I currently manage of team of 17 mid-to-senior level data scientists & data engineers. I have two additional open positions that I have intended to hire in as managers to create two sub-teams in my org. (In this intended org structure, I would have two managers, each with 6-8 directs, and 3 other senior individual contributors reporting to me.)

I am starting to second-guess my plan and am wondering if I would be better off hiring to very senior individual contributors (who could bring technical skills I desperately need) and organizing around ad hoc/agile project teams.

I have senior people I could set up as "squad leaders" for the project teams. They wouldn't have a formal reporting relationship, but could coach and give some direction.

I can see this being successful, but I can also see it turning into a circus. Our department is pushing for more agile approaches, less layers, and higher spans of control, but this is very different from how groups have been managed in the past.

Am I better sticking with a "traditional" structure or is this alternate approach worth the risk? If it succeeded, it could be a really great model for the direction my company is trying to go. On the other hand, I could also end up killing myself trying to keep track of 19 direct reports...