Recently I was complaining to my mentor how a certain company we know is doing such a poor job of keeping their culture as they tried to grow. He explained the “why” to me this way:

When a small company is successful, but doesn’t know why, then scaling up is going to be painful. You need to know what it is you’re trying to scale up.

This struck me as extremely insightful. If you don’t know what made you successful, what to preserve as you aim for bigger things… well of course your culture will deteriorate.

Similar to a monolithic system architecture that gives you a lot of things “for free”. To scale up you need to move to a microservices architecture - but that means teasing out those implicit core domain concepts, dependencies, assumptions, and bottlenecks and making them explicit. Ditto with culture.