The (side) effect of FRIS® in EENGINE


In EENGINE, we place great emphasis on communication and understanding of the other person because we are fully convinced that these factors determine 50% of the success of any project. At the same time, we use the FRIS® tool to discover our thinking and behavior styles. Knowing them, we look at our colleagues and clients from completely different perspectives, which makes us more effective... and happier. Get to know a detailed case study of the research conducted in our company.


If you are reading this post, you already know that EENGINE is a software company mainly operating in the e-Commerce industry. There are many similar-looking companies out there. We are not a large corporation, so it is easier for us to adhere to our principle that we are a tribe. An organization that self-regulates, supports each other in difficult times, and celebrates triumphs together.

A tribe is made up of people who are connected to each other to varying degrees. In EENGINE, we want people to feel like family, but that doesn't mean we invade someone's privacy or want to take ownership of a person for the company at the expense of work-life balance. And thanks to the network of interpersonal connections, it is even easier to run a small structured company.

Another principle we follow is creating software that will make its users happy. It may sound banal and naive, but after all, computers and software are supposed to help people in their work and daily lives, facilitate them, teach and entertain them. Such thinking has a huge impact on the organizational culture in which we work.

Let these statements be the starting point for further considerations.

How did we come across FRIS®?

You already know our perspective on a software company, so we need to explain to you where FRIS® and a bit of psychology in an industry based on algorithms and lines of code came from. Well, it's all because of people - a chance meeting led to a longer personal and business relationship, which, as it turned out, also included FRIS®. And so, since 2017, the idea has taken root and sprouted. First, the management underwent the research. In 2018, a period of long-term changes began for us - procedures, business models, and even the shape of the organization itself. That's when the idea of competency testing was born.

There was no serious evaluation of the pros and cons of choosing one option or another, but rather a desire to get to know each other better, not through "ordinary" integration activities, but from a more scientific point of view. We received many signals from the outside that this type of research into our predispositions brings very tangible results. There was no need to think about it for too long.

In getting to know our thinking and behavior styles better, we saw an opportunity to better create teams so that they consist of people with complementary skills, not just hard competencies. As a result, there is a higher degree of mutual understanding and cohesion.


Before we conducted the workshop summarizing the study, we needed to prepare. What did this look like in practice? Wojtek "Wery" Wereszko, who was our Certified FRIS® Trainer, conducted reconnaissance - several phone interviews and a questionnaire describing EENGINE. With the status quo known, on September 26 and 27, 2018, we met with him and Krzysztof Bazył, who led the workshops for us. In total, we examined 21 people, of whom 15 were programmers and 6 were non-programmers ("business," project managers, designers).

The diagram shows the results of our team. What is immediately visible is the dominance of the analytical and task-oriented sphere over the others. Is this bad? No, because we deal with IT, which is a precise and demanding field that requires such ways of functioning. Researchers and Players are the backbone of the company (also in terms of the number of people in EE), so as a whole, we effectively distribute the center of gravity. Especially since the quintessence of our work is solving problems, and thanks to such a distribution of the center of gravity, we can deliver the best quality to our clients.

IT projects have the characteristic of combining teamwork with individual work. Programmers, Designers, and PMs cooperate to create a large project, but then comes the time when everyone has to focus on their own slice of work and work independently. This modus operandi allows us to afford a smaller dimension of relationality in the company, but this does not change the fact that it is still needed. Partners help stimulate interactions in our small community; they are a bit like moderators of an internet forum.

Looking globally, such a distribution of power and characteristics allows us to achieve the effect of synergy.

Our reality after the study

The day after the study, I wrote an email to Paweł Owczarek (the author of the FRIS® Product) and Wojciech Wereszko: "Today we woke up in a slightly different reality thanks to FRIS®. People address each other differently, there is more understanding, we have become more curious about ourselves, and we perceive this as something good and valuable." It sounds like an advertising slogan, but I'll explain where this observation comes from.

The most important thing is a change in the way of communication, both on an individual level and within the group: whether in the kitchen or during "work" conversations on SLACK, our internal communicator. The day after the end of the process, people began to insert their FRIS® Styles to facilitate recognition of each other.


That was just the beginning. After the visual, "slack-based" identification, verbal referencing to FRIS results during project collaborations followed. This often humorous reminder of one's thinking style became a part of overall communication improvement in EENGINE, especially since it can have an impact on project implementation (its success or failure) within the team.

Awareness of our individual specificity has left its mark not only on direct contacts but also on work management and time. After FRIS, there have been (and still are) moments of awakening. For example, morning coffee - someone spends more time on it than others. It may seem like they are wasting valuable and paid time. "This guy is trying to avoid doing his tasks!" But it doesn't have to be true. Perhaps this person is a PARTNER who needs more contact with people than others. Therefore, it is worth considering changing the approach to people, understanding them better, and even changing the scope of duties.

Another example - someone is sitting and "doing nothing." Again, we can dismiss it as a waste of time, while we may be dealing with an EXPLORER who is analyzing various aspects, even too detailed, of a problem in their head. Should we interrupt them and remind them of their task or allow them to finish the thinking process? Conversely - someone is eager to act. Should we scold and restrain them or channel their desire to act appropriately? Perhaps we are dealing with a COMPETITOR. In turn, in the case of a VISIONARY, someone who lives in many realities at once: should we bring them back to earth or let them sometimes float in the clouds, and then use their ideas, for example, during brainstorming, to generate the most daring solutions?

