Case Study Summary: Geonetric
How one CEO’s drive to respond to rapid market changes led to a complete Agile reorg
After experiencing early success with Agile adoption in their software teams, Geonetric® CEO Eric Engelmann felt challenged by the boundaries of traditional management thinking: “As a team, we recognized the traditional management model was broken.”
Eric and his executive team had a deep drive for Geonetric to be the front-runner of their industry — to mimic start-up speed by responding to market changes faster and iterating rapidly. Geonetric made the capital investment to rethink everything and apply Agile across their entire organization.
In 2013, they launched the company-wide initiative with an Agile Boot Camp facilitated by Agile for All trainer and coach Richard Lawrence. “Adopting Agile beyond software requires understanding the principles behind why it works. As a company, the entire staff needed a foundation of why before how,” Richard says.
In order to facilitate the kind of transformation Geonetric expected, Agile For All worked with their teams to accomplish multiple changes:
Agile Shifts: Breaking from Traditional Management
1. Flatten the org chart.
Geonetric went to a flat organization structure to clear the way for people to do what they do best. As a result, there are no managers — everyone is part of a self-organizing team, with their focus on how to deliver value to clients as quickly as possible.
2. Ditch traditional departments.
Almost every team is cross-disciplinary and can respond to client or marketplace needs without departmental hand-offs.
3. Open up in radical transparency.
They took the risk of sharing deeper levels of financial, client satisfaction and operational information with all teams.
4. Create a peer-accountable culture.
Rather than being “held accountable” by a manager, team members commit to each other, their clients and prospects.
“We’ve seen software releases hitting targets — meeting both scope and deadline requirements. Our software development is accelerating with each sprint, almost doubling in speed over the course of a year.”
The risk — and investment — has paid off. Today, Geonetric has grown to 75 happier team members who fully embrace Agile. They currently operate with four full-time Agile coaches in-house and continue to hire high-performing people in order to keep up with work demand. Geonetric is also founding partner of the Iowa Startup Accelerator, serving as the center for creativity and entrepreneurship in Cedar Rapids.
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