Agile/Scrum blog

The Prowareness Culture – Energy & Craziness

Door: Barry Overeem, Marten Meij, Stephan Vlieland,  30-06-2016
Onderwerp: Cultuur  

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 blog post will be about the cultural value ‘Energy & Craziness’.

Cultural Value – Energy & craziness

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, goes the familiar English proverb. At Prowareness we are very fond of working hard. Yet dullness is something you will not find in our way of working. We keep that dreadful dullness at bay by injecting our working routine with the necessary parties, celebrations and other spontaneous actions. We feel that “Energetic work and crazy play makes Prowareness an exciting company”.

In case you are reading this Jack, keep on reading. After this article you’ll know just what to do to stop being that dull guy without losing your work ethic.


Practices

Yoga

At Prowareness we find it very important to have a healthy balance. Not only in balance in work and play, but also balance in body and mind. A healthy balance generates positive energy. We want Propassionals to radiate that good and positive energy. Therefore Propassionals have the opportunity to discover their own healthy balance by attending Yoga classes. Every Tuesday night after Team Time, Propassionals are taught to maximize the ROI of their own ‘bodily-powerplants’ by a professional Yoga instructor.

Cheer

We believe that nothing could start your day better than assembling your team and cheer all together. At Prowareness, each day is greeted by Propassionals with our company cheer. Cheering provides the necessary mental fuel to ignite our passion and positive mindset to be able to help our customers to the best of our abbilities. Our company cheer is a subtle yet important ritual that improves not only team spirit, but also amplifies the energy on a company-wide scale. We on!

Celebration-moment

Contrary to Jack’s work ethic, we are strong supporters of the ‘Work hard, Play hard’ mantra. We believe that Great Players always enjoy their game and celebrate their success. The act of celibrating success and milestone-achievements at regular interval serves as a dynamo to Prowareness, generating energy. Energy which is greatly utilized by Propassionals to turn future opportunities into success, which in term will be celebrated again. Since we have a consistent and high frequent rate of success, we’ve adopted the Celebration-moment practice; during Tuesday Team Time, we schedule 45 minutes to gather in an informal manner and raise our champagne glasses to new Propassionals joining the family, or we congratulate fellow Propassionals who made promotion.

“It only happens at Prowareness”

With respect to our competitors, we notice that Prowareness does things a little differently: we shape the craziness part of our culture value in favor to the element of surprise. Our tribe leader and CEO cleverly captured the essence of this value by coining the practice “It only happens at Prowareness”.

So what exactly does only happen at Prowareness? What’s so different about us that sets us apart from other companies? Well, allow me to state some questions to explore this difference. Have you ever been woken on a Sunday morning by the doorbell and receive a royal breakfast to kickstart your day? Have you ever walked into your office only to be surprised that plenary meetings are cancelled and replaced by a cocktail workshop? Have you ever worked for an organization where the CEO himself secretly prepared a barbeque party for more than a hundred employees in his own backyard? You probably answered no to these questions did you? Don’t worry, we won’t hold it against you. These questions only scratch the surface of a plethora of crazy surprises taking place at Prowareness, you won’t find elsewhere in our opinion. That’s why ‘It only happens at Prowareness.’

Events

Propassionals know how to party. Our marketing puts this collective ‘party-knowledge’ to good use in organizing in events that have Craziness written all over them, with a capital C. A prime example of this is our Holi event: an event in honor of the Hindu festival celebrating the victory of good over evil. All Propassionals who attend are supplied with a range of coloring powders. What follows next could be best described as a giant ‘free-for-all powder-fight’ where Propassionals play, chase and color each other with powder.

Other examples of events are Mooovz, a clubbing experience mixing good food, great dance music and street theatre acts. The Crazy Wild party, a carnival-like party where Propassionals go nuts as they dress up as their favorite persona. And of course, our ‘infamous’ Christmas Party, where the most recent edition was dominated by live-fire acts, haute cuisine, ice sculptures, red-carpet catwalk and one very mysterious fortune teller.

Conclusion

Energy & craziness might be our most important cultural value; it is the icing on the cake, profoundly determining our identity and distinguishing factor in market position. Life is too short to work to spend it entirely on work, you’ve got to let the crazy out from time to time.

At Prowareness we believe that having ‘Energy and Craziness’ as a cultural value will bring balance to keep our company healthy, fit and futureproof.

Oh and Jack, please pay us a visit sometime when you’re not working. We would love to teach you a thing or two about spicing up your work by mixing in some energy and craziness.

