Flat organization culture is something that I have only experienced here at HE:labs. It is already an environment that I love. So I decided to share a few points of my experience about it.
Since I've started in HE:labs, I always get surprised by the alternative work culture we have here and the benefits it comes along with it. Teams that work on a particular project don’t have a manager to help them make decisions or manage the share of tasks. But it still works and it is much more engaging work this way than on a hierarchical organization.
This is a very important point. When working with hierarchies, the information and the feedback have to pass to a communicator (manager or atendend) before it arrives to the professionals that execute the project. It means that the real meaning of this information can be lost because of the personal interpretation filter between one person to another. The result is rework.
So one benefit of our structure of work is that we don't have this middleman, so we are free to have a direct meeting with the clients and cut a lot of bureaucracy and information gaps.
When you don't have a middleman between you and your client, you can have a better feel on the idea of the product, knowing your client and his or hers expectations about it. So, you can't help but feel like the product is also yours. You become more easily engaged to the project.
All the team will be on the meeting, so everyone knows all the information that the team needs to know. Nothing is missed. That is important to encourage everyone on the team to interact with the client and their decisions. If something becomes a gap on the planning meeting, everyone gets harmed. It develops a good sense of responsibility on team members.
When you work on a team, everyone is responsible for everything on the project. There is no manager. As long as the project is implemented, everyone is in charge to test and improve it if there is any need. It ends up bringing people closer and helps developing a confidence relationship between team members.
You don't have someone asking you to do something, you have to make decisions about improving the project on your own. Suddenly it really becomes about helping your client’s business. You can be more creative, more engaged, more enthusiastic, more a lot of things. You will be the one that will develop the project, discuss this with the client, keep them in close contact, solve some doubts, explain some limitations, write the e-mails, you are in charge of a lot of things. You can't avoid to learn how to do everything, how to be adaptable to a lot of situations. It is also a great experience!
I honestly think that this kind of work culture is a very good way of work. And maybe it can't be applied to every environment, but I'm still happy to know that we can do it here.