Our New Work Operating System

by Jan Bühlmann

March 2023

Balancing structure and chaos

We're not your average techies - we like alternative approaches to launching software rockets into the web space. But today, we will not talk about the technical nitty-grits of our stack but follow down the rabbit hole an organizational and cultural question:

How do we run our self-organized company?

Well, it's a bit like herding cats, but we've got a few aces up our sleeves. Below you find the most important parts that run our New Work organization smoothly.

A sweet sketch of our new work operating system


At the core, there’re our Scrum Teams. We're not talking about rugby here, folks. We use the Scrum framework to get things done. Some might say it's like a game of hot potato - we write a recipe, boil it up and then pass the work around until someone finally brings it over the finish line: Touchdown! Take two-week sprints with Sprint Planning, a spoon full of Dailies, a Sprint Review, and a pinch of Backlog Refinement, and tadaaaa - you have the perfect recipe for a hot potato party.

Roles & Tactical Meetings

Then, we've got our Roles & Tactical Meetings. It's like a game of "Who's Who" but with actual responsibilities. We meet on a regular basis to catch up on each other's progress, define goals, and ensure we're not stepping on each other's toes (or tails, if you're a cat).

They see us rollin: All in all, we have more than forty-four distinct roles. They range from our ordinary daily business such as the Engineer, Strategist, or UX/UI Designer, to the more exotic ones like Gold Digger or Chief smartive & Beer Officer.

We know how to roll - overview of our company roles

The Advice Process

Be advised, this is where things really get interesting. We like to live dangerously, so we let everyone make proposals and decisions. But before we do anything crazy, we ask for advice from relevant stakeholders. It's like a giant game of "Truth or Dare" with more responsibilities but less embarrassing consequences. Wanna get to know more about the Advice Process? Thilo has written a detailed blogpost about it.

Beer and pizza - a healthy advice process?

The Buddy System

The Buddy System is where things get really cute. We pair up team members to talk about personal needs and help them navigate their way around. It's like a kitten adoption program with lots of deep talks. For more details about the buddy system, go check out Thomas’ insightful blogpost.

Some are bros, some are buddies, some are brudies

All Hands

Our monthly and company-wide get-together. It's like a cross between a TED Talk and a stand-up comedy routine, with a healthy dose of caffeine beer-fueled creativity thrown in for good measure. In short, it's chaotic, it's exhilarating, and everyone gets an update on the latest news and insights on what each team is doing. And by the time you’re reading this, it has been reinvented, probably 😛

Nicola uses all hands to explain interesting stuff

Company Retro

We also participate in group therapy sessions, namely in the frame of our Company Retros. We get together to celebrate our wins and vent about our challenges. It's like a giant group hug, but with less awkwardness. By the end of the meeting, everyone's feeling a little delirious, but also a little bit closer as a team. Sure, we may not always solve all the company's problems, but we sure do get good insights and hopefully a good laugh out of it. In the end of the day, isn't that what really matters?

The glass is always full during our retro sessions

Educational and Social Events

Finally, our education format and social events are like a box of chocolates - you never know what you get. We've got Smart Talks, Workshops, Smarties & Beer Events, a Ski Day, a Code Retreat, a Summer Party, and the famous Christmas Dinner. It's like a particularly smart circus, but only with clowns (that are actually funny). Here you can read more about the importance of our social time.

In conclusion, our self-organized company is a constantly evolving mad scientist's lab - it's chaotic, but with the ingredients given, it works astonishingly well, provides a fruitful ground for innovation and greatly contributes to our success. Speaking of success, If you want to read more about our success factors, then I can recommend you Peter’s blogpost.

Long story short, if you're looking for a web development agency that knows how to have fun while delivering exceptional work, we're got you covered. And if you want to try such a framework yourself, but need some guidance, we have just started to offer New Work consulting. To get to know more, contact one of our New Work Gurus™ Robert, Moreno, or Dominique.

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