This post is based on my experience and believes. If you have different thoughts or experience, I would be delighted to read about it in the comments section below.
How should cooperation and relationships be shaped in the IT company? My view is only based on IT companies, because I simply don’t have too much experience in other industries. Nevertheless, I believe it’s a universal truth.
On what fundamental values should a company be based? It’s a big question and there is no correct answer. I would like to present to you my general point of view, which I strongly believe in.
Please remember that it’s about relationships and ways of cooperating together, not the organisational chart.
For me in a healthy organisation there is no hierarchy, there are no so called “bosses”. There is no need for them, we should all be equal, we should be co-workers and partners.. It is just our different responsibilities and expertise that differentiate us. I should highlight that I don’t mean there is no need for authorities anymore. You surely need them, but these roles are to define responsibilities.
In the IT industry, it is very important to be surrounded by smart people that fit in with the spirit of the organization. Therefore we should treat each other as being on the same level, with respect and without creating artificial boundaries, which allows us to get the best out of everyone’s intellect.
“Flat relationships” are also related to the philosophy of simplification. The more simple things are, the more focus and energy can actually be put to the things that really matters -the value that the organisation is delivering. The other thing is that when things are simple, it’s much easier to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, and again deliver the most of value possible.
Another advantage of keeping it simple is that there is no need for having complicated processes, which are expensive to run and maintain. Instead of processes, the work is driven by habits. Things become natural, when there are easy to adapt and become meaningful. It is also important to create a basic flow that won’t change too often, with everything around it adapting to the situation. With such an approach you will end up with empowered people, understanding the purpose of their efforts and being able to tackle almost every challenge successfully.
It should also be done with very few managers involved, they simply wouldn’t be needed so much anymore. This does not mean that they are not needed at all or not important. It’s now about having fewer managers who are even more important then before. The need is for real managers, who are leaders and can value the approach described above. It’s not the easy way as it’s hard to find people who can handle such responsibilities whilst working in a sophisticated and highly adaptive way. But foremost you need to find people that can put their egos aside, create a real partnership with others and focus on creating a value for everyone, not just for themselves.
The best results can be achieved if the whole organisation values such an approach, I should rather say lives such values. If you are just a part of something bigger, it’s not lost anyway. The “boss” of this needs to be a strong person who is able to create such an environment, regardless of other’s approach, especially his superiors. You know that everything starts from the top, whether it’s constructive or destructive. Therefore, as a manager, you need to be fair but demanding, supportive, open for innovation and ideas, trustful, always trying to make people and things better and above all else be the human.
These days, you can’t write a post about IT companies and its values without mentioning Agile methodology. In my opinion, creating a real Agile environment without the above values is not possible. This is why many companies are fundamentally not able to adopt Agile practices successfully.