Skip to main content

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.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Escalate, Escalate, Escalate!

What is escalation at organizations? Is it a way to solve problems? Is it a way to report things? Is it a way to put more pressure? Is it a CYA technique? What is it? How do you use it at your organization? How other colleagues of yours use escalation? Really, think about it and observe. At IT service companies, leadership measures the performance of IT Help Desk by number of escalated work items over a period of time. The less escalation the better . The reasons are simple: It is cheaper for companies if an IT Help Desk Specialist resolves an issue than an experienced technical specialist at one or two level higher. This is simple math, one gets $X and the other get $X*2 And when client gets result fast, he/she will be happier. So, less escalation equals happier client in IT Services. Client raise an issue, IT Help Desk Specialist resolve it, BOOM, Next! At organizations, It is amazing (sadly) to see how much lower level managers escalate problems, that they and thei

Implementing Process Of On Going Improvement (POOGI) Part 1 - Introduction To Goal, Throughput Accounting and Balanced System

What is the Goal of the business? This is the first question to answer in order to establish a process of on going improvement (POOGI). The goal must be clear, simple and measurable, and it must be understood by all players in the organization, who are involve somehow in improving the system. A general goal could be something like this " To make money by increasing net profit, while simultaneously increasing return on investment, and simultaneously increasing cash flow. " as told by Alex to his team members in The Goal novel written by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt. Therefore, any action that moves the organization toward this goal is productive and any action that takes the organization away from it is non-productive. Actually, such a goal can be applied to many for profit organizations. Let's take an Advertising Agency as an example. For such an agency Customer Satisfaction is critical but it can not be the main goal. In fact, main goal (similar to the goal above) is depe

Role of Management in a Lean Manufacturing Environment

Gary Convis, President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Since this column is meant to link automotive engineers with lean manufacturing, I would like to share my personal experience as a mechanical engineer who started out in the traditional way of manufacturing, and along the way discovered a much better way - the Toyota Production System. I will describe what it was like to transplant this philosophy to American soil, in hopes that anyone attempting to change the culture of an existing plant towards "lean manufacturing" can benefit from my experience and observations. In particular, I intend to focus on the role of management in a TPS (or any lean manufacturing) environment.