We recently visited 10 Pines, a creative software development company based in the heart of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Every Friday lunch it is pizza and empanada time for everyone at 10 Pines. A good time for us to be part of the 10 Pines team for an afternoon 😀 (btw they were the best empanadas we had so far in Buenos Aires!).
What struck us first was how open everyone was with us, we had a good chat with various people who gave us insight to the ongoing initiatives. Federico, Agile coach and our guide of the day, showed us around the colourful open plan office and was happy to answer our questions. We were free to take pictures and were invited to attend the end of week company stand up.
At this stand up, the individual Agile teams shared their successes and challenges with everyone. Each team had prepared a slide, presenting their input in a fun and engaging way. Use of humour is important at 10 Pines, as is honesty and transparency. The whole session ran smoothly and was entirely self-organising – no facilitator was needed.
Following the company standup, the rest of the afternoon was set aside for personal development, innovation, personal projects, training or continue with ongoing work if that is what people want to do.
There is no hierarchy at 10 Pines, decisions are made by everyone together in the company. This philosophy continued over the years, even with substantial growth (at the time of writing, 10 Pines have grown to more than 50 people in the 9 years that they have been operating). A nice symbol of the company wide trust is that all of the keys to the office hang in the open space, with access freely given to all.
It is very much a people culture. It is important that everyone feels engaged and motivated. Having a good working relationship with their clients is put above simply winning the contract.
Federico introduced us to the latest group of apprentices and told us about the apprenticeship scheme. New apprentices are taken on regularly, going through a structured training program before they join one of the development teams and continue their growth with the company.
Federico is the Agile coach, however Agile values, principles and practices are so ingrained into the culture that individual teams do not have Scrum Masters. Teams self-organise and remove their own impediments. Developers are full stack, with few specialist roles. It seemed that Agile is used in a way that works for 10 Pines. For example, when a team’s communication and alignment is working well, a daily standup can be seen as unnecessary overhead.
We were truly impressed by what the 10 Pines team is doing. They have built an awesome and inspiring work environment that really embraces the true spirit of the Agile values and principles. Team members seemed genuinely happy, motivated and focused on what they are doing which can only be good for their clients and the products they develop.
Many thanks to Emilio, Jorge and Federico and the rest of the 10 Pines team for allowing us to visit, showing us around and taking the time to talk to us.