On Monday April 13, AHT Group’s team members in Sydney had the exciting opportunity to get together and discuss our processes, projects, and plans for expansion. Having recently welcomed quite a few new team members, AHT is shifting to a team project model. This shift requires a comprehensive master plan, refined project team frameworks and new profit share structures. Inviting each other’s input was constructive, with the flow of ideas adding value to AHT’s planning.
Team skills and diversity
The meeting room at Hub Sydney was packed with sixteen of our talented team members, including Chairman Ross Dawson and workers from a wide variety of disciplines. It was eye-opening to meet team members who have started their own cutting-edge businesses, built apps or worked in 3D printing. A common theme across AHT’s team is project management, but the sheer diversity of skills is impressive. Our team includes consultants, journalists, marketers, account managers, software designers, administrators and engineers. Many of us have experience in multiple domains; others are highly specialized or trialling new career pathways.
Team member visibility
Although we could have easily swapped stories for hours, we each managed to condense our work experience and roles at AHT into a minute’s talk, plus further networking during the break. One ensuing suggestion was to increase the visibility of team members’ skill sets and expertise through diagrams or searchable online channels. Combined with internal member profiles, this could help to quickly identify the best team member for a particular task or query. In future, we also intend to hold meetings in smaller sub-teams to maximise focus and efficiency.
Our team principles
Nonetheless, large group meetings remain vital to touch base about common developments and reduce the mystery that sometimes surrounds our highly distributed workforce! Ross Dawson reinforced AHT’s team principles, including distributed part-time work, flexibility and profit share. Team members must have a “high tolerance for ambiguity” and a love of innovation and experimentation, Ross said. He reinforced AHT’s structure of a core team (the meeting attendees plus half a dozen workers overseas), an extended team (worldwide contractors usually working on one main project) and the crowd (people attracted to AHT’s content creation and social media activity). As AHT expands, we will need increasingly effective ways to filter applicants, possibly including online tests. AHT is currently a cash-constrained start up, which means that our workers must be as efficient as possible.
A key aim of AHT, Ross revealed, is to achieve “unlimited scalability”. This involves reaching the tier of fully scalable revenue, where AHT’s companies can function independently from profitable activities. The basic process is to generate scalable revenue, attract more talent, and consequently generate more scalable revenue. AHT’s present focus is on B2B projects, but there is also potential for some AHT projects to tap into the market of individual consumers. Furthermore, AHT intends to use crowdfunding to fund initiatives about the Future of Crowdfunding, irony intended.
A major focus of the meeting was process development. Ross reinforced how the continual refinement of AHT’s processes can assist newcomers, promote effective communication and secure the success of project implementation. Office Administrator Julianne Kennard advised us on how to stay on track with internal finance and admin processes. There was ample opportunity for feedback and new ideas about process development, particularly from those with backgrounds in visualization technology, remote teams or project management.
Podio and Slack
Central to our internal processes are the electronic platforms of Podio and Slack. Podio is a projects-based channel, while Slack is more of a communicative channel. AHT has joined Slack very recently and we are still figuring out how to make the most of this platform to avoid being slack! Ross emphasized that Slack should increase feelings of participation and visibility among the AHT team, not to mention reduce our volume of emails.
Profit share structures
The second last point on the agenda was discussing profit share structures. Once AHT has paid back the cost of launching a project, a profit share system will be introduced for that project. The commitment for most projects is to share 40% of project profits: most likely 30% for project workers, and 10% for the broader AHT team. Team members were asked their opinions on devising a fair profit share system. Our impassioned debates revolved around inspiration versus perspiration, sliding scales for complexity and responsibility levels, peer rating schemes, and the merits of a points system versus a fixed percentage.
What’s coming up
Ross closed the meeting with a tantalising taste of upcoming events and highly anticipated project launches. There were too many to name, a sure sign that AHT Group will be abuzz with activity in the months to come. All in all, the meeting was definitely a success and we look forward to reporting on our progress and bonding with one other at future team meetings.