People on the team were working on their task individually, there was little room for collaboration or interactions. This brought on a defensive culture where suggested improvements were shot down instead of embraced and discussed in a productive manner. The big picture got lost in translation with no one left to recall it. This resulted in releases being pushed into production without exhaustive testing or even without concertation of the team.
With the enthusiastic support of the management, we were allowed to diagnose and propose solutions to tackle the deeper issue at hand: the discomfort felt by the members of that department.
We offered a space of expression for everyone, from any level in the hierarchy. Considering everyone's comments, we helped them rebuild a procedural background which enabled them to have a clear vision of the tasks ahead, why and how to distribute them, and to take ownership of their work. These changes ranged from implementing rigorous processes such as 2-step project validation to planning simple “informal meetings” where the team could be informed and interacted with over breakfast or lunch. With a clearly defined structure to rely on, employees could now find freedom and autonomy in their work which increased their creativity, drive, and performance significantly. The team was now rallied around a common goal and ready to achieve the standards they had set themselves. As the end of our mission came closer we had a major release, with an impact on all travelers, that had to go live. The go-live included different departments and the level of teamwork that was displayed that day reflected what we had strived for over the months; everyone knew their role, appreciated receiving feedback, took initiative and showed compassion towards their coworkers. The result was obvious: the release went like clockwork and the product that was pushed in production was very well accepted across all levels.
“We delivered as requested: the team had a clear roadmap with scoped projects, the product achieved the high standards that were set and was delivered on time. Yet what I take most pride in is that in the end, we were a team.”
Post project interview with our consultants: "what got you excited during this project?"
At the core of Ness lies a deep commitment to the environment and to our fellow human. This is why we aim to participate in projects that bring change and have a positive impact on these matters. Sometimes we get to do big things like replanting a forest, other times the wins we get have a more subtle effect. This project was one of the latter:
The project aimed at converting more car users to public transport users. Based on recent survey’s, 1 out of 3 travelers prefer their cars over public transport due to an insecure feeling regarding the schedules and the communication thereof. During this assignment we took both improving the quality of the information transmitted and supporting people on the field into consideration so that the conversion might become higher in Belgium. Every person giving up their car for public transport we consider a small victory.
Fighting for the environment got us to choose this project over others, but the human factor turned out to be a surprise. The internal team was suffering from the lack of an overarching frame, the lack of autonomy and freedom, as well as a difficult access to information. This stopped them from doing their work efficiently and having a control over it. By restructuring, clearly defining roles and clarifying processes together with the team, employees gained in autonomy and drive in their daily tasks. This sparked a spontaneous increase in collaboration; people were now helping each other making sure that their colleagues reached their targets. This highly contributed to improving psychological safety and overall wellbeing of the employees. This is what we work for, this is why we do it.