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Breaking Hierarchies, and the birth of a Network Organisation at a Pure Project Based Company

It is an exciting and tiring time at Actum.  We are growing and changing at rapid pace, such a growth brings on new challenges and experiences that none of us, including founders had before. Most of the experiences are new to us all. None of us experience 300% or more growth in couple of months, and this is what is happening to several teams and departments currently. Right people and right attitudes are key factors in our growth and success so far. 

In any traditional organisation, growth brings on new hierarchy - more Directors, Team Leads, VPs and etc. However, we decided to go the opposite and reduce hierarchies as we grow. One of the Founders is leading such change initiative. He is brave enough to experiment it and allows the rest of the organisation to shape the idea into a more practical one. 

Actum is a project based company, we develop software, consult on digital strategy and customer experience, and we also help clients with processes (Lean, Agile, Design Thinking, Kanban, …). The organisational change we are going through now was never done in a project based company, or at least we do not know about any other example, so please share with us if you know a pure project based company (Digital Agency or Software Company) doing what I am going to describe below. We love to learn from others successes and failures 😉

What started to happen and will continue:

- We will not build teams for projects any more, but we create cross functional (generalised specialist) teams that move from one project to another. This allows stability within teams. 

- So, we will not allocate resrouces to projects any more, but we will allocate projects to teams. And eventually (in the next steps of evolution) teams will pull new projects as they are available, instead of somebody assigning them a project. 

- Whoever wants to change the team, should agree with his current and target team members. 

- A pool of projects will allow us to manage portfolio of Clients and Projects based on capability and fitness criteria (KPIs) that have meaning to clients. 

- Supportive and Domain Expert teams will provide service to each project team just-in-time. 

- We will build Innovation Team, Software Archite Team and other supportive groups such as HR, IT and Finance. 

- A network of Kanban will allow different teams to provide services to each other, and continues improvement metrics and change management nature of kanban makes sure that we improve forever. 

- We allow crews to shape on demand to handle certain situations or a short term task that requires expertise from different groups and teams. 

The bottom line is that, we will have stable and autonomous teams working with other supportive teams and experts to deliver solutions and continuously improve the way they work within a network organisation. We expect each team to improve differently and only influence each other. 

There are a lot more details to this change, But that is enough writing for now ;)  We will see the manifestation of the above initiatives in the next months, and I will share them as they happen.


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