For Staff+ engineers personal growth is often fueled by organizational growth.
In my time at CZI, I found and worked as the Principal Engineer for our Infrastructure and Security group.
One of the things I have been reflecting on recently is the ability for organizational growth to fuel individual growth. Back in the day when I was fighting the Fail Whale I found that rapid organizational growth and change enabled rapid personal growth and learning.
In my time at CZI, I founded our Infrastructure and Security group, established technical strategy for many of the pillars of our work and build v0 of many solutions. As we grew many of those got handed off to growing sub-teams of our group. I have been able to go through this cycle 2-3 times per year for several years.
I have found an ability to create a lot of value in this method and things work great when we are growing fast enough to bring on engineers that can maintain each project. As growth slows or stops, however, it is much harder. There are few engineers with capacity to partner on new projects or take over ownership of growing projects. The ongoing maintenance work starts to creep up as a proportion of total work, eventually taking over the majority of the work.