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, there 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 needs (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.