SlideShare a Scribd company logo
Mike Marsiglia and Drew Colthorp
www.atomicobject.com
Nurturing Top-notch
Tech Teams
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 2
Our Challenge
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 3
We are
poly-skilled,
co-located,
teams of makers
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 4
helping companies
& entrepreneurs
create multi-platform
software products
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 5
that people love to use.
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 6
We love making awesome software,
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 7
and we’re dedicated
to our culture,
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 8
so as we grow,
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 9
we want to hold on to the things
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 10
that make
us strong
and
unique.
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 11
Atomic in 2002 • 7 employees — all developers
• Close-knit
• Direct access to everyone
• Communication is easy
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 12
Atomic GR in 2013
• 43 employees in two offices
• Developers, designers, testers,
and more
• Communication is a challenge
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com
How do we teach and
integrate new employees?
How do we build bonds?
How do we keep our culture
strong?
13
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 14
Economics of AO
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 15
Economics of AO
Annual class for new employees
The basics of how our business works:
• how we make money
• how we spend money
• how we stay competitive
• other metrics we care about
Taught by President or Vice President
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com
Economics of AO
Topics
• Basic financial terms
• How to read our profit and loss statement
• Our open books management
• How to use our company financial model to experiment
with ideas
We’re considering adding other classes:
• The Marketing of AO
• The Communication of AO
16
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 17
Information Radiators
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 18
Information Radiators
Why?
• Economics of AO not visible, not
on peoples’ minds.
• Want to encourage continual
awareness
• Radiators aren’t “Out of site, out of
mind”
• Encourages thinking that’s
consistent with the operation of the
company and business model.
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 19
Information Radiators
Types
• Continuous Integration Monitor
• Stoplight
• Server Monitor
• Central Dashboard
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 20
Central Dashboard
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 21
Central Dashboard
Shows how busy/billable every employe is.
• X axis – Average hours/week for current quarter
• Y axis – Percentage of time spent on projects
Each 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 expectations
Utilization
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 22
Central Dashboard
Possible Risks:
• Competition to have more hours
• Non-billable time isn’t bad – should just be
considered against other possible activities
(billable or not)
Utilization
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 23
Central Dashboard
Each employee blogs every 40 days.
As your due date approaches, your
bar grows shorter.
• Yellow means 10 days left.
• Red means you’re overdue.
Blog Radiator
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 24
Central Dashboard
Shows how our active projects
are testing.
Continuous Integration
Aggregator
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 25
Central Dashboard
Real-time analytics via ChartBeat.Blog & Website Traffic
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 26
Culture Pairs
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com
Culture Pairs
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 learn
Mixed results: participation tends to drop off quickly.
27
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 28
Pair Lunches
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 29
Pair Lunches
Goal
• Foster personal relationships
Rules
• 2 employees have lunch
together
• Company pays
• Not more than once a month
for each pair
• Encouraged to talk about fun
or personal topics
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 30
Pair Lunches
Graph shows our pair lunch
data for 2012:
• 228 pair lunches; that’s 450ish
hours of bonding
• Lots of people participated
• Lots of random connections
• Bold lines show common pairs
(they’re rare, which is good)
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 31
Spin Down
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 32
Spin Down
• Monthly Friday evening party w/bartender & snacks
• Chance to bond, share project stories
• Invite families, customers, sales opps, potential hires
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 33
Workshop Series
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com
Workshop Series
Why?
• We’re becoming a
firm that specializes
in product dev.
• We all do design.
• Needed a way to
spread design
thinking about the
company.
34
Strategy
Scenarios
Sketching
Planning
Prototypes
IA & IxD Patterns
Markup
Coding
Hi-fidelity
Design
Designers Developers
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 35
Workshop Series
Internal, 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
@atomicobject spin.atomicobject.com 36
Tactic Cost Impact
Economics of AO 2 hours per new employee Business understanding
Information Radiators
Design and
Development time
Personal responsibility
Culture Pair Free Distributed management
Pair Lunches $28 per pair lunch Personal relationships
Spin Down $500 per event Personal relationships
Design Series $19/hr of training Broader design knowledge

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Nurturing Top-Notch Teams

Editor's Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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