Archipelag B2B Cases

How can a team evaluate its strengths and
predict the outcome of the project before the start
A vertically integrated oil company is one of the most complex organizational structures in the world. To make it more flexible and adaptive to rapidly changing market conditions, cross-functional project teams are formed. Their task is to introduce innovations and drive progress.

Team members often see each other for the first time and, in addition to project work, are involved in the current tasks of their departments. In this situation, success depends on how quickly strangers can begin to work as a cohesive team.

In order to develop cross-functional teams, the client launched the Team Triathlon project, in which working groups and their leaders had to achieve a large management goal of their choice in 8 weeks. Leaders and their teams received a variety of expert support, including from Archipelag Team
We conducted a team study so that team members could not only better assess their resources, but also synchronize their vision of the situation, and therefore feel among like-minded people:
How does each participant’s own vision of the project differ from the vision of the team and management?
Is there a common information field for employees?
Are there potential sources of conflict?
How to be guaranteed to achieve common goal together?
new quality
between employees:
hear and see everyone
It was important for us that the participants before the start...
looked realistic
on the resources they will need, and understand what they have enough and what they lack. We wanted not just to get individual opinions, but to put them together into a single picture future project.
To work with two teams, we used “grasp” —the GR▲SP framework on the Archipelag platform. Their use allows you to automate the assessment of the team's potential and  helps  make optimal management decisions.
Фреймворк, разработанный в Бюро Хайлайт для принятия управленческих решений, который успешно используется в ведущих российских компаниях. Особый метод сбора, анализа и визуализации данных позволяет трансформировать оценку сотрудниками процессов компании в удобный инструмент.
Модульная IT-платформа для разработки, администрирования, проведения и анализа данных онлайн-тестов, опросов и исследований.
Ideas generation
Each member of both teams received a link to an electronic questionnaire on the DĚUS platform, in which it was necessary to list everything that the team would need to achieve the goal: tools, conditions, resources, human factor, dividing the resources into:
  • critical (without which the goal cannot be achieved) and
  • additional (which will help in achieving the goal)
Understanding and critically evaluating ideas
All participants received access to a common bank of proposed ideas and sorted and evaluated them. The result was a large array of independent expert assessments of the team’s resources, on the basis of which we built a dashboard.
Building a team resource map
The central part of the dashboard was the team’s conceptual network. Analysis of the content and structure of the network allowed us to get a top-down view of the entire spectrum of the team’s capabilities. And the analysis of its individual parameters provided reference points for team discussions and decision-making.
Facilitation session
  • How many total means to achieve the goal are allocated? What blocks were they distributed into?
  • Hierarchy of means: what was central to achieving the goal, and what affected only its specific aspects?
  • Assessing the availability of funds: what resources were available at the time of the session, and what was missing?
  • How consistent are team members in their assessments? What is the reason for the inconsistency: is it noise or are there really possible variations?
  • What were your blind spots?
  • How are the blocks connected to each other, how can resources compensate each other?
Две карты показали командам каких ресурсов хватает, а каких нет.
Выделились также и области противоречия: кто-то считал,
что ресурса достаточно, а кто-то, что его нет.
Two maps showed the teams which resources were sufficient and which were not.
Areas of contradiction also emerged: some believed
that there is enough resource, but someone
that he is not there.

For more convenient visual analysis, a cluster analysis of the network was carried out. The dashboard algorithm, based on the groupings made by team members, divided all resources into clusters and colored the vertices that were closest in meaning with the same color.

True, several times the participants did not agree with these automatic groupings and adjusted them a little, and at the same time gave each cluster a clear name.

Clusters related to the “Theories” zone (knowledge, analytics, supply chain understanding) are marked in green. Team members indicated that these resources were available to them: either they already had them, or the team had an idea of where and how they could be obtained. The “Consultants” cluster stands out here. There were ideas of attracting external consultants, but it was unclear where, who to hire, and, judging by the network, what to do with them. However, the “Consultants” cluster is located on the periphery: no matter what decision is made, it will not significantly change the course of the project.

From knowledge through understanding the entire supply chain, you can get into the group of clusters from the “Testing the Methodology by Practice” zone. Thinking through how the methodology will translate into practice is most likely the team’s zone of proximal development. At the center of this zone, and indeed the entire network, is an understanding of business tasks and challenges. The team believes that in general there is such an understanding.

Nodal cluster 4 “Unified understanding of the goal” ensures the connection of all command clusters and all clusters reflecting the content of the goal. If he becomes unavailable, this connection will disintegrate. Currently, the availability of the cluster is assessed as average, this is a sufficient result, but in order to maintain it, you should not neglect regular reconciliation of the team vision.

Most of the red on the map is in the area associated with the team itself. The team has a concern that there may not be enough time, organization and passion to prepare a “real” methodology that is truly useful for the practice of GPN. The difference between yellow and red on the map may also reflect the team's expectations. Yellow clusters are those things that the team does not yet have, but the attitude towards them is most likely calmer: as tasks or work moments. Red clusters can reflect precisely zones of skepticism and emotional tension.

