The Road to Super Flat Organization #6: The Final Touch, Goodbye Departments!

To summarize the previous stories, ISAO(Currently, Colorkrew) started disclosing the information in 2012, and at the same time, gradually made the organization flat by reducing unnecessary report lines. 


The last article was about the moment when we were like, “Let’s get rid of all the positions and make the structure flat!” 


This time, I’ll talk about the detailed processes between then and Super Flat Organization. 

The Management Camp 


The discussion of “Why don’t we get rid of managers?” started around Sep. 10th, 2015. 


We make judgments and actions pretty quick. 

Even before Super Flat Organization and when we had departments, personnel shift was always made “soon when decided.” 


Of course, the relevant personnel took time to consider before making decisions. However, seen from other’s points of view, it seemed people suddenly moved from one position to another.

It was so quick that some employees said in a questionnaire that“it is nice to be quick but sometimes it’s too quick!” 


However, this time the idea of “removing positions and hierarchy” could not realize in a day, and we had many tasks to overcome. 


Removing positions means removing all the departments.


“Wait, how can we make business plans without departments?” 

“How are we going to evaluate without supervisors?”

“Wouldn’t the business go bad without those who control with responsibility?” 


Thus, the more we thought about this, the more tasks we had. 


Then, it’s time to hold a business camp.


We started the business camp in Sep. 20th. 

Business management without departments 


Anyone who learned about Super Flat Organization first has this question: “How can you manage the business without departments and managers?” 


Honestly, the actual process is not that different from an ordinary organization. 


Although there’s no department, each business is called a project.

Each project has a project leader (PL). 




When learning about this, people often think, “Ok, so PL is the manager, at last,” but that’s not true.  

Managers always above, PLs only in projects


Any company has various projects besides businesses for which they prepare departments. 


For example, a project that influences the whole company. 


If a manager is in such a project, young members will never be a decision-maker or a leader. 

Usually, managers always remain managers and above the others. 


Colokrew PLs are only PLs in each project, and therefore, they are different from the managers who are always above. 


It is quite usual that one PL in a project is a member of another project. 


That applies even to me. For example, I work as a PL in a management project, but I join in HR, branding, and Goalous project as a member. 

Therefore, in those projects, I present my opinions, but the final decisions are up to each leader. 



There’s no absolute high position.


That’s how Colokrew Super Flat Organization works. 

Evaluation in an organization without managers


At the business camp where we built up the model structure, the evaluation system was the most controversial part. 

In an ordinary company, department managers evaluate the subordinates, and that’s the basis of evaluation. 


However, there are no managers in Super Flat Organization. 


There could be a drastic idea that “we don’t do evaluation” at last.


Super Fat Organization begins in 10 days. 

Our judgment was to start a new “coaching system.” 


Next time, I’ll write about this Super Flat coaching system.


Continued to: The road to Super Flat organization #7: the Birth of the Coaching System