Unconventional Team Structures (Part 2) 🏰
The story of rebel companies such as Zappos, Valve, and Morning Star, with lessons we can take from them.
Hey welcome back! Last week I published the first of this two-part series — you can check it out below if you haven’t already 👇
In the previous part we covered some introductory topics about scaling tech orgs, including hierarchies and autonomous teams, with examples from companies like Spotify, Coinbase, Amazon, and Riot.
We also covered in-depth case studies about two tech companies (Dimagi and ProntoPro) who came up with originalteam configurations, while still retaining some traditional processes and roles.
This second part is dedicated to rebellious companies that challenged most conventional wisdom about how teams should work. They turned things upside down and were successful with it.
We will talk about:
🏥 Alan — one of the largest insur-tech companies in Europe. It runs without managers and without HR.
👟 Zappos — a 1500-people e-commerce that turned into a self-organizing city, by applying the fairly obscure holacracy framework.
🕹️ Valve — one of the most successful names in gaming. There are no managers and people can work on whatever they want.
🍅 Morning Star — the largest tomato processing company in the world. Employees self-manage by creating contracts between themselves.
Researching these companies has been quite a journey. I went into a rabbit hole that includes articles, interviews to former and current employees, glassdoor reviews, and more.
The goal of this piece is to give you the most important bits of how such companies work, and, most importantly, why they do so.
At the end, I will comment on the main, common ideas behind how these teams work, covering:
⚖️ Upsides and downsides — based on my own experience and on opinions from former and current employees of those companies themselves.
Who is this for — which kind of companies would benefit from applying these systems, and which not.
What can we take from it — can we take only few pieces and apply them to our traditional team? Or are these all-or-nothing frameworks?
Let’s go! 👇
Hey 👋 this is Luca! Welcome to a new 🔒 weekly edition 🔒 of Refactoring.
Every week I write advice on how to become a better engineering leader, backed by my own experience, research and case studies.
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