I’m in a local ravioli shop. The lack of stress in here is very soothing. No wonder why this shop has so many customers and great reviews, despite quite high prices. The employees are in fact so relaxed that outside rush hours they rest most of the time. Drink tea, chat, and snack. The owner is chatting with them.

You may think that the work is simply not being done, but no. I’ve got my ravioli in about 6 minutes. Okay, so it must have been ready-made, right? No, before I came here, the only ready-made thing was raw dough. I could see every stage of the cooking process. And it was magnificent.

The clean counter

The thing that strikes me the most is how clean everything is. There is no more than 3 dirty plates in the sink at any time. When a person is idle, even the owner, they wash the dishes or organize the clean ones.

When a customer orders a ravioli, everyone takes their position: one person creating ravioli from raw dough and filling it with fresh ingredients, one person at the stoves, and one person servicing clients. The show is amazing, the kitchen is purposefully separated from the tables with glass panels. It is by design that people see what’s going on in the kitchen. The shop is proud of their process, and rightfully so.

After the amazing show, the first person who finishes their job, immediately jumps to the sink and washes their tools, and cleans their counter after that. It is truly astonishing.

Perfection in ravioli — and only ravioli

The work is flowing through the process of ravioli creation so smoothly that at some point I couldn’t even follow what’s going on. The employees mastered this very narrow field perfectly. Their menu is very short, yet very interesting, and they change it every season to offer the freshest ingredients possible.

Their lunch offer consists of ravioli, but cheaper. Their limited promotions are ravioli, but special. It is very refreshing to see such an honest business, which tells you exactly what you can expect. And you can expect quality ravioli every time you are here. There are no bad days.

The management wonder

I think that this is a profound example of how empowering the team to achieve mastery, teaching them discipline, and providing a safe, stress-free environment can make an amazing business. A business in which quality is built-in. One that can charge more for its services than competition. And one that has a ton of customers.

I also was there the other day, when the owner was absent. The quality was the same, the service was the same, and the speed was the same as well. People are motivated to keep the quality high, because they own a part of the process.

It is no coincidence that the ravioli shop has all the indicators of a successful team outlined in Team Topologies: it is long-lived, autonomous, with engaged members, and working in a single domain.1

It is also no coincidence that the process they follow is lean: everything is ensured to be ready just before it is needed, with work-in-process reduced to a minimum. All the tools and dishes are kept clean and organized and the work visibly flows through the process.


  1. M. Skelton and M. Pais, Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow. IT Revolution, 2019. (Preface, p. xvii).