I’m a member of a team that has been developing a product for our company for years. The development started about 10 years ago and all the people of the original team are still here. I am one of the last hires, 4 or 5 years ago. The development team is composed of 21 people (all very senior).
This product brings to the company between 25 and 35% of its annual revenues. We are the only people working on this product (we are also the only ones with the technology stack knowledge, architectural knowledge and business model knowledge behind the product), we have a dedicated HR person (for some tasks we continuously hire interns/junior with fixed length contracts), a dedicated administration person, 2 dedicated sales, 4 dedicated project managers and 2 dedicated client managers. We all work together in a part of the office that has a separate entrance from the rest of the offices and we have a salary much higher than other people in the company with similar roles/positions. Finally we are autonomous in signing contracts with customers.
Recently we signed a contract with a new customer for our product with a lot of new features/customizations that bring in a 2-3 years work. According to our analysis, with this new contract, we can reach up to 50% (or more) of our company revenues. At the same time our company passed through a series of big changes in top management/board members.
These new managers were quite shocked discovering our level of autonomy and are situation of “a company within a company”. There is no fear of being fired/let go because old customers already expressed that they want to continue to only work with us and the cost to transfer our knowledge to a new team is simply gigantic (new management very reluctantly accepted). But the new management wants to create a new team for the new customer in order to spread the knowledge and reduce our autonomy. Also they want to put a high level manager above our team as a touch point between us and the top managers (until now we report directly to the company owner, completely bypassing the company chain of command).
I don’t want to maintain the status quo (I understand it’s unrealistic and probably dangerous), but I don’t want to find myself in the middle of a power war between my team and the new management. How can I help reducing conflicts and try to smooth the transition towards a new equilibrium?