The Prowareness Culture – Teamwork

Prowareness is a coaching & consultancy firm with distributed Agile teams located in India. We help organizations transform into software-driven responsive enterprises. In the past few years Prowareness has been growing rapidly. To enable and harness this growth Prowareness uses the “cell philosophy”. When a team (cell) reaches a certain size, it’s divided into two. This ensures the separate teams preserve a maintainable size and further growth is stimulated.

Prowareness has formed its culture along the way and it appears to be a culture with lots of differences compared to traditional organizations. People that enter our office feel this culture right away and are sometimes surprised and intrigued by our approach.

The Prowareness culture is based on 7 values:

    • Teamwork
    • Continuous learning
    • Energy & craziness
    • Commitment
    • Ambition
    • Openness and transparency
    • Integrity

Undoubtedly, Prowareness is the most Agile company in the Netherlands. Yes, this is a bold statement. A statement that asks for a more detailed description.Therefore we will write a series of blog posts about our culture. Hereby culture is considered a result of the present mindset, behavior and skills. The areas by which a culture can be influenced are symbols, power structures, organizational structure, control systems, rituals and stories. We will describe the supporting activities and practices Prowareness uses to foster the values.

This first blog post will be about the cultural value ‘Teamwork’.

Cultural Value 1 – Teamwork

Teamwork, every organization will say it’s important, but only a few truly create an environment where teamwork can flourish. Teamwork is the foundation for high performance. Therefore Prowareness invests heavily in team dynamics and ensures having team goals and a vision which everyone wants to contribute to. Every team aims to have all the competencies and skills to realize large-scale Agile transformations. Working together with a close group of people will foster performance, quality and fun. We self-organize most of the team specifics and we constantly focus on personal and organizational growth. In-team and inter-team communication is very important in our setting. Prowareness gives an interpretation to teamwork by using practices as ‘Build Your Own Team’, ‘Team Offsites’, ‘Tuesday Team Time’, ‘The Team Incentive’.

Teamwork

Practices

Build Your Own Team

This practice is all about entrepreneurship, passion and freedom. If you have an awesome idea within Prowareness, gather people who are also energized by this idea and start realizing it. This might start as a small experiment with few resources available, and result in a mature larger team because it has proven itself to be viable and therefore worth investing in.

In general, you can distinguish two types of teams. Cross-functional and self-organizing teams that have got all the skills, experience and knowledge to realize organization-wide Agile transformations at clients. The other team flavour can be compared to guilds. For example, this article is part of a “guild-team” that wants to maintain the Prowareness Culture. Other “guild-teams” collaborate on topics like “create a workshop about facilitation”, “improve the responsiveness of Prowareness itself”, “start a proposition on serious gaming”.

In the end, it’s all about encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset and offering everyone the opportunity to follow their passion.

Team Offsites

Within the company we have a so called cell structure, which divides the company into region-specific market segments. You get to speak to all your colleagues from the whole company, but form a solid team with your region-specific colleagues. To make this team even more solid, every quarter of the year we organize offsites, on a pleasant (most of the time regional) location. This basically is a large retrospective where we evaluate the past quarter and create a plan for the upcoming months. It’s all about learning together and improve team dynamics.

Tuesday Team Time

Every Tuesday afternoon (04:00 – 08:00 PM) we come together with the whole company to improve ourselves, do team activities, make organizational decisions, talk about financial progress and get feedback from our customers. These Tuesday afternoons are always started with some team-time. This stand-up-like meeting is held in-front of the region-whiteboard. It contains all the necessary information radiators. There we talk about the happiness and achievements of the team members and share updates about sales, recruitment and events. This team time is tremendously valuable, because it’s where everyone’s well-being is gathered. It gives full transparency on the team’s performance.

The Team Incentive

Every region has a focus on growth. Growth by attracting new customers, expanding the team and encouraging individual growth. The latter can be achieved by e.g. following courses, attending seminars, joining guilds or just fulfilling your ‘daily job’. Everyone has got complete freedom to balance these activities, as long as the margin KPI is above 50%. The KPI is set per team and will result in a monthly incentive. By connecting the KPI to team level instead of the individual, teamwork is highly encouraged. All the individuals plans need to be synchronized continuously in order to end up with the desired team results.

Conclusion

When a company is fully responsive, it has the ability and agility to change course swiftly. By creating small self-organizing cross-functional teams, the responsibility for decision-making is decentralized. This provides the organization with responsiveness. By using the described teamwork practices, team members take responsibility and feel engaged to act as a high performing team. It will be more fun to work within the team, which will also result in higher performance. Teamwork and team dynamics are the backbone of the organization, and is therefore the most important value of Prowareness.