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At Qvik nobody bosses you around – our work is built on trust

For humans, self-organized work is the most natural way to function. However, in actual work environments, this approach rarely becomes reality.

If a bunch of people get stranded on a desert island, they don’t need a boss there to figure out what to do. They’ll make a strategy, form teams, and do what they have to do – this is typical human behavior. Over the course of history, our working culture has gone in another direction, where all sorts of bosses and middle-management gives orders while others are supposed to just function.

“It’s the traditional working method like this that doesn’t come naturally – people have to learn it”, says Qvik’s co-founder Tuukka Puumala. “If you let teams decide and design their own working arrangements without middlemen, they’ll be more motivated and the communication towards customers will be more direct.”

At Qvik, the self-organized work came naturally. In the early years, Qvik’s founders were actively involved in the teams themselves, coding and working just like the rest of the firm. “It felt logical that there was no hierarchy, and that decisions were made based on everyone’s best knowledge”, Puumala says.

Spreading power and responsibility

In a self-organizing team, the working methods are always tailored to suit the customer’s needs, and it’s clear that a fixed form doesn’t suit every project. In agile organizations, it’s common that in the same team there are members from the customer’s side and, also, from other companies – working together in peace and harmony.

Qvik has grown from just a couple of coders to a company of over 40 employees – developers, visual designers, and UX/UI-designers. Amid the growth, it’s been important to think about how the company will scale and organize itself without superiors or formal leaders.

“The most important thing is to make sure that you all have the same ambition and that you aim for the same target”, Puumala says. This also requires consistency from the management. “You need to stay far enough from the projects and let your teams take the responsibility. But still, you need to be there whenever help is needed.”

In start-ups and young tech firms, self-organizing ways of working are already starting to be the status quo. We’re hoping this culture will spread.