OPERATING MODEL: AGILE, COLLABORATIVE AND SELF-MANAGED TEAMS

Operating Model Tribe - Arbusta

Since the beginning of this year, Arbusta has instituted an agile, scaled operating delivery model, designed to guarantee quality and adaptability to changes, and to manage more specialized autonomous teams that are focused on our services.

“We have adapted Spotify’s agile model to better meet our clients’ needs and our own realities”, explained Mariana Bedjenian, Director of Operations, who is responsible for designing and implementing the model.  As a consequence, the operation, with offices in Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay is now organized into “digital tribes”.  Each tribe is focused on a core Arbusta service:

  • Machine Learning Training
  • QA & Software Testing
  • Digital Interactions
  • Data Services

Each tribe can consist of a maximum of 100 members, and is led by a Tribe Leader (TL or PM).  In turn, each tribe is made up of squads of up to 12 people, led by a Service Owner.

In addition, our model incorporates areas of cross-squad specialization (“chapters”), which contribute to effective monitoring of the service, and to the development of standardized practices (communication and quality techniques) for the whole tribe.

In turn, we also have inter-tribe groups called “Guilds” that identify communities of interest.

“This operating model provides the following advantages:  it allows us to focus on our services while maintaining an agile organization structure. It also allows us to leverage our Chapters to enable and empower new voices in the management of our projects, while also permitting us to scale easily,” explained Mariana Bedjenian.

Mariana Bedjenian - Arbusta - Operating Model

“This operating model provides the following advantages: it allows us to focus on our services while maintaining an agile organization structure. It also allows us to leverage our Chapters to enable and empower new voices in the management of our projects, while also permitting us to scale easily,” explained Mariana Bedjenian.

OUR SERVICE DELIVERY MODEL: A GREAT ALLY FOR OUR MIGRATION TO REMOTE WORKING DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS

Our operating model turned out to be a key element in easing the transformation of our work flow, as we switched to teleworking in the context of the covid19 crisis.  In the middle of March, Arbusta, like many other companies, was forced to migrate its almost 300 collaborators in record time, to a 100% work from home model.  This implied guaranteeing connectivity, and providing equipment for everyone, while maintaining crucial information security safeguards, all in a very short time frame. 

“Arbusta represents the first job for many of our collaborators, a majority of which are centennials and millennials.  Before the pandemic, the general thought was that there was insufficient maturity to establish remote working on a mass scale in our organization.  Even though we already had the digital tools and agile working methods, we felt we weren’t ready.  Nevertheless, reality showed us that we did have that capability, and via our SOs, we were able to quickly asses home internet connectivity and equipment needs, and we rapidly found solutions that allowed us to operate at 100% capacity”, Mariana Bedjenian recounted.

This abrupt transition to working completely remotely implied new communication routines, and remote equipment management skills.  Our squad structure, and cross functional elements were key to keeping the teams united, with a clear understanding of their tasks, and focused on maintaining the quality of our services.

Our clients also benefit from this model since it improves communication, offers more adaptability to changes in priorities, and allows us to manage our know-how more efficiently in serving their needs.

Carolina Sangenito, Sr. Analyst for processes for Mercado Libre describes it this way:  “Some of Arbusta’s collaborators are just beginning their professional careers.  Arbusta guides them in their selected paths, and allows them to continue learning while also challenging them to go beyond.  In these times when technologies change so quickly, it is necessary to encourage adaptability to change, foster continuous improvement, and develop great communication skills.  I believe that the operating framework that Arbusta proposes achieves that objective.”

Carolina Sangenito - Mercado Libre

“Some of Arbusta’s collaborators are just beginning their professional careers. Arbusta guides them in their selected paths, and allows them to continue learning while also challenging them to go beyond. In these times when technologies change so quickly, it is necessary to encourage adaptability to change, foster continuous improvement, and develop great communication skills. I believe that the operating framework that Arbusta proposes achieves that objective.”

Carolina Sangenito, Analyst for processes for Mercado Libre.

EMPOWERING DEVELOPMENT AND COLLABORATION

Since our model was implemented, the following chapters have been created: Continuous Improvement, Automation, Technical, and Communications.  These cross-functional squads enhance collaboration and spread know-how throughout the organization.  For example, the Continuous Improvement Chapter is focused on complying with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for our projects.  It monitors indicators and metrics, and adherence to the Quality Management System (QMS).  Each team has at least one member that belongs to the chapter, and this person is responsible for incorporating these practices into their projects.  

Operating Model Tribe - Arbusta

The four services provided by Arbusta, organized in tribe

The Arbusta Tribe Model is focused on reinforcing the  “Learning while Doing” spirit, which has been an essential part of Arbusta since its foundation.  For this reason, being part of a Chapter represents an opportunity for development and growth for each analyst, while providing challenges that raise the bar on innovation and quality each day.

In addition, given the special circumstances we are facing, in which each person is working remotely, the formation of communities of interest or “guilds” has been encouraged within our organization.   These groups, whose objective is to exchange knowledge on a specific subject, are voluntary and based on subjects as diverse as: gender, sustainability, and motivation, and contribute towards generating a relaxed and stimulating work environment. “Guilds function somewhat like a glue that help to keep the organization unified, while promoting integration, and help us to map communities of interest and give visibility to talent in its various forms of expression”, commented Mariana Bedjenian.

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