The color indicates the average accessibility of the cluster, and the size indicates its centrality to all activities.

The more central the cluster, the more profound and systematic its impact on other clusters.

Solving problems (providing resources) within such clusters will have a systemic effect and influence all other aspects of the project.

Next, we rescaled the map and visualized each cluster as a vertex in the graph. The size of the circle indicated the degree of centrality of a particular cluster.

We held a general discussion in order to name all segments in terms accepted by the team, identify the reasons for disagreements, and capture a common vision. The resulting resource map perfectly correlated with the team’s activities and structured them. Based on the results of the map analysis, “problem areas” were identified and recommendations for working with them were formulated.

Each team received a lot of insights for themselves, we will not dwell on them in detail due to confidentiality reasons, we will focus only on one general aspect.
Both teams highlighted the following as important resources:

  • presence of motivation among team members
  • the presence of a clear distribution of roles, convenient procedures, work practices,
  • having a strong leader
  • suitable administrative infrastructure
The teams were faced with substantively different tasks; their maps largely consisted of highly specific resources necessary to achieve specific goals. At the same time, several themes turned out to be common; these themes somehow revolved around team interaction.

The resource maps clearly showed that the teams were at different stages in terms of organizing their own activities. The second team did not yet have sufficient internal resources, there was clearly a lack of administrative resources, and there was a lack of face-to-face communication, perhaps precisely due to the lack of well-built relationships between team members. When issues of internal organization remain unresolved, they take up a lot of team resources that could be spent on solving specific project problems.
The first team became the winner of the triathlon, and the second was unable to achieve the KPI within the set time frame. At the same time, the resource shortages that led to such an unsatisfactory result were clearly visible on the map even at the first stage.
What was the benefit for you personally?
“I was pleasantly pleased with the openness and activity of the leader and team members”

“It was important for me to involve all team members in finding and using resources”

“We were able to correctly assess the capabilities of our colleagues on this topic and see new resources”

“I saw myself in dialogue with many like-minded people”
Feedback from the project manager
How to find those
who is capable of a feat
How to find those
who is capable of a feat
Given: the bank’s IT team faced difficulties in recruiting new specialists in the field of electronic trading on the stock exchange. Many of them, when hired, demonstrated poor performance and/or quickly left.
Over two years, the manager and HR carried out more than...
interviews, but suitable employees never showed up.
Over two years, more than 700 interviews were conducted by the manager and HR, but no suitable employees appeared.
Why we are "not suitable for the position"?
We haven't realized it yet...
...but we'll understand soon!
Что значит
"Не подходим"?
...но скоро поймем!
Мы сами еще
не поняли...
...contacted us with a request to develop a psychodiagnostic technique for selecting ideal candidates. The use of the test was supposed to allow the department to scale up and improve the survival rate of newcomers.

But before you look for the ideal candidate, you need to draw up his profile.

The situation was complicated by the fact that traders are “piecemeal specialists”, so it is impossible to rely on ready-made competency models.

But before you look for the ideal candidate, you need to draw up his profile.

The situation was complicated by the fact that traders are “piecemeal specialists”, so it is impossible to rely on ready-made competency models.
Before developing the methodology, we decided to identify target qualities, i.e. build a map of trader competencies. Moreover, do this “from the bottom up”, starting not from ready-made models, but from the experience of existing employees. After all, in the end, it is the candidate’s compliance with the expectations of his colleagues that determines whether he will fit into the team.
Before developing the methodology, we decided to identify target qualities, i.e. build a map of trader competencies. Moreover, do this “from the bottom up”, starting not from ready-made models, but from the experience of existing employees. After all, in the end, it is the candidate’s compliance with the expectations of his colleagues that determines whether he will fit into the team.
The first series of interviews showed that in a horizontal team, all experts have different criteria. This not only makes selection difficult, but also puts newcomers in a situation of implicit conflict of requirements.

The task began to sound like this:
“how to consolidate the requirements for candidates and highlight the qualities that are truly associated with success”?

We conducted a study using the GRASP method
to solve the following problems:
Involve all team members in self-exploration
Help each team member openly formulate “success factors” based on the strengths and weaknesses of their colleagues
Synchronize individual images of a top performer
Obtain a group-wide image of a “dream colleague” shared by all team members
Build a team competency map
See semantic connections and conflicts between the team’s internal requirements for newcomers. Compare the views of experienced and newbies, seniors and juniors.
The procedure consisted of several stages
  • Generation of individual constructs
    Using J. Kelly's repertory grid technique, each team member, independently of the others, formulated professionally important qualities that can be used to distinguish between real and ideal team members.
We conducted individual interviews with each team member, asking them to compare existing and fired colleagues.

It was necessary to find two similar colleagues, formulate how they are similar, and then evaluate the entire team on this quality.

