Crisp DNA

The inner workings of a rather different consulting company

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Building competence

As shown in Why this works, competence is crucial! If we don’t keep building competence, our model will probably stop working in the long run.

Fortunately, Crisp is built around individuals who love learning anyway, so it’s really just a matter of making sure nothing gets in the way! So we don’t have training budgets and approval processes and things like that, we just trust people to manage their own money and take responsibility for their own competence development.

The first years Crisp wasn’t even a company. We were just a handful of independent consultants that met every couple of weeks or so to trade knowledge. We tried to limit each client engagement to 90% of full time, so that we could reserve one afternoon every week to do presentations for each other and geek out on new technology. We called it Rocket Day (RD) for some reason. Anyway after a while we realized it would be practical to have a venue to meet in, so we rented a room in an office. And over the years we gradually morphed into what we are today - something between a network and a company.

Here are some things we do to keep learning:

  • Our bi-yearly unconference
  • Hack Summit - two days off site, relaxing and geeking out together
  • Crisp Friday - one friday every month, we try to get time off from client work to spend time and work on stuff together. It might be writing a blog post, preparing for the next conference, Hack Summit or a new course. We often take time to share ideas, experiences and challenges which help us in our client work.
  • Invite our favorite gurus and rock stars to come to Stockholm and teach courses or co-train with us
  • Peer-coaching workshops, where the agile coaches meet to help each other solve problems
  • Active mailing list and chat (on Slack)
  • Write blog articles and books (sometimes in pairs or larger groups).
  • Create and teach Crisp courses (gives the teacher a very strong motivation to learn the topic!)
  • Attend Crisp courses
  • Pair-coach and pair-teach - lets us steal tricks from each other
  • Share all course material with each other (mostly via Dropbox and Google Drive)

Some of these forums are very active and some less so, it varies over time. But it sure adds up to a lot of opportunity to learn!

At the end of the day, though, it’s up to each consultant to reserve the time needed to learn new stuff, and not always be 100% booked up with client work.