Each team decides how it wants to work. Some teams select their team lead in a democratic way, others rotate the role, and others don’t even appoint a specific team lead and are therefore ‘leaderless’.
This might raise concerns about chaos, or lack of alignment with other teams. But this doesn’t have to be the case. At Smarkets, they organize weekly coordination meetings. Each team sends a representative to coordinate with the other teams. Once again, the teams decide who to send.
The Smarkets approach to self-management is continually evolving. Everyone is invited to challenge the model and suggest improvements. But that it already works is not in doubt amongst the employees.
An earlier quote
by Software Engineer Annie Zhang is revealing: “It means being able to decide for yourself what to work on, and having the flexibility, as engineers, to decide the direction of the product. It also allows us to spend more time working independently and communicating with other team members however we see fit — instead of sitting through meetings that might not be relevant to what we’re actually working on.”
The firm also implemented salary transparency and self-set salaries. A hotbed of innovation. A must read, and on my list of companies to visit on my planned European trip in late Spring 2019 (Contact me
if you want to connect when I am there: I will be planning get-togethers in various cities, like London).
Smarkets sounds like the sort of organization I meant when I coined the expression ‘fast and loose’ business.
For decades, the public broadcaster has relied on a cadre of temporary journalists to produce its hourly newscasts and popular news programs. Without temporary workers — who are subject to termination without cause — NPR would probably be unable to be NPR. Temps do almost every important job in NPR’s newsroom: They pitch ideas, assign stories, edit them, report and produce them. Temps not only book the guests heard in interviews, they often write the questions the hosts ask the guests.
And there are a lot of them. According to union representatives, between 20 and 22 percent of NPR’s 483 union-covered newsroom workforce — or 1 in 5 people — are temp workers. The number varies week to week as temps come and go.
NPR’s management cites a somewhat lower figure, 16 percent, although its count reflects managers and interns and other employees in departments that aren’t represented by the union. NPR says the overall ratio of temporary workers to permanent employees has remained more or less stable for several years.
The size of the temp workforce is unusual in media circles. While the workers are making at least $21,63/hour and receive health insurance and other benefits if they work more than 30 hours in a given two-week pay period. But it’s all very precarious.
It just doesn’t gibe with what I would have been the ethics of NPR, but who knows what they are, really. NPR has been converting many temp jobs into permanent work, so this may be transitory.
Automation and the future of the African American workforce
report suggests 'without concerted effort, automation could heighten disparities that already harm minority workers’. This is due to the fact that African Americans are disproportionally employed in support roles, rather than 'directive’ – management – roles. This means they are generally paid less, and support work has a slower growth rate than directive work.