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At work we have a thing called "Checkpoint" which runs every quarter. There's a set of questions - mostly around what you did last quarter, what you expect to achieve next quarter. Those objectives are made in discussion with each line manager, and align with the overall company strategy/objectives (things like Achieving, Engaging, Innovating, Learning, Collaborating, Leading). At the review stage, you are scored on how well you are doing, i.e., needs improvement, meeting expectations, exceeding expectations. At each point of the review stage, you discuss with the manager if you are both in agreement (if not, you can ask for an independent evaluation). The same checkpoint has to be completed by everyone in the business to ensure consistency from top to bottom. Provided you score a '3' or above, you get a percentage share of the bonus given to the entire company.


There are a lot more nuances to that (i.e., calibration - how do you compare someone working as a programmer to someone who is working in sales, when they are on the same pay grade etc...) but in general it seems to work. No evaluation process is completely perfect or free of bias (or favourtism) - and requires constant tweaking. We are no different in that respect.


@cattabanks @dharrigan thanks! So in a company without hierarchies, where autonomous workers share a common goal, there could be some kind of peer review process of your achieved goals that you have set up front?! something like OKRs for every quarter... I am just thinking about a self-managing worker-owned company and researching some examples of what other cooperatives or companies are doing.

Mark Gerard07:08:46

I don't think a company without hierarchies exists. They maybe implicit or organic, but they exist. That said, a peer review process for goals and targets can be instituted, since peers are the best judge of work ethic of their fellow peers. So you can leverage that. I would only add that you should consider anonymizing it to lessen politics and friction among teams.


I am just thinking about using to having a company that has basically upside-down hierarchies, say a cooperative where the majority decides on stuff more than once a year. Just thinking... :thinking_face:


From what I've read, Valve very much has a hierarchy, just a non-explicit one. I don't know if I'd use them as a model for a notional company

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Mark Gerard08:08:48

There are always hierarchies. You can't escape them


right, it's often about non-formal hierarchy because when there is no hierarchy then the strongest might prevail

Mark Gerard08:08:21

(things (fall (apart (pretty quickly))))


but maybe there is an example where it works good, I am searching for it:)


Perhaps somewhere to look would be food co-operatives and perhaps go talk with them to determine how they evaluate performance and how they allocate rewards to people?


(or farm co-operatives)


I've never worked in a tech company that doesn't have hierarchy - so can't really comment on how it might be done in such companies 🙂


I’ve tried it, but it only works if everybody is on the same level, technically and maturity wise. Otherwise non-explicit one percolates out of necessity and with that you’re back to the square one.


I believe what our company implemented is based upon the Hay Guide


after I think nearly a year's worth of consultation


Escaping hierarchies is no one's purpose. What we want to escape is scenarios when established hierarchies are not allowed to be challenged.


Hierarchy just means abstraction/optimization. Distancing from the specific to grasp some general truth that allows some efficiency in one area with costs in other areas. Certainly some people developed some ideologies, but it's more often the case that it's their experiences with bloated management structures and overemphasis on avoidance of error that bothers workers. See the Peter-principle and Punished by Rewards

Neil Ashton11:08:00

@dharrigan: thanks for bringing up the example of cooperatives, which are good examples of participatory governance and decision-making in action in the workplace! Worker cooperatives in tech exist (and maybe are becoming more common). Check out for a federation of them in the UK or for a US network of them (somewhat less active). There’s also the notion of “platform cooperatives”, basically the answer to questions like “what if Uber was owned by its drivers?“: I’ve spoken to people from CoLab about their model, and they’ve been happy to answer questions, so maybe reach out to them if you want to hear about how it works:


awesome answers! thanks, not to forget nilenso as a clojure-using tech coop-like company

Neil Ashton12:08:38

Wow, that’s a pretty cool-looking company!


they are doing conferences in india and probably more


the fact that an organizational hierarchy needs to exist in order for an institution to maintain coherence does not have to entail that some individuals within the organization are "higher" in the hierarchy than others. There are organizational forms that attempt to disentangle the different layers of decision-making that need to exist from job titles. Two examples would be Holacracy (used at Zappos IIRC) and the Viable System model. I'm more partial to the latter than the former, having worked at a place that attempted to use Holacracy and it didn't have a clear way of talking about problems at a higher level than day to day work. You can read about the VSM here: And here's a quick pamphlet on the VSM in the context of activism/community organizing: What's important about the VSM is that it allows you to think about the functional roles of your organization without assuming that an individual is the only person who can fulfill that role. It could be a shared responsibility with formal procedures (like a cleaning chart).

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thanks @UFTRLDZEW. just now had the time to read through it and Stafford Beer is indeed a very interesting person especially in regards to his works in Chile. Thanks for this, didn't know that VSM is out there.


glad you liked it!


Has the Software Architect role melded into the Lead Developer role? LinkedIn only shows me LD roles when searching for architecture positions


I didn't get the memo 😄


I just searched for "Software Architect" on LinkedIn and it is showing me plenty of architect roles.