๐Ÿ”€ Cross Functional Squads at Skutopia


4 min read

๐Ÿ”€ Cross Functional Squads at Skutopia

Skutopia's cross functional squads are designed to be small tight knit group. Allowing for strong relationships and a thorough understanding of each others ways of working, as well as the inflight work we are doing.

What Is The Squad Make Up?

We design our squads to be a core group of 7 people. The target positions within a squad are a Product Manager, Product Designer, Engineering Squad Lead, two IC3 engineers, and two IC2 engineers.

The Product Manager, Product Designer, and Engineering Squad Lead form a core group of three known as the product trio. The product trio stays in front of the curve, looking further afield than the current inflight projects. The trio makes sure that we aligned as a team, and that we're working on the right things whether that be new features, or iterations.

Why 7 Is The Magic Number

The more interaction points we have within a team, the higher the likelihood that there is missing or distorted information, or information doesn't reach everyone as it's shared through too many people.

Using the formula n(n-1)/2, for a 7 person squad this means that we have a maximum of 21 interaction points per squad. This allows the squad to be tightly aligned with the correct information. Interaction points go up exponentially as we add more people, making it critical to keep the squads small.

The Positions Explained

Product Manager

The PM is largely the face of the squad to the wider business. The product manager looks deeply at the company's strategic objectives, and what the squad can do to contribute towards them. The product manager spends significant time with their customers which could be merchants, ops teams, or business functions such as finance. Understanding their pain points, and how we could solve them. As well as leading the prioritisation around where we can make the biggest impact.

Product Designer

The PD takes the problems we are solving and works through the customer experience around how we are going to deliver the functionality. This involves forming the designs, completing user testing, seeking feedback and iterating. It's critical that the features we build for our merchants are easy and intuitive to use, while offering an overall cohesive product.

Engineering Squad Lead

The SL is accountable for engineering on the squad. They are responsible for working with the PM and PD, providing technical guidance to ensure we know early on what is and isn't possible. The SL is the go to engineer on the squad for other engineers, and provides technical guidance and mentorship so that engineers can learn and improve their craft over time. A key part of the SL role is being able to highlight when there is technical debt that needs resolving, and getting the buy-in from stakeholders to have it prioritised.


Our IC3 engineers are generally responsible for running projects. They do the bulk of the planning, and run the delivery. They seek the input of their entire squad, with additional guidance form their SL. They provide alignment and clarity on the delivery. Work to drive resolution of outstanding questions that come up, make sure stakeholders are aware of the project status, and also get their hands dirty shipping code.


Our IC2 engineers are focussed on project delivery and sharpening their engineering skills. They will be seeking out help when they are faced with challenging delivery tickets, and learning from others. They will be mindful to raise issues that come up during delivery with their project lead or product trio. They will also be observing and learning how projects run effectively, and taking the initiative to assist the project lead where they can.

Wrapping Up

Skutopia's cross functional squads are made up of 7 members, allowing for strong bonds and alignment. We have a product trio (PM, PD, SL) leading the way, guiding the squads direction, and looking into the future. We have a mix of different engineering levels within a squad which allows for everyone to be learning new skills and taking on new challenges.