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How IoT Heroes at Azena Drive Self Reflection and Growth - Part 2: Impact Circles

Being a true IoT hero at Azena is more than just mastering your niche. We encourage you to constantly evolve and grow beyond yourself. The “Impact Circles” framework helps guide your journey.

Impact Circle

In part one of our article series, you got an idea of how we use “Feedback Circles” at Azena to drive agile team reflection and build a culture of constructive and appreciative feedback. Unlike traditional review processes, involving employees and managers, the feedback here is given at eye level rather than top-down. 

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. - Agile Manifesto

Careers pageBeyond "Feedback Circles", we use another agile concept at Azena to promote and support individual growth. "Impact Circles" is a multi-level maturity framework that drives a reflection process in the domain of different levels of personal impact, starting with oneself, through team and unit, to the company level and beyond. Furthermore it is supported by Impact Circles checklists that contains a comprehensive set of criteria for individual development.

Impact Circles represent the layers of individual development

Impact circles

Personal mastery entails "clarifying personal vision," and "holding creative tension," simultaneously focusing on the vision and current reality and allowing the tension between the two to generate energy toward achieving the vision. - Excerpt from “The Fifth Discipline” by Peter M. Senge

The “Impact Circles” framework helps you to understand your current impact, to set individual goals, and determine the direction you want to develop. It also helps you measure individual progress on the way. However, the use of Impact Circles is absolutely voluntary at Azena. It is a helpful tool to plan and track individual growth, not a management tool to force and control employees. On the contrary, we want our employees to manage their own development and take full responsibility for it.

Impact Circles Framework is not about setting strict targets of what you need to achieve, but showing you where your individual journey could go. - Michal Pawel Kowalik, Software Architect at Azena

IoT heroes like Michal use Impact Circles to set goals to grow their individual mastery. The Impact Circle Framework proposes "benchmarks" related to different levels of personal impact: personal mastery, team, unit, company-level and beyond, the world. With each level from 1 - 6 your impact expands. From focusing on your personal mastery as an intern or junior developer to fully unleashed impact on the whole company and beyond as a team leader or VP.

As an experienced software architect, Michal currently rates himself at Level 3 - a senior team member. The Impact Circle Framework indicates what he has already achieved and should further consolidate and what he should work on in order to reach the next level - an expert team member.

Example: Personal guidelines to reach the next level

 

Level 3 - Achieved, to strengthen 

Level 4 - Areas of growth

Personal Mastery

  • Growing your own mastery both deep and broad (technical, entrepreneurial skills, communication, emotional intelligence, leadership, mentoring).
  • Recognized technical expert, 
  • focuses on growing a broad horizontal skillset, especially leadership skills.

Team

  • Hands-on individual contributor/agile team member,
  • takes ownership and drives big team-level topics, 
  • mentors other team members,
  • recognized expert in some domains.
  • Influences the team on all levels (people, products, mastery)

Unit

  • Member of some Guilds, 
  • regularly presents stories in Sprint Reviews, 
  • takes ownership and drives medium-big unit-level topics.
  • Leader of a Guild / Domain, 
  • takes ownership and drives big unit-level topics, 
  • recognized expert in some domains,
  • influences unit’s roadmap, 
  • mentors other team members.

Company

  • Member of at least one Chapter,
  • sometimes hosts company-wide workshops/brainstormings, 
  • takes ownership and drives small company-level topics.
  • Takes ownership and drives medium-size company-level topics.

World (beyond the company)

  • Technical & non-technical contributions (product ideas), 
  • in direct contact with the customers.
  • Technical & non-technical contributions (product ideas, external mentoring, speaker at events).

Michal decides for himself on which areas to focus and when and how to achieve his goals. Just as he measures his own progress. In this respect, Impact Circles can be considered an 100% agile tool, as it relies on your own initiative rather than coercion and control.

Since there is no defined process behind Impact Circles, you have to drive your own personal development, set your own goals, measure your own progress, and use the feedback you receive from others on your team, e.g. in our Feedback Circle sessions. There is no manager to set rigid targets to push you as is common practice in other companies. Your peers support you on this journey through providing feedback every day, during retrospectives, and during dedicated focused Feedback Circles events covered in our previous blog post.

At Azena we believe in empowering and enabling everyone to become a better version of themselves and are convinced that your own motivation is your strongest superpower for self-determined growth.

Did you enjoy this article and want to be a part of this agile working team? Check out our careers page.

Careers page

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