Growing an Agile Company Based On Values

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Our latest experience report is by Hernan Wilkinson, one of the founders of 10Pines, a 6½ year old Argentine software company. The company founders live their agile values and have created an open and participative company based on trust, transparency and self-organization.

They came together around a vision of a software company where they’d love to work, one where relationships were strong and trust was high. They wanted to create a company where, “we would not have to look after the people to make them work, a place where people would feel they were part of.”

Currently they are 35 people.  Although small, they are not in startup mode. They have a solid, growing customer base and are profitable.

10Pines demonstrates value-based decision-making in everything they do. Transparency, openness, participation and trust are central to how they operate. Just to give you a taste: a group of people regularly meet together to set everyone’s salaries and bonuses; individuals decide on the health plan based on their need (no questions asked); company financial information is freely shared; and work is designed to fit around people’s personal lives and needs. Customer projects and accountability to co-workers must not be compromised. But people work hours that fit into their lives. And they get paid for every hour worked (no unpaid overtime).

While life at 10Pines may sound easy and simple; it has taken much effort for the founders to discover what it means to live their values. Things aren’t always simple and they continue to face challenges. Some current ones: finding ways to reward and recognize people with more experience, and contemplating how their participative style of working might change as they grow.  I hope you find this report inspiring. It’s amazing what can happen when you start a company and conscientiously grow and nurture its culture.

 

About the Author

Rebecca is President of Wirfs-Brock Associates. She helps organizations and individuals hone their design and architecture skills, improve system quality and manage technical debt. In addition to coaching and mentoring she conducts workshops on agile architecture, design and pragmatic TDD. She invented the set of design practices known as Responsibility-Driven Design (RDD) and by accident started the x-DD meme. Rebecca is Director of the Experience Reports Program and Experience Report Track Chair. She is on the Board of the Hillside Group and writes patterns about sustainable architecture, agile QA, and adaptive systems. If you want to share experiences or wisdom in pattern form, Rebecca can help you turn your itch for writing into the written word. Read her blog at www.wirfs-brock.com/blog and find articles and patterns on her resources page, www.wirfs-brock.com/Resources.html


This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They do not represent opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.