Get more Insights from Outside the Box
Last week I reported about our employee exchange experiment. Since then we had many more scheduled and impromptu discussions. Everybody was happy to exchange information on differences and similarities between both companies. Major topics were
- Cross-functional Teams vs. Component Teams
- Kanban vs. Scrum
- Roles (Agile Coach, Product Manager, Product Owner)
- Work environment (rooms, kicker, coffee, beer, …)
After three weeks the experiment ended, with mixed feelings on our side. We were reluctant to say farewell to our guest, who was already integrated very well into the team and had enhanced the team’s skills. On the other hand, we were happy to see “our” developer returning from the other company after an overall very successful experiment.
We have learned a lot. Probably the most important insight is that there is no silver bullet. There are many differences in the ways developers work at etracker and at CoreMedia, respectively, and each approach has its own pros and cons. We have not identified methods or best practices to adopt directly, but we have been challenged to think outside the box and to question our approaches.
Three weeks of exchange seems to be a good duration, striking a balance between cost and insights. More time would probably not result in further significant learnings for our companies, whereas the exchange needed that much time for a detailed insight.
As a side effect, we established an experience exchange channel. Whenever we are facing a challenge or prepare an organizational change, we may now ask our colleagues how they are handling this kind of issue or what their recommendation is.
Last but not least, both developers appreciate having participated and have improved their personal background a lot.
The experiment was very successful. We did not face any trouble. Instead, we learned a lot and want to extend it:
- Repeat it with different engineers to enrich personal skills and experience
- Invite other companies to participate
- Think about exchanges for other roles like Agile Coaches, IT staff, …
- Focus on different topics like technology or innovation processes
What do you think? Have you ever tried an employee exchange, or do you want to do one with us? Please let us know!