“You’ll never be complete, and that’s as it should be.” (“Du blir aldrig färdig och det är som det skall.”) A beloved strophe from Tomas Tranströmer’s poem “Romanesque Arches” and a sentence that truly says it as it is; when an entity is continuously evaluated and tweaked over time it has the opportunity to develop into something really relevant.
A few years ago at SVTi, we wrote a manifesto which contained guiding principles for how we wanted to work and what is important to us as a tech department at SVT. Principles that we needed to agree on, but which would develop and change over time. We were hoping that they contribute to build an attractive workplace where our employees have the ability to carry out their job to the fullest and to develop products and services in the best possible way for our users.
The manifesto is related to SVT’s overall goals and strategy, but since we wanted to challenge ourselves and move forward, after a while we saw the need to update the document.
In the end of last year, a working group of 25 people from different departments at SVT met during a two-day workshop in the form of an “open space”. A workshop that, like a roller coaster, lifted us up when everything felt smart, to then plunge us down into self-explanations and fancy words that don’t really mean anything.
When we were quite happy with the result, we decided to share it with all the teams and employees who work within the tech development department at SVT. We wanted feedback to challenge our ideas, but feedback from around 200 colleagues got me nervous at first. How would we ever land a manifesto that would satisfy us all?
But the decision gave several great discussions about who we are and who we want to be. The feedback made us carry out even further changes and the result was a sharper and more precise document.
To be honest, the document itself is not really important, but the work on it contributes to a fundamental culture to build on into the future. It gives us a common ground when the wind of transformation blows and the manifesto is very useful as a starting point in conversation with others in the company.
The big difference, from when we wrote it the first time to our current version, is the fact that we have become a larger and more diverse group of people who understand that we are good at different things. And if SVT is to succeed, we are obligated to move into the future together.