I promised myself to write this post yesterday. I actually started it. And then I opened Crisp’s blog and got sucked into it. It’s that good. I haven’t visited it for a while and spent at least an hour enjoying the articles. I recommend you to do the same. Right after you finish this post :)

One of the outcomes from AgilePeople meetup was my acquaintance with Michael Göthe, Agile Coach at Crisp. Thanks to Michael I got an opportunity to visit Crisp as he managed to organise the visit just in one day.

If you are a part of Agile community you probably heard something good about Crisp. If not… well, keep reading then.

Crisp is a small consultancy company based in Stockholm. People in Crisp value Community, Freedom, Competence, Good citizenship and Professionalism. Their practices and current structure are derived from these values and it’s clearly seen.

Being in the market for 15 years there are only around 35 people working at the company. They see no reason at growing fast. Growth itself is not a purpose and could easily start contradicting with the values.

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell
Edward Abbey, American author

In February they published Crisp DNA, a detailed description of how the company works. It’s a short and must-read reference for everyone who wants to know more about good organisational cultures. There are several things I like most of all.

Crisp has a policy to reply to any request during 24 hours. They call it Bun protocol. Very smart metaphor, I can say!

When a bun (= issue or request) comes in it is warm, juicy and soft. If it sits around for a day it will get cold. If it sits around several days it will become dry and hard. You can warm up an old bun in the microwave oven as long as it hasn’t become too dry.

So, a bun should be eaten fairly quickly or thrown away. No use stuffing it in a box. If you can’t eat it yourself, offer it to someone else — before it gets cold, dry and hard!

Crisp chooses their clients carefully and has a ban (not a bun!) on working with customers from weapon or surveillance industries. Clients could get a refusal if their business practices are discouraging no matter what industry they are in. During my visit Hans, Reza and Michael described me how they were writing a response to one corporation. The process was very similar to one depicted by Repin in his famous painting Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks. Of course, their reply was more polite.

The company is constantly changing. For example, less than a year ago they decided to vacate CEO because they didn’t see any value in it. Hans who was with the company from the very beginning said to me,

I’ve never been bored in 15 years

What an impressive result! How many people in your surroundings could say the same?

Promised link to Crisp’s blog — blog.crisp.se. Don’t forget to check Evil Coach posts. They are hilarious!