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Tim Strehle’s links and thoughts on Web apps, managing software development and Digital Asset Management, since 2002.
2012-04-29

My favourite quotes from the Valve Handbook for new employees

Valve’s Handbook for new employees [PDF]:

“As individuals we tend to gravitate toward projects that have a high, measurable, and predictable return for the company. So when there’s a clear opportunity on the table to succeed at a near-term business goal with a clear return, we all want to take it. […] This sounds like a good thing, and it often is, but it has some downsides that are worth keeping in mind. Specifically, if we’re not careful, these traits can cause us to race back and forth between short-term opportunities and threats, being responsive rather than proactive. […] It’s up to all of us to spend effort focusing on what we think the long-term goals of the company should be.”

“It’s natural in this kind of environment to constantly feel like you’re failing because for every one task you decide to work on, there will be dozens that aren’t getting your attention. Trust us, this is normal.”

“Can I be included the next time Valve is deciding X?

Yes. There’s no secret decision-making cabal. No matter what project, you’re already invited.”

“Often, someone will emerge as the “lead” for a project. This person’s role is not a traditional managerial one. Most often, they’re primarily a clearinghouse of information. They’re keeping the whole project in their head at once so that people can use them as a resource to check decisions against. The leads serve the team, while acting as centers for the teams.”

“Over time, we have learned that our collective ability to meet challenges, take advantage of opportunity, and respond to threats is far greater when the responsibility for doing so is distributed as widely as possible. Namely, to every individual at the company.”

“How much shippable (not necessarily shipped to outside customers), valuable, finished work did you get done?”

“How much of your work matters to the product? How much did you influence correct prioritization of work or resource trade-offs by others? Are you good at predicting how customers are going to react to decisions we’re making?”

“We believe that high-performance people are generally self-improving.”

“In some ways, hiring lower-powered people is a natural response to having so much work to get done. In these conditions, hiring someone who is at least capable seems (in the short term) to be smarter than not hiring anyone at all. But that’s actually a huge mistake.”

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 05:28:38 +0000