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  • Writer's pictureMark Cruth

Session 6: Agile Tour Vilnius 2019

The sixth session in the World Without Hierarchy Project is in the books! It occurred on October 24, 2019 with 12 people at the annual Agile Tour Vilnius 2019 conference in Vilnius, Lithuania. The game continues to evolve, and with the innovative minds from around the world at this global conference you'll see we're getting some very creative ideas! Check out the AMAZING results below!

Experiment 1: Hiring and Firing

Background: How will we hire and fire people when there is no hierarchy?

Brainstorm Solutions:

  1. Voting

  2. Consensus

Hypothesis: We believe having the team agree on common values and implementing consensus based hiring/firing practices will result in the team being able to make good decisions on hiring and firing. We know we will be successful when we've run a survey on hiring/firing practices after three months.

Experiment Details: Gather the team in a single place, agree on values the team wants to focus on when hiring/firing team members, review candidates and make the decision as a consensus. Adjust the process as the team learns more.

Experiment 2: Communicating Goals

Background: How to communicate goals/results/successes/ongoing opportunities to all company employees when the organization is flat.

Brainstorm Solutions:

  1. Have an internal blog where ideas/updates can be shared

  2. Make a place where questions can be asked/answered that is visible to everyone

  3. Hold town hall meetings on a regular basis

  4. Create a communications team to focus on getting information to employees

Hypothesis: We believe creating a communications team will result in better information sharing within the company. We know we will be successful when employee surveys show high employee satisfaction with internal communication.

Experiment Details: Conduct a baseline survey to see how people feel about communication. Implement the communication team and have them publish information. Survey people again and measure the results.

Experiment 3: Prevent New Hierarchy

Background: A new kind of hierarchy (informal) might emerge after the organization eliminates the current hierarchy.

Brainstorm Solutions:

  1. Don't form big teams

  2. Conduct regular retrospectives

  3. Encourage natural leadership

  4. Change responsibilities between teams

Hypothesis: We believe that maintaining small teams will result in no in-crowd within the company.

Experiment Details: Form five small teams without hierarchy and let them run for 30 days. Survey the team to determine success of the experiment.

Experiment 4: Hiring and Firing

Background: How do we hire and fire people when there is no people managers to do it?

Brainstorm Solutions:

  1. Voting system

  2. Having hiring and firing committee

Hypothesis: We believe electing a hiring and firing committee will result in gathering the best talent to work for the company. We know we will be successful when there is a visible, transparent hiring and firing processes within the company.

Experiment Details: Ask for volunteers to apply to join the hiring and firing committee. Delegate a team member to the committee. Run an election to put in place the hiring and firing committee.

Experiment 5: Lack of Change Transparency

Background: Employees feel there is a lack of transparency and feedback about the change in hierarchy.

Brainstorm Solutions:

  1. Develop a communications strategy for the change

Hypothesis: We believe setting up regular communications on different channels regarding the change will result in better visibility and higher employee engagement. We know we will be successful when people stop asking and sending their concerns, and start coming up with ideas for the change.

Experiment Details: Setup regular meeting up with managers and inside the teams. Create feedback polls to solicit concerns. Identify and select change volunteers. Combine and share feedback from all departments.

Experiment 6: Decision Maker

Background: Who makes the decision on product improvements to keep the product competitive in the market?

Brainstorm Solutions:

  1. Voting system on ideas that can be submitted by everyone

Hypothesis: We believe that self-managed teams with a voting solution to create ideas for the product will result in the product keeping up to date with necessary improvements. We know we will be successful when after 30 days our product will have the same market share, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction.

Experiment Details: One unit of product development will gather ideas from the team for one day and vote on the ideas. Implement the voted on ideas. Once the new features are implemented, launch the product and measure impact.

Experiment 7: Career Path

Background: Employees who made a great career in the company during the years feel demotivated (all that time feels wasted) and they feel there is no future growth for them.

Brainstorm Solutions:

  1. Create a clear career path and competency framework so employees with more experience would be evaluated and treated fairly

  2. Clear, transparent and frequent communications about career path, possibilities for extending responsibilities and the importance of their role

  3. Let employees make their own decisions, take their own tasks, and provide them more flexibility to build their own career path and competencies

Hypothesis: We believe empowering people to let them do what they want to do (create their own career path) will result in maintaining higher engagement and better results. We know we will be successful when engagement survey results and business KPIs increase.

Experiment Details: Take one department for a pilot project and present the ideas and methods to the team.

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