2021-02-09 | Verena Stiegler | 6 min read
There is nothing permanent except change.
What Heraclit recognized already 2500 years ago, is more relevant today than ever. Our world, and especially the business world, is developing at a rapid pace - and that’s a good thing. But to ensure that this change does not go off the rails and take an unwanted direction, we need procedures and methods with which we can drive change forward together. Originally, we wanted to go on a big retreat with all our colleagues last year. Corona threw a spanner in the works and so a useful alternative had to be found. One of these alternatives, which should be known to almost everyone, is the so-called Open Space. With this method, a wide variety of topics can be discussed, even in larger groups, and solutions can be found quickly.
Virtual Open Space - How can it work?
Since the best ideas usually arise spontaneously, an Open Space offers exactly the right conditions for this. An Open Space is not a monologue; rather, the participants themselves become presenters. The goal of an Open Space should be to create a creative and productive breeding ground for discussions in which everyone can participate - if they want to. Apart from a basic organizational framework, an Open Space should be as self-organized and spontaneous as possible in order to achieve the best results.
As Scandio continues to grow, it is important to regularly discuss the status quo and ask ourselves the question: Where do we want to go? In our last Open Space, we were able to find many answers to this, but just as many questions came up. Therefore, we decided to follow up and deepen the most important points even after the Open Space.
Weekly Company Calls
“The biggest problem in communication is the illusion, that it has taken place.” (George Bernhard Shaw). Under this motto, we introduced the “Weekly Company Calls” after the Open Space. Every Thursday, all Scandians get together (remotely) for max.15 minutes to get the latest news from the founders and what is going on in Scandio in general. This meeting is based on the results of the Open Space follow-up, which are presented here as a priority. Since Corona also has a negative impact on our internal communication, it’s good to get all the colleagues together once a week and talk about developments.
Embrace remote - digital by default
A point that was heatedly discussed due to its currency! Even if Corona forces us to work from and it works amazingly well: Scandio attaches great importance to the personal encounter and will not become a pure remote company. Nevertheless, we want to take advantage of the circumstances to expand our capabilities in terms of remote working in order to remain flexible in the future. All Scandians should have a choice of where to work - an internal survey shows quite clearly that a hybrid company culture is the best solution. The establishment of further branches and offices in new locations may also be a future possibility in order to promote exchange and cooperation.
Onboarding processes and recruiting
As Scandio plans to grow further in 2021, our onboarding and recruiting process was scrutinized more closely after the Open Space. What can we do better? How can we become more efficient? Where are our weakest points? ccordingly, our Onboarding and Recruiting Guide has been revised. As a result, new roles were created, primarily to relieve the Founders in the recruiting process and to give the Scandians more self-organization. Since it’s easy to lose track of which new employee starts where and when while working from home, a suitable widget has also been created for this.
The “Scandio Spirit” goes hand in hand with recruiting. 35% of all Scandians have been with the company for less than a year, so it is important to give them a sense of cohesion and our “Scandio Spirit” right from the beginning. Especially with Corona and working from home, it’s generally difficult to develop a sense of community. Communication is key here. Internal communication must not only be maintained, but also continue to develop. In order to maintain the “Scandio Spirit”, it must above all be lived and developed from its everybody’s own intention. We wish that everyone can contribute to the “Scandio Spirit” in his or her own way.
Self-organization and autonomy
Self-organization is a top priority for us, so following up on this issue was also enormously important to us. There is quite a lot going on here at the moment, as our cluster concept has been very well received in recent years and is to be expanded. Thus, further clusters are to be created from the two existing clusters in order to give the company more structure. Even though we don’t care much about classical hierarchies, our so-called “Cluster Responsibles” are in a way executives who are supposed to keep an overview of the cluster members and the processes within the cluster by their helicopter view. However, the decision on who becomes Cluster Responsible will no longer be made by the Founders, but will come from within the Cluster itself.
Scandio in Change - The path to self-organization
Aliens vs. Teams
No teams, no limitations. This realization came from following up on the “teams vs. projects” theme. Up until now, the basis of our self-organized structure consisted of the teams. But who belongs on which team and what defines a team in the first place? Through discussion we came to the conclusion: the team boundaries are too hard and inflexible, the knowledge within a team can hardly be transferred beyond its boundaries. These are all factors that inhibit the growth of an organization in the long run and can lead to difficulties sooner or later. So the follow-up group dealt with a new structure of self-organization. Teams will become Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Communities of Practice (CoPs), which are still subordinate to the clusters. As a result, projects are no longer distributed among the teams, but are based in the new SIGs. The clusters are relieved by this structure, can hand over tasks to the SIGs and tend to their own tasks in a more focused way.
You never stop learning. What may sometimes sound a bit trite, we take very literally here. Further training and workshops should be part of everyday life at Scandio, because we can all still learn something from each other. In order to implement this plan, the new role of Knowledge Responsible was introduced, who ensures that workshops are held on a regular basis. The latter also provides information about other training options and keeps an eye on the workshop backlog. New forms of knowledge transfer are also to be developed in the future.
Open Space = Change
Even though an Open Space is meant to take place in a decidedly casual and spontaneous atmosphere, it still doesn’t fail to achieve its purpose - which is to produce genuine results. We are pleased how many new thought-provoking impulses and changes we were able to take away from our virtual Open Space. Complex questions arose, which we would like to deal with in more detail in the future and whose development we would like to push forward. In the aftermath of an Open Space, one quickly runs the risk of leaving behind the approaches that have been developed and falling back into the old behaviors. Therefore, it is highly recommended to have such an event organized and executed by trained Scrum Masters and to address the follow-up in a timely manner.
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