Many expect a clear answer from their companies regarding career paths. What are the options available for me? What is the next step in my career? When will I be promoted? When will I earn more? These questions intensify when we create self-managed structures, without the management hierarchy. The questions then become: Now that I don’t have a boss, who cares for me? Who will look at my development?

We already gave some answers in another post: Expecting a career plan? Know why it will never come. But today the approach will be different. We will speak with Hugo Barbosa, Agile Coach at eduK, a company that we are supporting in their self-management transformation.

TT: Hugo, tell us a little about your story. What were you doing at eduK before they started the self-management transformation?

Hugo: Before self-management here at eduK I worked as a Test Analyst with a focus on automation. I was part of a team with 2 software developers and a project manager.

TT: When were your roles or accountabilities changed for the first time? Whose initiative was it?

Hugo: That happened when the team started to grow. As we increased from 3 people to 8, we started to have problems related to the flow of development (which didn’t exist at all). For example, there were demands that were too big and took too long to deliver value to our customers.

At the time we didn’t practice any kind of Agile methodology. Then our CTO decided to hire Target Teal so we could better organize the work. After a Scrum Workshop that lasted about 3 days, we met to choose who would be the Scrum Master. That day I had my first experience with responsibilities other than those I was hired to accomplish. Although I was very eager to fill the role, I hesitated for a moment. But when I saw that the group would choose me, I grabbed the opportunity with both arms.

TT: What changed in your work after eduK began to practice self-management?

Hugo: Many things. And all the changes were for the better. For example:

When we started the practice, the team was already quite independent and we had migrated from Scrum to Kanban, so it was no longer necessary to have a Scrum Master. So we split the role of Scrum Master into two others, one that could focus on bringing continuous improvements to our workflow and one that would specialize in the self-management framework we were practicing.

What I like most about self-management is that once you understand what it is and how it should be used, there is no limit. Who decides where to go and how to go is you and nobody else.

TT: How did you feel after the role of you were filling was changed/removed?

I felt good because the team no longer needed a Scrum Master. I was able to fulfill the purpose of the role and helped people learn new things. This further boosted my growth in the organization as I stepped out of the comfort zone and faced new challenges.

TT: In this process of building your own career path, how did you feel?

Hugo: It was and it is being incredible! Not only I am building my own “career path”, developing my own initiatives and projects, but also working with exceptional people who trust each other. And the best: everyone is here for one shared purpose.

TT: What are the next steps in your journey?

Hugo: I intend to specialize more and more in self-management approaches, helping more organizations and enabling people to reinvent themselves every day. This is through consulting, coaching and whatever else can help the community to evolve.

TT: Do you miss someone caring for your development? Or a career path?

Hugo: No and no. Of course in the beginning it’s a bit difficult to understand all this and adapt yourself. Sometimes we need someone to ask us some questions to reflect on. Without necessarily inducing a path, but only showing us the other side and how we are able to trace our own route. I believe that I am the best person to understand what I need and how to overcome my challenges.

Hugo, thank you very much for your time and dedication in the answers! We appreciate your frankness and openness. We wish you the best on your journey!