The Secret to Success? Teamwork

    Software companies are becoming the model for business at large in a lot of ways, according to a new report from McKinsey & Co., including its team-based approach to creating an agile organization.

    It describes it this way:

    Teams assemble and reassemble based on specific projects, often resulting in flatter organizations than may be seen in other industries. To the uninitiated (and sometimes even to those in the industry), this way of working feels like barely controlled chaos. Companies that do this well depend on core organizational elements, including increased transparency, a laser-like focus on aligning culture and mind-set, and clearly defined, common goals.

    … In the future, though, it’s clear that accelerated cycles, increased transparency, and teaming outside the typical organizational boundaries (both within and outside the company) will have great impact on how executives organize and manage their teams.

    It will require employees from both business and IT to gain more skills.

    In more traditional companies, IT employees will need to become business managers, while product-development and business unit leaders will need to become software savvy. A base level of software fluency will be a requirement for all levels, including upper management, in order to understand not only the core technologies but also the dynamics of working in a quick-turn, massively more connected, and digitized marketplace, in which economic value is driven increasingly by information-based services.

    The hiring managers I’ve talked to lately have stressed the need for “soft” skills, including communications, problem-solving and the ability to work on a team. In one survey by The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), companies said the No. 1 skill they’re looking for was the ability to work on a team. Increasingly, the stereotype of the brilliant loner in the company just doesn’t fly. It adds impetus on employers to make the right hires as well.

    In an interesting post at GeekWire, entrepreneur David Niu talks about how he realized that hiring even one person not in line with the culture he was trying to create was a mistake.

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