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The Self-Organising Organisation - Total Squadification at Trade Me

David Mole (Trade Me) & Sandy Mamoli (Nomad8)

Inspired by Spotify's squads and Atlassian's Fedex day we let 90 people choose what they wanted to work on and who they wanted to work with. Through telling the story of Trade Me, New Zealand's biggest ecommerce platform, we will demonstrate how good leadership can inspire and empower people using a scalable self-selection process along with a vision for an exciting picture of the future.

Flying in the face of conventional wisdom and traditional management practices a middle manager and an Agile coach didn't ask for permission, and removed significant obstacles and constraints to successfully form 18 self-chosen, fully skilled squads. In this session we will show how we facilitated self-organisation on a scale we don't believe has been done before, what we had to go through to convince people that this was a good idea, how we learned how to visualise the process and dealt with brilliant people as well as a few difficult ones!

We will describe how we had the exciting opportunity to observe and partake in a social experiment where people made decisions on the fly and stayed true to our values of being trusted, straight up and to grow great people.

All Agile teams self-organise but we took the principles to a whole other level and created the self-organising organisation. 

This talk got accepted into Agile 2014 in Orlando, Florida. Here's your chance to see it in NZ.

Speaker Bios 

Sandy Mamoli | Director of All Things Agile, Nomad8

Living proof that love will make you do crazy things, Sandy Mamoli moved to NZ in 2007 to follow her heart and has been trapped in the wilds of Wellington ever since. From working with Sony Ericsson’s global enterprise website in Amsterdam and Copenhagen to being one of NZ’s leading Agile coaches, Sandy brings her practical European flair and passionate advocacy of all things Agile to NZ businesses. She’'s a former Olympian, a geek, a gadget junkie and emerging triathlete. Sandy is one of the owners and co-founders of Nomad8 ( She knows quite a lot about Agile.

David Mole| Head of Projects, Trade Me

Two and a half years into my very own New Zealand Project and so far I’m on time and on budget (I think)!  After several years in the Betting and Gaming industry in the UK and Gibraltar, I moved to the other side of the world for no other reason than adventure and experience.  I often lose at football, win at Poker and injure myself running.  I’m also very lucky to work with some very cool people  at Trade Me.

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  • Samantha S.

    Great story! You talked about the good stuff and the opportunities to do stuff better. Success and lessons learned are so important - it's how we get better.

    1 · May 14, 2014

  • Aya K.

    Very interesting talk - well presented. There was a good level of detail to understand the process you went through, made it feel real. Well done!

    1 · May 14, 2014

  • Patricia L.

    Thanks so much for sharing your venture and the lessons you learned.
    I like the venue - big, comfortable, central, easy to hear.

    1 · May 14, 2014

  • Chanelle B.

    So annoyed I couldnt make it!!!! "work commitments".
    Both of you are doing such awesome things at Trade Me! its so cool when you share it! Now I just need to set something up here at Housing NZ..........were just 101 learner drivers at the moment.

    1 · May 14, 2014

  • Joanne M.

    Great presentation - thanks for sharing your experience & lessons learned

    1 · May 14, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great concept would love so this in action at my workplace.

    3 · May 13, 2014

  • Holger S.

    Interesting insight into "how it went"!

    3 · May 13, 2014

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