Chris Dabnor



How We’re Implementing Guilds

At Codeweavers, we don’t want knowledge silos.

To stop expertise becoming limited to a few people, we’ve decided to implement a guild system. Guilds will be flexible groups that give everyone a better idea of who does what, and why.

What is a guild?

For us, guilds are semi-formal ‘societies’ made up of employees from across the company that discuss a common business interest on a regular basis. Not everyone in each guild needs to have a relevant job role to participate.

For example, the Quality guild obviously includes people from the Quality Assurance department, but could also include interested developers or product owners; the User Experience guild includes designers, but could have people from support, QAs…

It’s all about common interests, not job roles and descriptions. The doors are open to anyone with an interest!

Why do we want guilds?

The purpose of each guild varies but the overarching purpose of them all is the same. We want to use our guilds to share knowledge and promote transparency in each area of interest. They allow people to see what’s going on within the company outside of their usual spheres and, in doing so, hidden talents may be exposed and utilised.

We’ve adopted a simple set of guidelines for the creation of guilds:

  • A guild should make the company aware of themselves, their goals, and how they are working to achieve their goals
  • A guild should develop a flexible core mission
  • A guild should always be looking to drive forward their particular interest area in all areas of the business
  • A guild should be enthusiastic about its purpose and be able to spread this enthusiasm throughout the company

How do we form guilds?

A guild can be formed by anyone and for any business-related purpose.
The first step is to decide the guild’s name and purpose. The purpose should be able to be presented in a clear and concise mission statement. For example, a User Experience guild might have the mission statement:

To make all Codeweavers apps as user-friendly as possible.

Guilds should be organic, so mission statements should not be rigid or unchangeable. They might change, become more or less specific in their purpose, or even merge or split.
Once the basics of the guild have been established, it’s up to the chair of the guild to ‘sell’ it to potential members. Once it has members, they share this responsibility of recruitment as well.

Time for the first meeting! During this meeting, the mission statement is discussed and a more detailed description fleshed out. This should then be broadcast to the rest of the company and updated in the guild directory.

What happens next?

Each guild will work in a way that suits them. Regular meetings are a must, and if the meetings grow to an unmanageable size, it might be worth considering splitting the guild into smaller, more-focused guilds.

Meetings should last no longer than an hour, with guild chairs keeping the focus and making sure the floor doesn’t get taken by solely forceful personalities. At the end of each meeting, the chair will also write up a summary to be communicated to the rest of the company.

During regular work, guild members should be ensuring that the tenets of their guild come across within their team. Everyone in the business should be able to learn what’s been going on during meetings, and doing so might actually spur them to join in too!

In summary

Guilds are semi-formal ‘societies’ of employees from across the company that form to regularly discuss a common business interest and communicate those ideas to the rest of the company. They are entirely flexible and can be formed by anyone.

If you would like more information, feel free to email me:

Chris Dabnor

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