Life at Cleo

Squads at Cleo

We work in a Squad-based structure at Cleo. Find out how this works.

Squads at Cleo

Currently at Cleo, our primary model of working is a Squad-based structure. This means that almost everyone who works on our product stack is part of a Squad.

What Is a Squad?

At Cleo, a Squad is a small multidisciplinary group that come together to work towards achieving specific Objectives through improvements in their identified Key Results. Most importantly, the fellow members of your Squad are your teammates and who you will interact the most with at Cleo.

To enable a Squad to move quickly they are generally no larger than a group of 10 people, and will be made up of all the skill sets required to tackle their objectives. This usually includes:

Who Runs The Squad?

Your Squad will be lead by your Product Trio, which is usually made up of:

  • A Product Manager
  • A Tech Lead (senior FE or BE Engineer)
  • A Lead Product Designer

Based on their Objectives, not all Squads will have a complete Product Trio, but the majority will have at least a Product Manager and/or a Tech Lead.

A Squad Product Trio then ladders up to the Pillar Leads.

What Is a Pillar?

A Pillar is a collection of Squads, aimed at achieving a particular company level Objective in a key business area or user focus, i.e. Growth & New Bets, or Spend Better (helping users spend less than they earn)

Within a Pillar there are often 2-4 distinct Squads.

Although the other Squads in your Pillar will be working on different problems, as they all measure up to the same company Objective, you will overlap with them in some areas and they can be a great first call when asking for help!

Each Pillar will have a group of Leads across Product, Tech and Design to ensure that the Pillar is working cohesively together.

How Do I Work With Others In My Discipline?

Great question, I would like to then introduce you to Chapters!

Squads are fantastic for solving problems but their autonomy makes knowledge sharing a bit tricky. Especially with others in your discipline or those you share a common codebase with.

Chapters fix this. Each discipline at Cleo has its own Chapter where they regularly come together as a group to discuss craft and share learnings. You can read more about our engineering chapters here.

Some of the Chapters at Cleo are:

  • Product Management
  • Frontend Engineers
  • Backend Engineers
  • Experience
  • Data
Hopefully this makes things clearer!

What About My Manager?

As people are dispersed amongst Squads, and Squads are created to work towards achieving a specific Objective, the majority of the time your manager will not be on your Squad.

Most People Managers at Cleo are not on a specific Squad. Instead they are often a Pillar Lead or a Chapter Lead.

Regardless of what part of the business your manager is in, you will have regular check-ins with them. You will use this time to chat through important topics such as: how you are performing in your Squad, highlight any questions or problems you might be having, and discuss your career development.

What If I’m Not Working On The Product Stack?

There are some parts of Cleo that do not follow the Squad based structure. These are primarily the areas that are focused on broader business enablement, such as:

  • Operations
  • Customer Success
  • Marketing
  • Commercial
  • Legal & Compliance

Members of these areas will operate as one team that generally report up to the business lead for that area. They will then work with specific Squads on certain projects or tasks as required.

If you’re applying for a role and you’re unsure where the role sits, just ask your Talent Partner. 

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Persona YES grata: When to use personas

Let me start by saying that I’m not the biggest advocate for personas, they’re not always the best way to understand our users and their challenges. But, this particular case is one where a persona has been so helpful, I even felt compelled to write a blog about it.


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