As a fast-growing company disrupting how decisions are made, you surely must have a lot of ideas in your roadmap and backlog. Why did you pick Teams for Enterprises?
You’re right: We often joke that we have an “infinite backlog” because our customers give us a constant stream of new ideas for extending Weave. Fortunately, we “drink our own champagne” and use Weave to help us prioritize our backlog and roadmap. We decided to focus on making support for Teams a priority because our enterprise customers told us that finding ways to engage teams within and across their enterprise was their top priority.
What kinds of problems does Weave Teams for Enterprises Solve?
Let’s say you’re in the midst of a portfolio management / portfolio prioritization meeting for an annual or quarterly budget and you want to engage all of the managers in your business unit. These managers may be organized by product line or function, and you’d like to preserve that structure, so that managers who work on the same product are in the same Weave forum. That’s hard to without having the concept of a Team as a “first class object” in Weave.
Another example concerns Agile practices. Let’s say you’re heading into a project kickoff or SAFe PI Planning meeting or you’re conducting an enterprise retrospective or SAFe PI Inspect & Adapt Retrospective. In these cases you want to engage multiple teams while preserving team structure. You could do this before in Weave, but it required a lot of complex scheduling. Weave Teams for Enterprises makes this a breeze!
More broadly, teams, no matter how you define them, are the new standard for how work gets done. Weave Teams for Enterprises is partially a reflection of the natural evolution of the workplace into a more diverse, more inclusive and ultimately more efficient organization.
Were diversity and inclusion a specific design goal of Weave Teams for Enterprises?
Not directly. Conteneo has always promoted diversity and inclusion in our platforms. For example, Weave combats “HQ-centrix thinking” by allowing you create long-running forums so that you can include stakeholders in multiple timezones. Last year we added support for anonymous forums so that participants could be guaranteed safety in providing feedback to their superiors. And by pioneering the concept of a gala – a means to dispatch large numbers of people into multiple, simultaneous forums – we made it easier for leaders to truly include every single person in the decision-making process. So, Conteneo has always promoted diversity and inclusion.
You've mentioned engagement several times. Can you elaborate on this?
Absolutely. Real engagement isn't inviting a team to teleconference meeting to tell them about priorities or asking them to update their status in Trello. That's important work, to be sure, but those are communication and coordination activities. Real engagement is based on engaging people in decision-making: asking them to participate in the decisions that affect their future and the future of what they're creating for their organization, their city and their society.
How did you design Weave Teams for Enterprises?
We started by exploring traditional approaches to organizing groups within enterprises, like LDAP, but we quickly realized that these systems don’t match the dynamic structures that Agile organizations are pioneering. So, we started over with a new model that creates a remarkable blend of balance and structure while still preserving security and access controls.
Enterprises are comprised of individuals.
Enterprises have natural Organizations:
- Business Units organized around markets
- Functional Units organized around roles
- Product Teams organized around specific products
Enterprises have natural Teams:
- Teams within an organization (e.g., a Scrum Team)
- T eams across one or more orgs (e.g., a Spotify Guild)
Individuals may be associated within zero or more organizations or teams. While this structure may not model every kind of imaginable team, it models the vast majority of teams, and provides the foundation needed for scaling engagement.
You mentioned the Spotify model. That’s pretty popular. Can you elaborate
In the Agile community, a common model is the Spotify model, which derived from the model of teams I presented in my book Journey of the Software Professional. In the Spotify model, Tribes are organized around a common business problem or product domain, Squads are an Agile (Scrum) team, Chapters are groups of people who work across teams within a Tribe (like a UI team) and Guilds are groups of people that gather common interests across tribes (like DevOps). In Weave, these are modeled as Organizations and Teams. Here is the mapping: