To achieve results, team members must work together effectively. At BetaWorks, helping others is a priority, even when it is not immediately related to the goals that you are trying to achieve. Similarly, you can rely on others for help and advice—in fact, you're expected to do so. Anyone can chime in on any subject, including people who don't work at BetaWorks. The person who's responsible for the work decides how to do it, but they should always take each suggestion seriously and try to respond and explain why it may or may not have been implemented.
We do what we promised to each other, customers, users, and investors.
Measure results not hours
We care about what you achieve: the code you shipped, the user you made happy, and the team member you helped. Someone who took the afternoon off shouldn't feel like they did something wrong. You don't have to defend how you spend your day. We trust team members to do the right thing instead of having rigid rules. Do not incite competition by proclaiming how many hours you worked yesterday. If you are working too many hours, talk to your manager to discuss solutions.
Working efficiently on the right things enables us to make fast progress, which makes our work more fulfilling.
Diversity, inclusion and belonging are fundamental to the success of BetaWorks. We aim to make a significant impact in our efforts to foster an environment where everyone can thrive. We are designing a multidimensional approach to ensure that BetaWorks is a place where people from every background and circumstance feel like they belong and can contribute. We actively chose to build and institutionalize a culture that is inclusive and supports all team members equally in the process of achieving their professional goals. We hire globally and encourage hiring in a diverse set of countries. We work to make everyone feel welcome and to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities and nationalities in our community and company. For example, we celebrate our sponsorship of diversity events and triple the base referral bonus amount.
We do the smallest thing possible and get it out as quickly as possible. If you make suggestions that can be excluded from the first iteration, turn them into a separate issue that you link. Don't write a large plan; only write the first step. Trust that you'll know better how to proceed after something is released. You're doing it right if you're slightly embarrassed by the minimal feature set shipped in the first iteration. This value is the one people most underestimate when they join GitLab. The impact both on your work process and on how much you achieve is greater than anticipated. In the beginning, it hurts to make decisions fast and to see that things are changed with less consultation. But frequently, the simplest version turns out to be the best one.
People that join GitLab all say they already practice iteration. But this is the value that is the hardest to understand and adopt. People are trained that if you don't deliver a perfect or polished thing, there will be a problem. If you do just one piece of something, you have to come back to it. Doing the whole thing seems more efficient, even though it isn't. If the complete picture is not clear, your work might not be perceived as you want it to be perceived. It seems better to make a comprehensive product. They see other GitLab team members being really effective with iteration but don't know how to make the transition, and it's hard to shake the fear that constant iteration can lead to shipping lower-quality work or a worse product. It is possible to ship a minimally viable product while continuing to adhere to the documented quality standards.
The way to resolve this is to write down only what you can do with the time you have for this project right now. That might be 5 minutes or 2 hours. Think of what you can complete in that time that would improve the current situation. Iteration can be uncomfortable, even painful. If you're doing iteration correctly, it should be. Reverting work back to a previous state is positive, not negative. We're quickly getting feedback and learning from it. Making a small change prevented a bigger revert and made it easier to revert.
However, if we take smaller steps and ship smaller, simpler features, we get feedback sooner. Instead of spending time working on the wrong feature or going in the wrong direction, we can ship the smallest product, receive fast feedback, and course correct. People might ask why something was not perfect. In that case, mention that it was an iteration, you spent only "x" amount of time on it, and that the next iteration will contain "y" and be ready on "z".
Be open about as many things as possible. By making information public, we can reduce the threshold to contribution and make collaboration easier. Use public issue trackers, projects, and repositories when possible.
An example is the public repository of this website that also contains this company handbook. Everything we do is public by default, such as the BetaWorks issue trackers, as well as marketing and infrastructure. Transparency creates awareness for BetaWorks, allows us to recruit people that care about our values, gets us more and faster feedback from people outside the company, and makes it easier to collaborate with them. It is also about sharing great software, documentation, examples, lessons, and processes with the whole community and the world in the spirit of open source, which we believe creates more value than it captures.
There are exceptions. Material that is not public by default is documented. We are above average at keeping things confidential that need to be. On a personal level, you should tell it like it is instead of putting up a poker face. Don't be afraid to admit you made a mistake or were wrong. When something goes wrong, it is a great opportunity to say "What’s the kaizen moment here?" and find a better way without hurt feelings.
Even as a public company, we know that our value of transparency will be key to our success. This value can be hard to follow at times. You might ask yourself: what should be shared, how much to share, whether or not to speak up but definitely take the time to always opt for maximum transparency by adhering to the sub-values below. Often, company values get diluted as they grow, most likely because they do not write anything down. But we will make sure our values scale with the company. When we go public, we can declare everyone in the company as an insider, which will allow us to remain transparent internally about our numbers, etc. Everything else that can be transparent will continue to be so.