Exponential IT (XOIT) – Sharing XOIT apps and all hands practice of governance meetings

This week was filled with XOIT events: we shared part of the XOIT applications (APPs) with the team, we held a team building event where we practiced governance meetings, and we started to practice Tactical meetings in our daily IT Leadership meetings.

Sharing XOIT APPs with the team:

First off, our bi-weekly all-hands meeting was dedicated to XOIT APPs. During this meeting we shared the following apps with the team:

  • Hiring
  • Separations
  • Performance evaluations
  • Performance issues and Performance Improvement Plans
  • Recognizing extraordinary contributions, and
  • Promotions

We shared the proposed process and who will be responsible for what within the process. We also began discussing our proposal for compensation, but due to time constraints we were unable to finish, so we will start our next meeting with that APP.

Several important observations from this meeting:

  1. It seems we are done with anonymous feedback; although all the anonymous channels were open during the meeting, all the questions were openly presented by the associates.
  2. Associate engagement (comments, questions and attention) was the highest so far, which was expected since we were talking about day to day activities that directly influence associates.
  3. If feels that the group now understands the change of self-management and the role of the leader in the group.
  4. We didn’t receive any recommendations for changes to the suggested APPs

Team building and XOIT:

Our team event was the result of the efforts of volunteers that worked together on a plan. They did everything by themselves, including designing T-shirt for this event and I was very impressed when I saw the shirt. Below is the logo from the front of the shirt, indicating that the XOIT concept is starting to get more and more buy in:


The Event Group allocated just 3.5 hours for the leadership team to discuss more about XOIT, and our excellent Organizational Development group (which is involved in the process from the beginning) jumped in with an idea to fill those 3.5 hours. OD suggested that all leaders (except me) would discuss different elements of XOIT, and we as a group would then demonstrate how an XOIT Governance meeting would look.  Finally, we would then split our groups into smaller groups that will practice governance meeting and processing tensions while building Lego kits.

The presentation of XOIT by all the IT leadership went very well, but unfortunately the live demonstration of governance meeting didn’t went well at all.  However, the Lego practice was a huge success.  During this part, we split everyone up into small groups of 6-7 people, then we assigned a lead to each group and created 6 different roles (including their domains and accountabilities) for each group (don’t worry, each group had documentation to help them to understand – and follow – the governance meeting).

After splitting into teams, each team’s Lead assigned people to roles and then they proceeded to conduct their first governance meeting in which they elected their Representative. Now, having all the basics in place each team began working on the construction of the model. Each Role in the Group tried to do the best that he or she could in order to perform their Accountabilities. When the Roles felt that there were tensions between them, they were supposed to have a governance meeting and process the tensions.

Three of our leadership team members played the part of XOIT coach and walked around the tables helping teams. As one of the coaches I can testify that the majority of the team managed to practice the governance meeting and to understand the self-managed teams and the power of a clearly defined Role.

We received a lot of positive feedback for this exercise – not that it created a clear understanding of XOIT, but rather that it helped to give better understanding of it. Even those who are most critical of XOIT were more positive after this exercise.

Practicing Tactical meetings in our daily IT Leadership meetings:

To become more proficient in XOIT meetings we decided to practice having Operational meetings every day and Governance meetings every week as part of our regular IT Leadership meetings. Prior to XOIT we were meeting daily for 30 min to share knowledge, get help from others, and discuss IT in general as well as improvement opportunities. Therefore, it was easy for us to change the way that we are running these meetings to align with XOIT.

Unfortunately, due to the team event we didn’t have time to exercise a governance meeting. Our Operational meetings are working for some members, but are very hard for others. Below are the main lessons learned so far:

  1. It’s hard for people to take a discussion that involved just two participants out of the meeting. The feel that the meeting is the only time they have to discuss, but they are not taking into account that there are 6 other people who are listening. My take-away is as the moderator of those meetings I have to stop those discussions when appropriate.
  2. It’s hard for people to distinguish between updates of projects and their needs, whether requests or issues, with other roles. Again, the moderator needs to stop these discussions and ask people to keep their requests for the triage phase.
  3. We found that it is easier to capture all updates as they are popping up, so we decided to use the Notes feature in GlassFrog to keep all the updates per Role for the meetings.
  4. The meetings are shorter and focused on what we need to achieve, rather than anyone’s personal agenda.
  5. It’s not an easy and simple change. We need more practice, but everyone agrees that once we know the Roles it will come more naturally.


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