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How to Quickly Scale Your Tech Services Company

Our previous article, "KPIs For Planning Your Emerging Tech Services Delivery Size", discussed key metrics for planning your delivery capacity. The most interesting metric in that list is "Ramp-Up Time Per Role." This is the time it takes for an employee to become fully productive in their role, which helps you ensure service delivery isn't delayed or its quality compromised due to employee training and onboarding needs.

This metric is the one you have the most power to change. If you're in a rapidly growing sector, you'll also realize you need to ramp up most of your hires in the required skills instead of continuously looking for hard-to-find skills in the market.

Let's learn about the levers you can use to control your ramp-up time.

Use of IP (Intellectual Property)

There are two reasons you need time to ramp up. The first is the need for project-critical skills and knowledge. The second is to understand how to deliver value within the organizational structure. The latter is governed entirely by your company's IP.

Disorganized IP can increase the time it takes someone to start adding value to the company. Organized IP can help a new person hit the ground running.

When creating your technical IP, you must be proactive to ensure the IP is relevant and useful.

Focus on Discoverability

If it isn't trivially easy to find or doesn't fit in with their natural workflow, no one will use it. You'll end up with many duplicates, exponentially compounding the problem. Cull & curate the IP to focus on fewer things and make sure the IP gets used.

Build a Base Platform

A base platform can easily encompass most of your learnings. It should be something almost all your customers will need. A platform with rock-solid documentation becomes a great introduction to your company's tech stack and allows someone to add value immediately.

Have Solid Infrastructure

Treat your IP like a product and follow best practices from the product world. Implement great CI/CD and automated testing to ensure a newcomer is comfortable making changes to the IP and truly owning it.

Structured Onboarding

Just as important as your technical IP is your process IP. The most important process you need to develop for a faster onboarding period is your onboarding process. Your onboarding needs to be intentional in acclimatizing a new hire to your business. It must help them thrive by clarifying expectations of them and sharing the resources available to help them achieve those expectations.

We talk about how and when you should build test fluent processes in our article "Dissecting Your Business Units From 0 to 5M Part 4: Talent".

Ways to do this include:

  • Clear documentation of processes and best practices.

  • An overview of the tools and technologies used within the company.

  • Orientation sessions to understand the company's culture and expectations.

Mentorship Programs

From antiquity to the modern world, mentorship remains the most important form of instruction for human beings. No matter how hard you try to streamline and document your processes, a large portion of knowledge within the organization will be in the minds of your staff.

Bridge this gap by building a strong mentorship program. Have new hires work with more experienced team members. Help mentors understand guidance as a part of their primary responsibilities and make sure to account for the critical support they are providing in readying you for growth when evaluating their performance. This approach speeds up ramp-up time and fosters a collaborative culture.

Internal Training

A robust internal training program is essential to maintain a competitive edge and ensure a quick ramp-up for new team members. The importance of training doubles when working on emerging technologies that evolve rapidly.

Here's how you can structure it:

  • In-house workshops and seminars.

  • Access to online courses and certifications.

  • Regular knowledge-sharing sessions led by team members.

Experience Level

Despite higher expectations, it's typically faster to ramp up more experienced hires. Even if they are not familiar with the exact technology you use, their experience ensures they have been exposed to more technologies and more real-world problems in the field, making them able to better assess how different solutions can be applied to the problems they encounter. Customers also benefit from the diversity of the experience these team members bring.

Experienced hires also take fewer mentorship resources to ramp up their contribution. When bringing on people with less experience, you may need to allocate more time for onboarding even though the expectations are lower. Be careful, though - relying too much on heavy hitters will increase your Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS).

Eyes on the Prize

Ramp-up time is a critical KPI for a fast-growing tech services company. It governs your ability to scale faster, lowers your COGS by enabling better performance from less experienced team members, and helps you effectively deploy subcontractors. You can manage ramp-up time using the levers described in this article, growing your tech services company quickly and efficiently.

But keep in mind that during the entire process, you need to have a clear goal for what it means to ramp up an individual. Your focus should always be on getting them to contribute to customer projects. Err towards having faith in their abilities, and push them to achieve beyond their own expectations.

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