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When we change the way we communicate
we change the society.
- Clay Shirky -

(日本語) [Story telling] – How to manage a project in an open organisation/ The “Freemous” example.How to manage a project in an open organisation/ The “Freemous” example.

Since the end of 2013, Officience has decided to switch to a “no manager” model and started to build the foundations of an open organisation. In this system, employees are free and responsible for taking any actions they consider best for the company. Therefore, at Officience, we foster the individual initiatives because we deeply believe that everyone is able to enrich the model.

That is exactly what Alexandre Boulmé, Business Analyst,  did when he decided to dig out a project that had been put aside for a long time.

Alexandre :

Yesterday,  I was watching a documentary called “Le Bonheur au travail”, (meaning «Happiness at work » on Arte replay). The teaching I got from was that pyramidal institutions were smothering the potential of people.

At Officience, we believe the same thing : we want to free people’s potential and creativity by suppressing the hierarchy and empowering them. In other words, we would like to set an open organisation.

open orga

If you are as pragmatic as me , you probably wonder: “Alright that’s a good vision but how does it work on a daily basis?”

Let me tell you the story of the project I’m currently working on, a mobile application called “Freemous”

The main function of the app. is to take a picture and apply a frame of your choice on it. The global vision is to “help people show their tribes and causes through enriched pictures and selfies.” But it can also become a general branding tool : share pictures during specific event on social networks, add frames to promote your company’s products…

This application has been developed following the request of the top management a few years ago but not as a real project within the company. When I joined Officience, the app. was functional but not designed for the public (UX, Data management, Analytics…). However, we could feel there was a need when we discussed with people during tech events. Therefore, a few months ago when someone from the company asked “This project has a real potential, who is interested in it?” Through our internal social network, I decided to raise my hand!

Once we knew where we wanted to go, I needed to gather a team around the project.

Freemous team

(Alexandre Boulmé, Thanh Pham and Long Thay)

So I went to see the mobile developers and pitched the idea.  Thanh Pham and Long Thay and  were enthusiastic about the initiative. Then, we asked for a designer to join. Ai Nhi Dang said yes!  As soon as we were a team of 4, with all the required skills, we could start working.

We began to build the backlog – i.e. the list of features we wanted to have in this new version – and estimate the time we would need to build the first version. Once done, we planned the development according to the other upcoming projects.

Developments were not always easy and we faced several difficulties due to technology we never used before. But every time we needed help, we were able to find it inside the company even for the beta testing part. Actually, we asked everyone in the company to test the app. with their own phone. It was thrilling idea since we could check the app. functioning on a large range of iOS and android versions. This approach was really interesting for us because unlike automatic testing we could gather feedback on user experience (buttons, app screens) and bugs at the same time – not mentioning the fact that automatic testing is really difficult for “Camera app”.

Freemous QH

Currently the beta version has been launched and we are now working on improving the experience according to users feedbacks . On the business side, we don’t really know where this will go, it’s kind of a startup experience but that’s really exciting!

This is my experience of what you can do in an open organisation. When I decided to work on “Freemous” I had only a little experience on mobile development and the developers never really worked on the camera feature (which is central in the app). But no one told us to stop, they only gave us pieces of advice when needed.

We were able to launch a projects even if we didn’t have all the skills or strong references. As long as we were all really engaged in the project and it fitted with the values of the organisation.

After all: Skills and knowledge nowadays are just a matter of time and Google search!

Currently, the team is still working on some features such as color scheme and logos. But in a few weeks, “Freemous” will be available for download and you will be able to show to everyone to which community you belong  thanks to your profile picture!

Stay tuned!

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