But let's move on because we are entering a field where management mixes with mental hygiene.

5 levels of depth optimization

Optimization of project teams is key.

FRIS® verified and complemented what was intuitively felt and inferred from observing others. A different perspective of looking at oneself, through the lens of FRIS Styles, along with instructions for handling Visionaries, Researchers, Athletes, and Partners, provides us with a better factual basis for building teams and assigning roles (e.g., Team Leader) to specific individuals.

Moreover, during discussions with the Client, we can more easily understand (sense) a person's way of thinking, which becomes one of the criteria for building a project team, along with the complementarity of the team and the participation of the person who will have the easiest time maintaining effective communication with the Client.

After FRIS, we started to examine our daily routine and made some changes in the teams working on ongoing projects. Not because things were going badly, but because we wanted to improve our performance. Suddenly, it turned out that these changes were obvious, we just hadn't thought of them before, or we thought that things were fine the way they were.

It should be noted that these changes required not only a cool assessment of the composition of individual teams and an analysis of project needs, but also a more rational rearrangement of teams. Both those who moved and those who were moved between teams had to understand that this was not a punishment or a lack of trust. The results of FRIS helped to justify and present these decisions, making them easier to understand.

As a result, optimizing team compositions and role assignments, together with a greater awareness of one's own nature and its understanding, contributed to improved communication within the team and its internal coherence.

Building market "uniqueness"

After all, EENGINE is a company with defined business goals. The specificity of software development services is that we sell a promise of delivering a relatively expensive service/product (e.g. a web application), and for a long period of time, the client will not be able to evaluate it, as the software development process is quite complex. This makes one of the biggest challenges to properly present our competencies and convince the client that we can deliver their project on time and within the agreed budget (which is very uncertain and unusual in IT).

This is also a place for FRIS® research to strengthen the organization as a whole. The first meetings with the client are the time for building the foundations of further cooperation, the moment when we get to know each other. We inform the client that we have invested in something tangible (research) to better understand ourselves and therefore deliver projects even better. The "substantive input" that FRIS® provides strengthens our company and the process of presenting EENGINE during business meetings. Of course, there are clients who are not interested in this aspect at all, and after some time, it turns out that they are not the clients we want to work with. On the other hand, there are also those who are looking for a sensible (any definition that comes to mind) IT company and are interested in this, curious about how this research has affected us, the organization, and how it manifests in projects.

In our industry, the first, second, and third impressions are built through very intense contact with the client and familiarizing them with us, dispelling doubts and allaying fears is super important, and FRIS® is another tool that helps us with that.

Strengthening the EENGINE gravitational field

There are several elements that contribute to increasing our attraction force. The FRIS® study itself became an integration event and worked better than "standard" company events. Its effects have been positively received and are still evaluated positively by the team. The study and the knowledge gained from it have also become one of the employee benefits, which is particularly valuable in times when employers are competing for them.

The FRIS® study has strengthened our Employer Branding strategy, especially since we now inform potential team members about our FRIS® experience, and the study itself has become a permanent part of our company and team's image (as seen on our website and social media).

FRIS® is forever in EENGINE

FRIS® is so important to our organization that we have decided to commit to it for years to come. Using this methodology will be easier from now on, as we have a certified trainer (signed below) on board and a group of people involved in raising awareness among others about the importance of being open to other cognitive perspectives offered by FRIS®.

Unique visual identity

In this post, you can learn how the study has greatly influenced our visual identity today. In short, the results of FRIS® validate one of the most important values we have in the company - people.


In summary!

The Tribe before the profit.EENGINE is a company where people are more important than profit. Like many other organizations, we have adopted the foundation that brotherhood and friendship are the basis of our daily work relationships.

The results of FRIS were helpful - in addition to the experience gained from various daily interactions, we learned about thinking and action styles, making it easier to accept and implement changes. And because we follow the principle of transparency, the decision to conduct a group survey was followed by sharing knowledge about the thinking and action style of each team member with the entire team - after all, nobody carries a manual and doesn't have to remember the results of everyone's survey.

Again, it sounds trivial, but we work more effectively and efficiently, with a better understanding of ourselves and others, communicate better, and this is the greatest value for us as an organization. Without people, there will be no organization, but without communication either, because what good is finding a team of experts if there is no understanding and cooperation among them? For the team to work efficiently, its members must know (and accept!) their roles, and communication is a way of transmitting information, orders, and opinions. The latter are used to monitor the progress of work, but also of the team itself.

FRIS® helped us determine our state of possession (and thus deficits) in specific areas. As an IT company, we value hard skills and logical thinking, so the Relationship perspective takes a backseat. It takes a backseat because it is often seen as a private sphere, and we only see its external, extroverted part on a daily basis. But beneath it, everyone carries an inner layer that can suffer from limited "relationship" resources.

All four perspectives, FACTS-RELATIONSHIPS-IDEAS-STRUCTURES, are essential to us all and to each individual, and FRIS® helped us manage our human capital. Yes, human capital, not resources, because people are our capital, bringing knowledge, professional and life experience, and their personalities to the team.

FRIS® helped us redefine the entire organization and opened up new opportunities for us in terms of acquiring clients, recruiting people to the Team, and creating the entire organization. Everything that happened at EENGINE after the survey was an unexpected byproduct that none of us anticipated.

You can watch the video version of this text below