Self-managing Teams: Why, What, and How We Do It at EL Passion

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      22 September 2022 (updated: 28 September 2022) by  Patrycja Paterska Patrycja Paterska

      Self-managing teams onboard faster, solve issues more quickly, and are more effective in cooperation overall. See why we implemented self-managing teams at EL Passion and what’s in it for your project.

      Your project’s focal point: the kickoff

      The setup before the project’s kickoff is a crucial element in your product development

      Every team goes through a set of stages before they can start performing to its full potential. And if a team hasn’t worked together before, it can take them days or even months to understand and set up the project to then synchronize effectively on a daily basis.

      Bruce Tuckman created one of the most influential models for group formation highlighting 5 most prominent stages:

      • Forming: when everyone is on their best behavior, unsure about the team’s dynamics and their role in it, 
      • Storming: when first conflicts arise, unveiling people’s different ways of working and approaching problems and challenges,
      • Norming: when the team slowly start to adapt and resolve their differences, appreciating one another’s strengths, being aware of the weaknesses (and addressing them), 
      • Performing: when the team has confidence and satisfaction from working together, they are better at delegating tasks, problems are more likely to be prevented thanks to good communication. 

      With the already existing self-managing teams, however, this whole process is shortened significantly. And this is just one of the benefits.

      At EL Passion, we started forming tech self-managing teams in 2021. They are fully capable of taking on your whole development project from start to finish. They consist of both frontend and backend developers (and also designers in separate teams) that work together and have worked together on projects before.

      See what it means for your project in detail.

      What are self-managing teams in simple words

      A self-managing team, also called a self-managed team, differs from a traditionally understood team in several aspects. The core differentiator is project ownership. In a self-managing team, everyone is involved in planning and organizing the project workflow and key processes. As a result, the whole team shares a collective responsibility for the product they deliver.

      Self-managing teams are smaller, so they have more interactions on the daily, tend to be more cohesive and invested, especially when compared to bigger and less specialized teams with no real common denominator. 

      They are generally more driven by commitment and trust rather than hierarchy, allowing for better knowledge sharing, more efficient information flow, fewer delays, and more. 

      The core benefits of self-managing teams for your project

      A complementary team with wide-ranging competencies

      The core value of a self-managing team for the project is having a team with fully-fledged competencies that not only do possess the hard skills but are already in sync as they have worked together before on numerous projects. The experience of knowing the people you’re working with significantly reduces the time of your project’s setup and kick-off, but also influences the developers’ work on the daily. They already know their own and their peers’ capabilities and possible restraints, so they are able to react quicker and delegate tasks more effectively. 

      In many cases, better internal communication transfers into faster development and a much more united vision and a better understanding of the core project objectives. Self-managing teams, having both Front-end and Back-end developers onboard, are more likely to approach all challenges as a team rather than working on their own, and they view the product holistically and not as a set of joint elements they are responsible for.


      Shorter onboarding time

      Self-managing teams ensure your project’s flexibility. At EL Passion, developers are working on one project at a time, but sometimes the project teams are smaller than our internal self-managing team. That gives you a buffer — in case you need to expand your project team and add another developer, their onboarding process is more seamless and efficient than in a regular setup. The whole team already knows one another as well as the core project goals.

      Established domain expertise

      At EL Passion, we build self-managing teams based on their skills and domain expertise, so they can use their experience for your project’s benefit but also expand their skills and knowledge while doing new projects from the same industry domain. All our teams have portfolios from a set of domains (healthcare, media & entertainment, B2B solutions, HR tools), so they’re top professionals not only knowing the tech but also aware of the business opportunities and constraints of solutions they propose.

      Mentor-like role of a Team Leader

      Every self-managing team has its own team leader and they are actively present in all their team projects to guide, mentor, and monitor the progress if needed. With this setup, there are no situations where developers are left alone with no support from someone with more tech or domain experience. The key here, however, is understanding that the team leader does not supervise and make all project decisions for the team and is more of a supporting role in the team’s decision-making process.

      Assigned Project Managers

      All self-managing teams at EL Passion have their dedicated Project Manager assigned. This again assures that all your product development needs are covered from start to finish and in a seamless and most effective way possible.

      Project Managers, having worked with their teams before, know much more about how to approach the development process: how to organize the project’s timeline and manage the workload. They are much better equipped to evaluate the risks, opportunities, and, in fact, any unpredictable situations that could happen in the project.

      Increased motivation

      In growing companies, there’s a tendency to team up people by expertise. But it’s also no surprise that in those companies people might feel more detached from others, which creates a lot of room for conflict and frustration. Building smaller & cross-functional teams where everyone feels equally represented solves that problem and makes people more motivated and invested in their daily work.

      The takeaway: Self-managing teams are your project’s biggest asset

      Self-managing teams’ core benefits: the team’s prior experience working with one another, along with increased involvement in the project planning and the mentor-like role of a Team Leader, make them your project’s biggest asset during the development process. They are prepared not only technically but also in terms of internal communication and soft skills, e.g. time management, enabling you to succeed, and do so faster and more efficiently than in a regular setup.

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