The Prowareness Culture - Ambition

Door: Barry Overeem, Marten Meij, Stephan Vlieland,  30-06-2016
Onderwerp: Cultuur  

The Prowareness Culture - Ambition

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 blog post will be about the cultural value ‘Ambition’.

Cultural Value - Ambition

“Big results require big ambitions.” - Heraclitus. Without doubt Prowareness has big ambitions; namely transforming organizations into software-driven responsive enterprises. Transforming organizations means company-wide changes,  and as we all know; everybody wants change, but nobody wants to change . If you’re up for this challenge, you’re the right person for Prowareness! We give an interpretation to ambition’ by using practices as ‘Grow or Go’, ‘Best of… Elections’, ‘Man With a Plan’ and ‘Kamasutra’.

Practices

Man With a Plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” - Antoin de Saint-Exupery. Prowareness employees share at least one charateristic: ambition. Becoming the best is the common denominator. The specific subject area is free of choice, as long it’s related to the services Prowareness offers. During the yearly company-wide kick-off, everyone creates a new (wo)man with a plan. This is a large poster with 5 topics: goals at home, goals at work, emotional goals, physical goals and your personal mission statement. Afterwards these personal growth plans are shared at Prowareness HQ. All the pillars and walls of the office are decorated with pictures of employees and their growth plans. During our weekly meetup on Tuesday everyone can spend some time on updating their plan. This ensures the personal goals stay on top of mind and actually get realized.

Best of … Elections

At the beginning of the year, Prowareness organizes a 2-day event called ‘The Yearly’. On the first day our customers are invited to jointly listen to inspirational speakers and collaboratively create plans for the upcoming year. Part of the second day are the ‘best of … elections’. The categories are best trainer, recruiter, consultant, sales, support, energy and craziness and integrity. For every category the best colleague is chosen. The 7 winners earn a trip (including some pocket money) to a cool destination. In 2015 the destination was Milan, this year it will be London!

‘Grow or Go’

‘Grow or Go’ shouldn’t be confused with ‘Up or Out’. Making an upwards career isn’t mandatory. The only expectation we have is that everyone is continuously trying to grow as a person. For example, we seek personal insight by increasing our self-awareness. We make fresh connections by building mental agility. We bring out the best in others by improving our people agility. We promote new possibilities by increasing our change agility. We make things happen by building results agility. By improving our personal agility we simultaneously increase the agility of Prowareness as a whole. These types of agility are inspired by the book ‘Becoming an Agile Leader’ by J. Evelyn Orr.

Kamasutra

If there is one practice that captivates the mind most it’s definitely the Kamasutra practice. Especially the related book in our bookshelf raises curiosity. But actually, the underlying thought isn’t that exciting. It’s about creating a win-win situation between Prowareness and the customer. For example, while working for the customer, you create and provide a new workshop. The customer is satisfied with the result and you are happy as well because the workshop can also be provided at other customers. And best of all, you got paid while setting it up! A win-win situation, something a good consultant should always aim for.

Conclusion

Prowareness is an environment full with energetic, passionate and ambitious people. To canalise this passion and ambition, practices like ‘Man With a Plan’ proved to be useful. It supports everyone with setting goals and living up to them. With the ‘Best of … Elections’ we show appreciation to each other and celebrate achievements and personal growth. This creates an atmosphere where everyone is invited to pursue their seemingly impossible dreams and continuously develop themselves. Who doesn’t want to be part of such a community?

 

Building the right thing - The outcome of high performance teams

Door: Dianne Elsinga,  21-06-2016
Onderwerp: high performance teams  

Reliable high quality software delivery is essential to be successful as a business in today’s fast changing world. But in Europe it’s hard to find qualified passionate techies, who can develop the software you need to realize your business ambitions. In countries like India technical people are readily available. That’s not new of course. What is new though is that the Agile mind-set is becoming more popular in India also. Many developers don’t feel like working in small cubicles anymore. They don’t want to be told what to do by somebody higher in the hierarchy. And they don’t want to be an invisible radar in a company with 50.000 anonymous others.

Needs of High Performing Teams

Alex van der Star Door: Alex van der Star,  20-05-2016
Onderwerp: Agile Management   agile  Agile Coaches  Agile Coach  Agile Teams  Culture  Development Team  High Performing Teams  Scrum  Scrum Teams  Team Happiness  Team morale  What motivates people  zelfsturende teams  

The needs that High Performing Teams have

In my previous blogpost, I wrote about the characteristics of High Performing Teams. To come to these characteristics I did a small literature review. For this part, I will establish the needs that need to be filled in in order to enable teams to become high performing.

Remember, I am still talking about a team of knowledge workers developing and maintaining a software product.