Case: Mangrove

According to the vision of the company the only valid authority is the added value one provides within one’s professional field in a certain situation. Things are done not because the boss says so but on the basis of what is best to do from the given content. Content is above structure in that organization. In practice, this ensures that one time the designer has the lead and another time the developer or the project leader does.


Typical mistake

What went wrong initially while setting up the growing organization was that the best developer also became head of the development department. The longest-seated designer became the lead designer. The best performing people were put in charge which created an organizational structure that turned out to be counterproductive. Just a classic pitfall when setting up the middle management layer. Subject-specific knowledge was of course no guarantee for good leadership and management skills and competency development.

A development methodology that fits in seamlessly with Mangrove’s vision of content-oriented organization is “Scrum”. It was decided to implement this framework. Scrum stands for a flexible way to create (software) products. Multidisciplinary teams deliver working (software) products in short sprints, with a fixed length of 1 to 4 weeks. Scrum is a good development method in situations when the customer does not yet know what exact solution or end product, he wants but does know what he wants better. In the process, people work together to describe the requirements and wishes better and to convert them into usable products. Ultimately, Mangrove has gone so far as to implement Scrum not only in the development methodology but also in the commercial process. From a financial perspective Mangrove does not sell websites but sprints.

Acquaintance with TMA Talent Management

A second important choice was to make the Scrum methodology and all the added value of professionals in their field stand out better: The introduction of Talent Management. From the insight that “everyone has talent but not for every role”, people are no longer viewed as professionals in a certain field, but also the underlying motives of the people are taken into consideration. All employees took an online talent assessment to detect those. This gave a detailed understanding of what sort of behavior is shown: the acquired behavior that costs a person a lot of energy and can therefore – unintentionally – lead to a burnout or behavior someone is intrinsically motivated fur and therefore derives energy from it, regardless of how hard he works. With the implementation of the motivation measurement in the performance and assessment cycle, all the traps and pitfalls can be discussed and even managed. Expectations became clear, people know where they should do, managers can control what they have to manage.

An introduction to talent management turned out to have even more far-reaching consequences than expected. The management team found out that the role of the leader needed new interpretation to be able to bring the office to a higher level. One of the directors, for example, appeared to have much more affinity with the role of a coach. He decided to withdraw from the day-to-day management, giving an opportunity to find a new Managing Director.

Proven methodology

The scrum teams were organized based on the professional knowledge and the underlying motives and talents of the people. The big change took place because managers are no longer just subject-matter specialists. All managers and executives at Mangrove have become leaders who fully concentrate on their 3 roles: that of a leader, a manager and a coach.

The steps Mangrove has taken to implement reorganization:

  • A workshop for the executives and managers on leadership and management
  • A workshop where competency profiles have been drawn up for all the roles
  • Kickoff talent management with the entire workforce
  • Talent assessment with individual feedback for all the employees
  • Assigning employees to the roles that match their talents and motives
  • Introduction of 360-degree feedback in the performance and assessment cycle.
  • Personal development action plans prepared by the employees themselves on a yearly basis.

As a result, with the help of talent assessment and 360-degree feedback, the new managing director already had an impression of the qualities of his employees.

About Mangrove

Mangrove is a full-service internet agency with 50 employees serving international organizations and maintaining sites, apps and disruptive interactive applications


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