I work both for customers and on our own product, the VIREN calculation module. In 2016, I was Teal Partners’ first employee. When Koen and Jelle called me, I was immediately on board. You can learn so much from them, technically as well as business wise. They complement each other incredibly well. When these two start brainstorming, very few people can keep up with them. It’s wonderful to see.
Our role as a developer is broadly defined. For instance, you go along to customer sites or oversee user testing. It makes the job more interesting. In other places, you often have to do what someone else has come up with and your work is checked by yet another person. That’s not fun, but it’s also unnecessary. It means projects take longer than they should and that even more people are needed to manage it all. We have no analysts or architects or project managers in our ranks. It makes things run more smoothly. There’s less noise. We can work this way thanks to the kind of complex projects we do and the type of people who work here. Generalists who can think on multiple levels.
There is no straightjacket at Teal Partners. You are given the freedom to organise your job the way you like. You choose your own hours. As long as the work gets done. That’s sometimes a shock to the system for newcomers. Because you have to take the helm. You don’t have to ask permission. Want to represent the company at a job fair? Go ahead. Want to design a banner or write a blog? Carry on. You are given as much responsibility as you want to take on. There is no manual, no rule book.
I don’t think it’s easy to introduce self-management in an organisation. But at Teal Partners, it was ingrained in the DNA from the start. Colleagues take on responsibilities spontaneously. We even organise things like administration, reception duties or office management together. That’s something that has grown organically. As a team, we take care of everything that needs to be done in the company. From simple things such as ordering cola to essential matters such as recruitment. Formal tests or traditional appraisal forms are not our thing. We work by instinct and take our colleagues’ opinions into consideration.