview panel, as well as potentially chat with some finalists.
Tell us what experiments to run
I love being part of the brainstorming process to create your experiment backlog, and I’ll certainly have suggestions to contribute, but if you’re looking for somebody to organize and drive your experiment backlog, you probably want to lean on your Growth PM or Head of Growth.
Reach out to Alexey directly.