Although there is no “perfect” team model, experts from five fast-growing companies agree that flexibility is the key to resisting organizational and product changes

NEW YORK, January 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Toptal, which operates a curated network of highly skilled freelance talent with business, design and technology expertise that enables companies to scale their teams on demand, today released its latest eBook , Architect scalable engineering teams. The publication features insights from engineering leaders at five fast-growing companies on how they structure, manage and grow their teams.


For many CTOs and engineering directors, building scalable and successful software engineering teams can be challenging, largely due to competing pressures and responsibilities. In addition to managing a growing team, they are responsible for keeping an eye on overall business goals and managing the pressures of their leadership roles – overcoming technical challenges, motivating the team, planning scale, adjusting disputes, track key metrics, and report to senior management, all of which require them all to make countless life-saving decisions daily.

“The structure of a team goes far beyond just covering new tasks. It can actually help alleviate many management challenges,” said Heap of the Val, Founder and CEO of Toptal. “The experts we spoke to agree that there is no singular ‘perfect’ engineering team structure, but each of their stories illustrates a common thread: maintaining the flexibility needed to cope to organizational or product changes and resolve issues as they arise.”

The e-book highlights five different team models, recognizing that any given structure for success is largely based on an organization’s size, industry, and product:

  • Three-in-one team leadership. ActiveCampaign, a customer experience automation software company, uses this model to empower the team as their business scales.

  • Stakeholder-focused teams. At Toptal, these teams are integral to building strong relationships between engineers and business stakeholders to ensure consistent delivery of business value.

  • Front-end/back-end split structure. Cube, a financial analysis and planning platform, employs two different leaders: one to lead the front-end team and the other for the back-end team.

  • Satellite teams. At Cohesion, a cloud-based IoT company for smart buildings, satellite teams enable rapid scaling and take the complexity out of hiring, onboarding, paying, and managing each team.

  • Function-centric engineering hierarchy. Valence, a community for the next generation of minority leaders, uses this model in which each engineering team reports directly to the CTO, who acts as both engineering leader and product manager.

In all five models, engineering leaders recognize the value of temporary help, whether it’s building their teams or adding expertise they may not have in-house.

“Sometimes a project needs to get done, but the management team doesn’t know if the increased capacity will be necessary in the long term,” said Marco Santos, director of engineering at Toptal. “That’s why so many startups rely on talent networks like ours to augment their teams. When you have extra load, it’s really nice to have an amazing talent network that can help scale.”

As the stories in the eBook illustrate, engineering teams differ from company to company and can change over time. Learning from other engineering leaders about what has worked and tailoring those options to a specific organization or product situation can help ensure a smoother journey and drive better business results.

About Toptal

Toptal operates a curated network of highly skilled freelance talent with business, design, and technology expertise that enables companies to scale their teams on demand. Founded in 2010 and now the largest fully remote workforce in the world, Toptal has served over 10,000 customers and has a global talent network of over 10,000 people in over 100 countries. For more information, visit and stay up to date with the latest news by following us on TwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Media Contact:
Nicole Mezlo
Toptal, LLC
+1 202-213-2490
[email protected]



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