The source of truth for current and future product and engineering headcount is this spreadsheet.
Access is currently restricted to product/eng directors, engineering managers, and relevant people in people ops, talent, and finance.
Our goal is to have an approximate 1 year rolling headcount plan for budgeting and high-level planning purposes.
Department level headcount totals need to be approved by the board of directors, so any headcount that has not been approved is merely a forecast.
Even after headcount is approved by the board of directors, it is subject to reallocation within product and engineering subject to our evolving needs and priorities.
In general, the lifecycle of a headcount is: unapproved -> approved -> ready to start hiring.
Our goal is to start hiring for roles 3 months before we want someone to start. Board meetings generally happen ~3 weeks after the end of the quarter, so this means that if just ended, we would ask the board to approve headcount, and we would finalize headcount allocations within product/eng based on the outcome. Even if we had headcount approved beyond in this example, it would still be subject to reallocation within product/eng.
When a new quarter is about to start, hiring managers should be prepared to provide brief/lightweight justifications for headcount increases for the quarter after the quarter that is about to start. This includes justifications for headcount that has already been tentatively allocated.
After the board meeting (generally ~3 weeks into the new quarter), headcount increases will be finalized and hiring managers can work with the talent team to open hiring pipelines for the following quarter (the quarter after the one that just started).