Creating Teams: Xmas Trees Experiment

There will be always the time when you’ll need to make changes in your teams. This may be due to change in workload, people joining or leaving the group, change of methodology, etc. We also had this situation in our office. In our case we were beginning to move towards a more agile model plus we were moving to a new office space. As we wanted to have more cross-functional autonomous teams, we thought this could be a great opportunity to take our next step. But how to do it? It was very early stage in our transformation of culture … Continue reading Creating Teams: Xmas Trees Experiment

Expectations Exercise

We talk so much about feedback, its importance and how all teams should incorporate it from the very beginning and practice it often. But is it possible to provide feedback on day 1 of a team or an activity? probably not. It’s often required that a reasonable amount of time passes before you can evaluate team members or come up with process improvement ideas. While this is true, it is also true that the sooner we start with feedback the better. This exercise is perfect to set the stage and start working together to create this culture early on. Since … Continue reading Expectations Exercise

Speed Dating Feedback Experiment

We Love Feedback, I think that’s clear by now. And it isn’t just because feedback makes us stronger but also because it is indispensable in a self-managed environment. It is in fact the main way, if not the only way, in which we can regulate everybody’s behaviour. Because feedback can be awkward and hard to do if not practiced often, you need to incorporate feedback exercises into the habit of the teams. Self-managed teams need to be able to solve their differences on their own, and only when they feel comfortable to tell each other about the good and the … Continue reading Speed Dating Feedback Experiment

Fill The Gap Feedback Experiment

This is a rather advanced feedback exercise. It can become very awkward for inexperienced teams and get dangerous if not controlled properly. Sometimes the line between a genuinely positive transformation and a complete morale destruction is very thin. However, it is very powerful. All teams, even those which seem in perfect harmony at first sight, have their little bugs. Those little bugs may not seem worth addressing. Sometimes, it even feels like an overkill to discuss them as they can generate what it may be perceived as unnecessary unrest for a perfectly functioning team. I beg to differ. In my … Continue reading Fill The Gap Feedback Experiment

The Poker Chips Feedback Experiment

The Poker Chips experiment gave us a whole new level of transparency, communication, trust and performance. So much that I strongly recommend every team to try it and sustain it, but before I go into details, I must set the right context so you understand where we were coming from. After we ditched the hierarchy and moved to a self-managed environment, we had to experiment with a lot of innovative practices to cope with the gaps that the lack of structure left us. Our teams are used to come up with many democratic approaches to make decisions and implement processes. … Continue reading The Poker Chips Feedback Experiment

Merit Increase in a self-managed group. Experiment 4: Star Awards

At this point, we have experimented quite a bit with different methods and, more importantly, we have grown in terms of trust, transparency and self-management. Check out our previous experiments if you haven’t done so yet (Experiment 1, Experiment 2, Experiment 3). This time we wanted to tackle one of the flaws that all of our previous methods had, and that is to provide recognition right after the fact and have a process that runs throughout the year rather than just once every 6/12 months. We still had to stick to the corporate annual budget cycle so this is what … Continue reading Merit Increase in a self-managed group. Experiment 4: Star Awards

Merit Increase in a self-managed group. Experiment 1: Best Employee

We did it, we removed hierarchy and managers, we are now all equal. Great. However, as you may already know, most content in this blog refers to a self-managed office within the context of a bigger, hierarchical organisation, our self-management can only get so far, but still, pretty fun. Before we realise, is that time of the year when the “bigger company” asks us to submit our proposals for promotions and salary increases. There used to be a clear step-by-step process for this, centralised through the managers. With no managers, what do we do now? To be honest, we didn’t … Continue reading Merit Increase in a self-managed group. Experiment 1: Best Employee

Peak 2: Mauna Kea – Climbing the Self Management Mountain Range

Mauna Kea – Work Mauna Kea in Hawaii is probably less popular and touristy than Mount Fuji and it’s already 4000 meters high, so we’ll start feeling the lack of oxygen. When a self-organized team climbs up here we can expect they’ll have to deal with work-related decisions, so we call this one this the “work mountain”. Execution decisions While in Mount Fuji we saw how a team could decide among them who would do what, in this step we find how a team performs their tasks, meaning what solution to choose and apply to a given problem. Our experience … Continue reading Peak 2: Mauna Kea – Climbing the Self Management Mountain Range