Nurturing Top-Notch Teams
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Nurturing Top-Notch Teams

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Over the last 10 years, Atomic Object has grown from 7 to 43 employees. Here are a few ways we build connections between team members and keep our culture strong.

Over the last 10 years, Atomic Object has grown from 7 to 43 employees. Here are a few ways we build connections between team members and keep our culture strong.

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  • This is our main company dashboard It shows metrics that we care about Utilization - what are people doing, are we staying billable Blog Tracker - blogging is a major marketing tactic, are people meeting their personal expectation CI aggregate - what are the results of our active projects Chart Beat - realtime analytics, what is happening right now on our site We are going to dig a little deeper on two of the dashboard metrics.
  • This is our main company dashboard It shows metrics that we care about Utilization - what are people doing, are we staying billable Blog Tracker - blogging is a major marketing tactic, are people meeting their personal expectation CI aggregate - what are the results of our active projects Chart Beat - realtime analytics, what is happening right now on our site We are going to dig a little deeper on two of the dashboard metrics.
  • We practice pair programming – what about a culture pair? Every new employee is assigned a culture pair Form a relationship Transmit AO culture Make it easy to ask questions Actively seek out opportunities to teach and learnMixed results: participation tends to drop off quickly.
  • Last year, we created pair lunches The goal was to foster personal relationships Simple rules 2 people company pays one per pair per month Graph shows our pair lunch data for the first year lots of people participated lots of random connections the bold lines are no the norm (good thing) I ’ m cheap, have been on like 20 of these. Great topics JK getting an MBA idea for something (sanity check ideas) discussing concerns related to the utilization graph We did 228 pair lunches as a company in 2012. That ’ s 450ish hours of bonding. Those are pretty good results.
  • Early on, free beer friday Chance to bond, share project stories Friend pointed out liability Talked to the lawyers, got worried Realized bartenders are insured Started bringing in a bartender monthly Grows up Still have bonding SOs come Customers Potential hires

Transcript

  • 1. Mike Marsiglia and Drew Colthorpwww.atomicobject.comNurturing Top-notchTech Teams
  • 2. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 2Our Challenge
  • 3. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 3We arepoly-skilled,co-located,teams of makers
  • 4. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 4helping companies& entrepreneurscreate multi-platformsoftware products
  • 5. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 5that people love to use.
  • 6. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 6We love making awesome software,
  • 7. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 7and we’re dedicatedto our culture,
  • 8. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 8so as we grow,
  • 9. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 9we want to hold on to the things
  • 10. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 10that makeus strongandunique.
  • 11. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 11Atomic in 2002 • 7 employees — all developers• Close-knit• Direct access to everyone• Communication is easy
  • 12. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 12Atomic GR in 2013• 43 employees in two offices• Developers, designers, testers,and more• Communication is a challenge
  • 13. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.comHow do we teach andintegrate new employees?How do we build bonds?How do we keep our culturestrong?13
  • 14. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 14Economics of AO
  • 15. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 15Economics of AOAnnual class for new employeesThe basics of how our business works:• how we make money• how we spend money• how we stay competitive• other metrics we care aboutTaught by President or Vice President
  • 16. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.comEconomics of AOTopics• Basic financial terms• How to read our profit and loss statement• Our open books management• How to use our company financial model to experimentwith ideasWe’re considering adding other classes:• The Marketing of AO• The Communication of AO16
  • 17. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 17Information Radiators
  • 18. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 18Information RadiatorsWhy?• Economics of AO not visible, noton peoples’ minds.• Want to encourage continualawareness• Radiators aren’t “Out of site, out ofmind”• Encourages thinking that’sconsistent with the operation of thecompany and business model.
  • 19. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 19Information RadiatorsTypes• Continuous Integration Monitor• Stoplight• Server Monitor• Central Dashboard
  • 20. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 20Central Dashboard
  • 21. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 21Central DashboardShows how busy/billable every employe is.• X axis – Average hours/week for current quarter• Y axis – Percentage of time spent on projectsEach person will fall into 1 of 3 quadrants:• Green zone – Working full-time & highly utilized• Yellow zone – Evaluate your non-billable activities;are you using your time wisely?• Red zone – Not meeting expectationsUtilization
  • 22. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 22Central DashboardPossible Risks:• Competition to have more hours• Non-billable time isn’t bad – should just beconsidered against other possible activities(billable or not)Utilization
  • 23. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 23Central DashboardEach employee blogs every 40 days.As your due date approaches, yourbar grows shorter.• Yellow means 10 days left.• Red means you’re overdue.Blog Radiator
  • 24. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 24Central DashboardShows how our active projectsare testing.Continuous IntegrationAggregator
  • 25. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 25Central DashboardReal-time analytics via ChartBeat.Blog & Website Traffic
  • 26. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 26Culture Pairs
  • 27. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.comCulture PairsWe practice pair programming – what about aculture pair?• Every new employee is assigned a culture pair• Form a relationship• Transmit AO culture• Make it easy to ask questions• Actively seek out opportunities to teach and learnMixed results: participation tends to drop off quickly.27
  • 28. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 28Pair Lunches
  • 29. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 29Pair LunchesGoal• Foster personal relationshipsRules• 2 employees have lunchtogether• Company pays• Not more than once a monthfor each pair• Encouraged to talk about funor personal topics
  • 30. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 30Pair LunchesGraph shows our pair lunchdata for 2012:• 228 pair lunches; that’s 450ishhours of bonding• Lots of people participated• Lots of random connections• Bold lines show common pairs(they’re rare, which is good)
  • 31. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 31Spin Down
  • 32. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 32Spin Down• Monthly Friday evening party w/bartender & snacks• Chance to bond, share project stories• Invite families, customers, sales opps, potential hires
  • 33. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 33Workshop Series
  • 34. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.comWorkshop SeriesWhy?• We’re becoming afirm that specializesin product dev.• We all do design.• Needed a way tospread designthinking about thecompany.34StrategyScenariosSketchingPlanningPrototypesIA & IxD PatternsMarkupCodingHi-fidelityDesignDesigners Developers
  • 35. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 35Workshop SeriesInternal, crowd-sourced professional dev. series• 10 Workshops (5 after work with beer & 5 during lunch)• Average attendance: 22 (Min: 18, Max: 30)Topics included• What is design?• Storytelling• Design thinking• Visualizing ideas• Visualizing data
  • 36. @atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 36Tactic Cost ImpactEconomics of AO 2 hours per new employee Business understandingInformation RadiatorsDesign andDevelopment timePersonal responsibilityCulture Pair Free Distributed managementPair Lunches $28 per pair lunch Personal relationshipsSpin Down $500 per event Personal relationshipsDesign Series $19/hr of training Broader design knowledge