Agile organizations and corporate culture
Organizational structures and corporate culture play an important role in the successful use of agile methods. Since its foundation, AOE relies on the principles of agile organizations and places great emphasis on a motivating corporate culture.
The tasks in a modern, agile organization are distributed differently than in a traditional company. Software development is knowledge work that must be organized differently than conventional production processes. In the past, large software companies were founded as traditional businesses. Some of them are currently undergoing a difficult change management process to an agile organization that promotes the potential of knowledge work. AOE does not need to undergo this process, as the company was already founded on the basic principles of agile structures.
Attributes of agile organizational structures
- Self-organizing teams
- High degree of personal responsibility of the employees
- High level of trust
- Little control
- Decentralized decisions
- Continuous development and constant learning
As an agile organization, AOE has been working for years using agile methods in software development. On the basis of fairness and respect all employees are comprehensively and actively involved in organizational decisions and processes, and have the possibility to help shape the business. This, paired with flat hierarchies, promotes collective spirit and teamwork.
A key element of agile organizations is the way they perceive leadership tasks and the way in which these tasks are distributed. At AOE there are no titles and only a very small management team. We build our business on naturally developing authority that arises from the employees’ skills. These leaders enjoy the respect of their colleagues and essentially perform the following tasks:
- Motivating employees
- Supporting und Mentoring
- Solving conflicts
- Coordinating with management
- Eliminating obstacles
- Securing the continued development of AOE
The managerial responsibilities at AOE therefore don’t so much comprise the traditional tasks of planning, organization, leadership and control, but rather the ability to focus on the employee, to consider problems with a view to the future, to trust employees and always interact with them politely and attentively. Only in this way are we able to create an atmosphere of mutual trust.
One of the most cited cultural models is that of William Schneider, introduced in his book “The Reengineering Alternative”. According to Schneider, companies can be divided into four core cultures: Control, Collaboration, Competency or Cultivation. According to a survey of its employees, AOE is a combination of Collaboration and Cultivation Cultures, with the Cultivation Culture dominating. Among others, these cultures are characterized by:
- An open, emotionally positive atmosphere
- Joint decision-making
- Networked, flat organizational forms
- Relaxed, encouraging management style
The goal of agile businesses such as AOE is to awaken and develop the potential of all employees, and to promote the best possible use.