We have our creed, but how does that translate into expectations for individual Automatticians in their day-to-day work? Here’s a list developed over time from our CFO and mobile team. It’s a great way to think about how you work:
- Communicate, often and publicly. It is impossible to over-communicate at a8c. Be active on P2/GitHub/Slack/wherever your projects get done. Participate on update threads, do an intro video, and add personal details to help build connections. Strive for clarity in your communication with high-level summaries. Have empathy for what others need to extract from your communication — especially when it comes to what you’re working on and how it’s going.
- Get context. We’ll always expect that you’ve read the Field Guide, searched MGS, clicked on inline links, and caught up on P2 and GitHub threads for related issues. If you have done all that and still need more context, just ask! Other people don’t know what you don’t know. It’s up to you to get the context you need.
- Be on top of all notifications. You should be keeping up to date on notifications from key P2s, GitHub, general WordPress.com notifications, automattchers, and Slack. There’s no need to reply immediately, but make sure you check them at least a couple of times a day. Never miss a ping. This doesn’t mean to be reactive to everything, not everything can (or should) be done instantly. But be sure to respond in a timely manner clarifying what (if anything) you will do and when.
- Be accountable. Distributed only works if we can trust each other completely. Be a steel trap for requests made of you. Set a timeframe for every commitment you make. Communicate the moment you know you’ll miss a commitment. When you have to be asked twice, it signals you aren’t reliable.
- Be brave. Async means that sometimes we have to be organized to make sure things are progressing — get ahead of potential blockers, and look for things you can move ahead with regardless. It’s better to try something timeboxed than wait.
- Be considerate. Be considerate of our users, and be considerate of your teammates. Be flexible when you can (time zones are hard, and sometimes synchronicity is necessary), be willing to experiment (e.g. with process), and look for ways to support your teammates. It’s much better to follow up and ask for what you need than quietly resent someone — follow up and offer feedback clearly and kindly. Avoid ambiguity: use a specific word or phrase instead of the typical jargon. Strive to make the whole team better.