I enjoy giving lectures and leading workshops, facilitating events, making presentations and being at the heart of change. However, there is nothing more exciting than doing all this in an environment favourable to creativity and team work. And yes, Pentalog Orleans provides all these conditions with its “Château des Hauts”. Every two to three hours, we would walk around the garden discussing with one or two colleagues about strategy, ongoing actions or the need of assimilating the Pentalog Institute values. Just like in the Happymelly walks, but more often. I personally found the whole exercise very useful just before taking off for vacation, as it allowed me to look back to the results achieved in the first semester and think hard on coming changes.
That the peak of the collaboration and work in the new Pentalog Institute team has not yet been reached is no surprise at all. These matters require a lot of patience, and that’s why we considered that a re-implementation of the Pentalog Institute values and three days of practical workshops about Agile, Scrum and Kanban methods would be more than welcome.
The Pentalog Institute values:Flexibility
We do not believe we can offer consulting services without being flexible. We are too exposed to the external environment, which highly diversifies our activities. At the same time, our requests have a strong volatile nature and a relatively short deadline. It is as if we were working on several small projects at a time. This prevents us from making long-term forecasts, and requires us to suspend certain activities given the high volume of requests.
This is why our framework is based on the Kanban method, which improved our forecast ability to apparently impossible rates in 2011 (a predictability rate of 80% on most types of requests). This solution has allowed us to optimise the flow of downstream requests, taking into account the ability of the team and the estimated usefulness.
In today’s dynamics, transparency is an art that goes beyond giving visibility on the ongoing flow. Transparency goes hand in hand with the team’s willingness to share the status of their work, the difficulties encountered and the lessons learned. The question is never “why should I say this to others?” but “who else may benefit from this information?”. The Pentalog Institute team has always focused its strategy and management on direct evidence, an approach that has opened the path to the agility of the company.
We are a team that covers a broad range of skills. From technicians to product managers, from design to implementation and monitoring, from coaching and training to implementation, and so on. Some of them have 20 years of experience, while others barely exceed 5 years. However, we are a team! Respect does not have to be earned since it’s a priori embedded in our way of thinking. Sarcasm, retaliation, verbal abuse and all forms of harassment are excluded.
Individuals and human interaction are more important than processes and tools. Is there anything else to add? Of course! The collaboration goes beyond the limits of our team, integrating customers and colleagues from the rest of the group. Pentalog Institute works with more than 60 unique people outside the team each month (Pentalog colleagues and external partners, customers not included), which makes us one of the few major agile teams in this region (Romania, Republic of Moldova).
Easier said than done! Our team members are spread across the Pentalog delivery centers. The main reason we are organized in this way is our belief that we must seek the experts where they are. This approach brings considerable advantages, but also some collaboration constraints.
Autonomy is a mixture of several ingredients: trust, commitment, transparency and determination. We are a sort of commando unit from the American films. Everyone knows they don’t need to cover their back, for every team member watches over the other. This is our motto. When one or several team members decide to carry forward a request, we know that nothing will prevent them from succeeding, and they know they can always count on help from the rest of the team. On the same principle, the Pentalog Institute values, vision and strategy will be properly assimilated by the team.
These are the Pentalog Institute values. Only if assimilated together will they ensure the right environment for achieving the objectives set in the strategy.
The transition continues until the end of this year and I will come back to you with more snapshots of our progress. I hope this process will be as enjoyable as lengthy. Ultimately, we are only supporting learning and investment in ourselves.