We have people working some different hours and we don’t enforce a lot of tightly-coupled workflows during the day, but that’s a feature not a bug. Most of the work you do at Intempt shouldn’t require you to be in constant communication throughout the entire day with someone.
It’s far better for everyone’s concentration and sanity if you collaborate as though most things will get an answer eventually, but not necessarily right this second. Your first choice of action should be to post a message, a todo, or a document about what you need to explain or need to know. Then others can read it on their schedule, when the natural lulls of the day allow it, rather than being interrupted right in their peak flow time.
Don’t take that as gospel, though. Some times you really DO need to tightly collaborate with someone for an extended period of time, and that’s fine. We have pings, hangouts, screensharing, or even in-person collaboration for when nothing else will do. (But most of the time something else will).
All that being said, you should still ensure that there is ample overlap with the people you work with most of the time. While most roadblocks can just as well be cleared in 15-30-60 minutes, they become real annoying if it’s a one-day turn-around every time.
In certain departments, like Support and Ops, it’s even more important that people are dependently available when they say they will be. That work has a lot of interrupt-based jobs that simply needs to be done right here, right now. So what applies to almost all work for design and programming and QA may well apply a little less frequently there.
In self-sufficient, independent teams
Organizational theory is thick with descriptions of the trade-offs between functional and project company structures. We seek to be more project than functional. This means a single project team should be able to go from idea to deploy as independently as possible.
Thus, the fewer other departments a team has to pass through on their road to rolling out a new feature, the better. We should be working on opening all these natural road blocks that form by default when you have awesome, strong product teams.
For example, a team working on a new Journeys feature should be able to test and integrate their work with CDP without involving CDP. CDP shouldn’t need a special heads up, and thus interruption and mental overhead or even guilt from lack of participation.
Similarly, a native feature that requires an change in how our Analytics system works should be carried out by that native team directly.
When we need to use the staging environment, that should be self-service too. Have a script anyone can run to restore it. Don’t require going to ops and waiting around for someone to do it for us.
None of this means we can’t talk together or ask experts with more experience or expertise for their advice. It just means it shouldn’t be a required, necessary step to make Intempt better.
As soon as organizational bottlenecks form, like a slew of features waiting for “the connector integration”, we’re dragged towards more micro and detailed schedule management. It becomes a critical path with dependencies and making sure team Z is available just at the right moment for team A, such that nobody is blocked. That’s a poor fit for our organizational aspirations, so we have to work to counter that.
With managers of one
Managing at Intempt is a part-time occupation, next to being involved with doing the work itself. This means we rely on everyone at Intempt to do a lot of self-management. People who do this well qualify as managers of one, and we strive for every one senior or above to embody this principle fully.
That means setting your own direction when one isn’t given. Determining what needs to be done, and doing it, without waiting for someone to tell you to. A manager of one will spend their time well when left to their own devices. There’s always more work to be done, always more initiatives to kick off, always more improvement to be had.
We limit ourselves to a 40-hour work week. Keeping our hours at work limited forces us to prioritize the work that really matters. A healthy amount of sleep and a rich and rewarding life outside of work should not be squandered for a few more hours at work.
There are occasions where teams or individuals need to work off-hours for on-call, maintenance or emergencies. This time should not be in addition to your normal working hours. Use your discretion to take time off to make up for the additional hours you put in during the week.
1. Intelligence: At Intempt we value intellectual rigor. The best heuristic is whether we ask the right questions of each other and of ourselves.
2. Learnability: Underpinning traits are curiosity, ability to self-reflect, humility, drive and demonstrated ability/track record of knowing *how* to find the right answers. Hint: See above, sometimes just simply ask the right question (directed to the right person). We hold strong opinions, weakly.
3. Character Building: We trust two character traits - initiative and people with "backbone". Very important because one without the other will not work. Four words of people who do well at Intempt is "I'll figure it out". You don't have to figure it out alone but you do have to figure it out with the team and this means knowing how to engage a busy team. Most people recognize when someone is working well and needs a helping hand and they'll go overtime for them. This is also character.
And then have tenacity - go over a wall, go under a wall, go around a wall or realize the wall isn't relevant anymore. Fk the wall. This is also character.
4. Communicate & Collaborate: We over-communicate through voice, emails, Git and Slack. We are over-transparent. We create a culture of respect, inclusion and trust. We create psychological safety without compromising your values. This is incredibly hard. This means making each other uncomfortable if we don't demonstrate our values. We are not afraid to give candid feedback, even when it is uncomfortable or exhausting. And yet, when a decision is made, we commit fully. Backbone is the conviction to disagree and yet commit.
Remember, the customer is the ultimate judge; better than anyone at Intempt.
5. Thinking & Writing: We write concisely and clearly. As a remote-first company, clarity of writing becomes increasingly important. Note great critical thinking precedes great writing; there is no great piece written without solid thought. So what is critical thinking? It is the ability to ask yourself critical questions about tactics. It means you have a systematic way of making decisions. You know upside, downside, constraints, resources and they're all wrapped up in the decision to do (or not do) something. What's the opposite of this? Lazy thinking is about making assumptions and the most awful of these is when you don't even know you made assumptions. You operated in a black box of assumptions that were non-transparent to your peers or more senior staff (and it didn't get caught till the end). This is a surefire way to not get trusted with larger projects or larger responsibility and you'll wonder why.
6. Consistency: Success does not come from occasional bouts of genius (we do take those with pleasure). Success comes from how we show up every day. Show up right and we get used to kicking the dumb idas to the curb and implementing more good decisions. These good ideas compound.
7. Get Shit Done: Sometimes these values can be hard to live out in context. It usually just means a situation is testing our values and the decision is too big for our breeches. This is paralyzing. You won't know if you made the right decision until after you've made it. But you have to just do it to feel it. So get shit done. Ship it. The market takes no prisoners and will show you the way.
Remember, what we are hired for. We're not hired to push code, words, pictures or meetings. We are hired to think critically, make decisions and solve problems - the way we express that is a variety of building and selling motions someone happened to call a software company.