Secrets of the Cabal: Half-Life’s Organizational Management & Other Agile Tales

organizational management at valve corporation cabal process

From humble beginnings as a simple clone of the then-popular first-person shooter Quake, Half-Life would eventually become the first installment of one of the most successful video game series of all time.

Today, Valve Inc. is one of the most renowned, innovative, and successful game development companies worldwide, boasting one of the largest video game digital distribution service platforms on the planet, a range of pioneering virtual reality hardware and an impressive roster of instantly recognizable and widely-loved game titles.

Specifically, the development of the original Half-Life makes for an interesting case-study, and represents a model of innovative agile organizational management.

Half-Life is remembered as one of the best games of all time, and the intense environment in which it was created – where the Cabal process was born – is testament to that legacy.

Companies like Valve, Zappos, Semco, and even Google have come up with different models to enable the potential of their workers. These methods give power to the employees to pursue their own entrepreneurial pet projects.

Tesla’s innovation is equal part production process as it is the product; you need only look to the hulking Gigafactories to find evidence of this.

Similarly, Facebook’s success is not just in the service it offers users, but also how it was designed to scale to billions of users.

The process of organizational management is always an important factor in the outcome of these hugely successful products.

In this post I’ll be looking at democratic methods of organizational management, with a particular focus on Valve’s Cabal process. I’ll also mention a couple of other interesting examples of holocratic organizational management, and talk about our own internal structure at Process Street.

Here’s a quick breakdown of each section, if you want to jump ahead:

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The 9 Best Organizational Tools to Bring Order to Chaos

Organizational Tools

Documented processes don’t just save you time, money, and give a consistent method for your team to follow. They¬†make everything you do more reliable and efficient, even increasing project success rate by 70%.

Unfortunately, getting started is the hardest part. Whether you don’t feel like you have time to set up your management system or just don’t know what to use for your needs, it’s difficult to get over the initial learning curve.

That’s why I’m going to outline the 9 organizational tools you can use to get started right now.

From their pros and cons and best use guidelines to general tips on what to do with your organizational tools, this post will cover:

  • Process Street
  • Office 365 (Microsoft Word and Excel)
  • Trello
  • Airtable
  • Google Suite (Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Drive)
  • Zapier
  • …and 4 process management techniques to get you started

It’s time to learn what organizational tools you need to manage your processes, and how to use them.

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