Chaos monkey is a term that’s likely familiar to software teams, where it’s known as a tool to test the resilience of IT infrastructures. And with our reliance on technology in the workplace only increasing, ensuring it can perpetually sustain itself is more critical than ever.
But it’s also being applied in a different, broader way across some businesses – to describe either major mindset changes or culture overhauls.
For example, Shopify, the Canadian multinational commerce company, launched its first so-called chaos monkey in early January, when it culled a substantial number of meetings from the calendars of its 11,600 employees.
Deann Evans, Shopify’s director of EMEA partnerships and expansion, told WorkLife that following the enforced changes, time spent in meetings was down by 33% per employee in the first two months of the year compared to the same period in 2022. And yet, the change, caused a period of havoc for teams as they got to grips with such a different daily structure.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, here’s an explainer.
The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in April 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.
When, at the start of the year, Shopify let loose a so-called “chaos monkey” to disrupt the Canadian multinational e-commerce company’s meeting culture, it was a shock to its 11,600 employees.
Initial panic – how would things possibly be achieved without meetings? – was quickly replaced by relief. And new data proved the move was a delightful surprise overall.
On Jan. 3, Kaz Nejatian, Shopify COO, posted about the calendar purge on Twitter. “Meetings are a bug,” he wrote. “To start 2023, we’re cancelling [sic] all Shopify meetings with more than two people. Let’s give people back their maker time.”
Critics who questioned the bold decision might wish to stop reading here. However, business leaders with meeting-heavy company cultures are advised to take note, given the overwhelmingly vindicated strategy shift.
Following Shopify’s enforced changes – including “meeting-free Wednesdays” designed to encourage focused work – in research shared with WorkLife in late March, time spent in meetings dropped by 33% per employee in the first two months of the year compared to the same period in 2022. That time saved will equate to a 25% increase in completed projects by the end of the year, the company has estimated.
The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in March 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.