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Deliberate Reteaming: 2022

In January 2022, we undertook another reteaming process to reconfigure how our engineering teams are assigned to reflect the change in our company strategy for 2022. At Redgate we have been doing self-selection style reteaming for the past four years. In this blog, we share our experience — how it works, how it has been received, and what we have learned so far.

What is the self-selection style of reteaming and why bother?

At Redgate, we practice the self-selection style of reteaming. This means we allow people to strongly influence where in the new team structure they will work, encouraging them to move towards the work they find most engaging while also ensuring we have teams that can meet the needs of the business.

There could be various reasons why an organisation or team may decide to reteam:

  • People will be more engaged and motivated – If they have autonomy over what they do, the space to gain mastery of their skills, and a clear purpose they understand & believe in​
  • Skills development - People may want to work in new teams and with new tech to learn new skills
  • Company growth — As a company grows and people join or leave, things need to adjust and change
  • Change in strategy – Company has changed its strategy which may mean that its current structure is not fit for its purpose. Teams need to be reorganised to execute on new strategies
  • Spreading good practices around the organisation – You may want people to move from one team to another as they will cross-pollinate and spread knowledge, best practices, and innovation throughout our teams

It’s a significant effort for us to create this environment, share the information and manage the process that allows people to have a strong influence over which team they work in. However, we gladly invest that time and effort because we believe doing so aligns with our principle that people will be most engaged and motivated in their work if they have autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Reteaming can help an organisation to adapt to changes, develop its people and keep them motivated. So, we may as well get better at doing it.

How does reteaming work at Redgate?

Our reteaming process with a break for Christmas holidays

Redgate regularly reviews its strategy. Small adjustments to the strategy happen throughout the year but most of the big changes happen at the end of the year review. Hence, our annual reteaming aligns with the end of the year strategy review. Our approach to reteaming has stayed similar in the last four years. We

  • Share the overall strategy for the year, including where each team’s purpose will remain the same and where it will change
  • Confirm the leadership roles around our teams first so that team leaders can help us with the reteaming process
  • Ask the leaders of the teams to build team charters to define what life will be like in each of these teams
Our team charter
  • Organise a team charter event to give people the opportunity to chat with the team leaders to explore what life will be like in those teams
  • Gather individual preferences for which team they would like to be part of
  • Assemble team structures that meet as many people’s preferences as possible while ensuring that it meets the needs of the business too
  • Organise people moves and facilitate team-building activities to help new teams form

It generally takes a couple of weeks for us from the team charter event to people moving to their new teams.

Has reteaming significantly changed in this remote or hybrid world?

Not really. The principle of reteaming has remained the same for us. We have modified some of our processes and tools to work in this remote or hybrid world. For example:

  • Information on company strategy is now shared in online meetings using Zoom, rather than co-located presentations
  • We have moved from co-located team charter events to a virtual event using tools like Spatial.chat
  • Team charters have moved from being on whiteboards to a MURAL template.
  • Face-to-face meetings to coach individuals with their team preferences have changed to one-to-one zoom meetings.

So how did the 4th reteaming at Redgate go?

Our ambition going into reteaming is to create healthy teams which can meet the needs of the business while meeting the preferences of as many people as possible and respecting the constraints set in the team charters.

We track three metrics every year to measure whether people had a strong influence over wherein the new team they will work with. Here are the figures for 2022 reteaming along with the data from previous years:

Percentage of Engineers that were in a team that was their 1st preference:

  • 89% in 2022 (83% in 2021, 83% in 2020, 77% in 2019)

Percentage of Engineers that were in a team that was their 1st/2nd/3rd preference:

  • 97% in 2022 (98% in 2021, 97% in 2020, 97% in 2019)

Percentage of people moving to join a new team:

  • 24% in 2022 (37% in 2021, 34% in 2020, 33% in 2019)

So, for the 4th year in a row, we’ve been able to assign over 95% of our engineers to a team they had a preference to work in, and we’ve set a record by being able to place 89% of them into the team that was their first preference. Overall, 24% of people that work in our will move to new challenges.

About a third or quarter of people in our teams moving to a new team has worked well for us. We do want some people to move to provide the cross-pollination, skill transfer, and team renewal we are aiming for while also retaining some of the crucial knowledge in our teams which is key to its success.

How did we know that reteaming has been a success?

We look at various indicators:

  • Feedback in surveys from people who are part of reteaming
  • We also run some anonymous surveys from a 3rd party vendor across the company quarterly. We look at the trend for satisfaction in certain categories e.g., my team, my manager, wellbeing, personal growth too.

The team may slow down a tiny bit for a week or two after the people move while teams are forming but the delivery performance is back up to normal levels pretty quickly with all the added benefits of improved morale, new personal development opportunity, cross-pollination of good practices, etc.

Want to know more?

If you are considering reteaming for your team or your organisation and would want to know more or talk in detail, please do reach out to me at priya.sinha@red-gate.com.

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Priya Sinha

Priya Sinha

Priya Sinha is Engineering Manager at Redgate Software.