As a result of the interview, each expert generated from 6 to 14 personal constructs - criteria by which he was accustomed to assessing the effectiveness of his colleagues.

  • Structuring constructs
    Each team member received a general list of constructs formulated by all study participants and had to divide them into several groups according to their meaning.

In the second stage, we sent all team members a link to an online questionnaire on the platform Archipelag. It contained cards with all the personal constructs that the participants formulated in the interviews.

Each team member had to not only get to know them, but unite them into groups that were close in meaning - prototypes of future competencies.

This format made it possible to bring together individual points of view and bring them under a common denominator.
  • Aggregation of individual scores
    The data was uploaded to a dashboard, with all individual scores superimposed on each other.
    A graph was constructed in which individual constructs were represented as vertices, and the degree of closeness of two constructs was represented as connections (how many people, when sorting, indicated that two constructs belong to the same group).
The entire team simultaneously worked with the dashboard in a group facilitation session.

By comparing individual sortings with each other, the dashboard algorithm formed clusters of the most frequently occurring constructs - competencies. The team’s task was to come up with a meaningful and understandable name for each competency.

The dashboard visualized the connections between competencies and calculated the correlation of each of them with an external indicator of professional success. This made it possible to identify central and secondary competencies from the entire pool of competencies.

The diagram is interactive and clickable
Team collaboration
This included more than 30% of all named qualities.
Abilities and skills
The second and third places in size are shared by the group of qualities - “Abilities and skills” (there are many 4 clusters) and “Seeing the main thing” (there are only 2 clusters, but they include many constructs).
Leadership and Contribution
The two most central clusters, those that have the most connections with other clusters, are the “Initiative and Influence” and “Communication with the Team on Tasks” clusters. These clusters reflect leadership and impact within the team. In this case, the second largest group of clusters, including abilities and skills, appears in the semantic map far from the center of the network and is connected to the center only through intermediate categories.
A total of 24 competencies were identified,
combined into 7 large blocks
in a team

  • Communicates with the team on tasks
  • Open to feedback
  • Mentor
  • Initiative in knowledge sharing
  • Follower team player
  • Easy-going
  • Leads and supports newcomers
See the main things

  • Able to quickly highlight the main thing
  • Can formulate an MVP
  • Understands his task in a business context

  • Expands professional erudition
  • Wide horizon of vision
  • Tolerance of uncertainty

  • Picks up quickly
  • Has technical skills
  • Code quality (no defects)
  • Broad specialization

  • Spares no time for work
  • Persistent
  • Reliable

  • Initiative
  • Influential in the team

  • Available and involved 24/7
  • Is not indifferent to the business and colleagues

The personal constructs proposed by the participants at the first stage were included in each competency as specific behavioral indicators
Example of competency indicators "Communicates with the team on tasks"
For each competency, we analyzed the relationship with external criteria (experience, position, efficiency) and presented this information in an analytical report
Open to feedback from colleagues
Competence is formed around two semantic cores: the extent to which a team member is ready to express his own opinion and how easily he tolerates feedback from colleagues.
Highly correlated with performance and tenure. It differentiates between dismissed and working employees, while among working employees there is a wide variation in this indicator, and among dismissed employees there are consistently low scores.
The report also contained recommendations
HR practices that allow you to increase the expression of a particular competency in a team
that we, together with the team, formulated for the selection process:

1/ at the entrance, weed out introverted candidates: a combination of low extraversion and independence (possibly using a personality test)
2/ add the following points to the competency interview:
  • openness to feedback
  • having your own opinion and the ability to express it freely
3/ ensure that team feedback is given in an environmentally friendly manner
As a result of this work, in addition to the list of criteria, we received:
  • List of key competencies
  • Behavioral indicators
  • Behavioral indicatorsList of assessment tools
  • Recommendations for optimizing HR processes
The team members themselves formulated uniform requirements for candidate competencies, and we checked their statistical relationship with external criteria and developed recommendations for the use of HR tools in 4 areas:
alignment of the team culture with the candidate’s values
compatibility of the candidate’s personal qualities with the challenges of the job
required abilities
necessary knowledge and skills
Various methods are traditionally used to diagnose each of these groups.
To assess skill-fit, technical interviews, competency interviews, portfolios, and tests of professional knowledge and achievements are relevant.

To assess ability-fit - ability (intelligence) tests.

To assess personality-fit, personality tests are used that measure the expression of both basic qualities and more complex ones.

Culture-fit diagnostics, unlike others, are not as susceptible to social desirability. The key task here is to inform the candidate about the features of corporate culture, give him a tool with which he can try to adapt to them and make an informed career decision - a checklist or a self-assessment questionnaire.
Knight of the Round Table
As a result of passing, the candidate receives a job-fit index based on 4 core criterias.

If the candidate's index is high enough, he is invited to apply.
the work and team are attractive
for the candidate
tasks correspond to his values and expectations
the job suits his personality
corresponds to the level of his training and abilities