Having explicit, shared values enables us to focus in a coordinated way. We can rank choices and move forward with a common framework. It also makes it easier to identify the kinds of people we want to work with when hiring.
Just like the rest of our work, we continually adjust our values and strive to make them better. This list of values is a living document; they are continuously refined and revised based on lessons learned (and scars earned) in the course of doing business.
- Focus on Outcomes
We must all be able to work together effectively. What’s more, we should all be helping others, even when it is not immediately related to the goals we are trying to achieve. Similarly, each member of the Parallel family can rely on others for help and advice. Anyone should be able to provide feedback on any subject. The person who is responsible for the work should take ownership over how to best execute, but that person should also take each suggestion seriously and try to respond and explain why a particular path may or may not have been implemented.
Generous people think about others and work towards making the collective better. We value caring for others and want to help each other succeed. Keep an eye out for others who may be struggling or stuck. If you see someone who needs help, reach out and assist, or connect them with someone else who can provide expertise or assistance. Demonstrating we care for people provides an effective framework for challenging directly and delivering feedback.
Be willing to accept feedback and suggestions for your work - nobody is perfect and we believe incorporating our collective knowledge and experiences will always lead to a better outcome. Be willing to take in new information with humility - every situation is an opportunity to learn something you did not know before or deepen your understanding of a familiar topic. Be willing to explain your decisions, particularly where you might act against suggestions. Stand up for your convictions, but keep an open mind for and be respectful of others. This is the best way to promote constructive dialogue and ensure we all are constantly learning and growing.
Never defend a point simply to win an argument or double-down on a mistake. The “right” answer will not always be obvious or simple, and you will likely have to search for it with help from others. We value your insights and believe a diversity of opinions and backgrounds leads to a stronger company. If you made a mistake, apologize as soon as possible. Saying sorry is not a sign of weakness but one of strength. The people that do the most work will likely make the most mistakes.
Be a person of your word. Do your best to set accurate deadlines and complete your work by those deadlines. If you commit to helping with something, follow through.
If you encounter a good idea - whether it’s your idea or someone else’s - promote it. It doesn’t matter if it’s in your area of focus or not. Stand up for the ideas that you think can make our Company, our product or our processes better.
Recognize the people that helped you publicly. When someone goes above and beyond expectations, make sure their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
We want to work on the right things, doing exactly what’s needed, without duplication. If there’s an opportunity to automate or streamline a costly process - make it better.
We should constantly evaluate the relationship between the importance of a process and its resilience, adding support whenever there is a mismatch. For instance, if only one person knows how to perform a critical business function, then it is time to teach someone else the process. No one person should have sole administrator access to a third party service. Any time an important process relies on a single person remembering to do something, it should be either automated or an email/Slack alert should be set up. Redundancy, fail safes and automation should all play a role in critical business functions.
If you encounter a question you can’t answer, search for the answer before asking for help. Even if you can’t find the perfect solution, the process of thinking through a problem, searching for a result and formulating a suggestion (even if incorrect!) demonstrates initiative and will help you grow. When you ask for help, make sure you write it down.
We document everything - in this Handbook, in meeting notes, proposals, retrospectives, etc. It is far more efficient to read a document at your convenience than to have to ask and explain. Make sure that what you write is available for others to easily find and contains the context necessary to be useful.
Consider the time investment you are asking others to make. For instance, try to avoid meetings, and, if one is necessary, try to make attendance optional for as many people as possible. Any meeting should have an agenda linked from the invite, and you should document the outcome. Instead of having people ask permission, trust their judgment and offer a consultation process if they have questions.
We value initiative and a feeling of ownership. If you see something that needs to be done, and you have the ability to help, then do it. Whether this is cleaning up a communal area, writing up a suggestion for a new user feature or helping recruit for an open position in a different department - your help is not only ideal, it is required. The phrase “not my job” isn’t something that should ever prevent you from taking on a task that needs to be done. Everyone wears many hats, hats that are communally owned by everyone.
The simplest (and most boring) solution is most often the best. The more direct, simple and easily explained a solution is, the better. Be generous to those employees who will maintain your solution or project over the long term.
Do not rely on “the way we’ve always done it.” We deliver on our promises to each other, our customers, our users and our investors, especially if that means changing things up a bit.
If you do not like an idea or direction, it is your responsiblity to work towards finding an alternative. We value strong, independent thinkers who will innovate absent oversight. We strive to give our employees room to own and control every aspect of their projects, which ensures autonomy and accountability. We prefer to give people total responsibility over a decision and to hold them accountable for those actions versus imposing rules and approval processes.
You can’t improve what you can’t measure, and you can’t claim success if you can’t measure success. On a personal level, you should agree in writing on measureable goals and then try to meet those goals. Your team, your department, and the Company as a whole should do the same.
If something can break, and breaking is bad, track it. If there’s an important process the Company relies on, make sure you can tell when it’s broken.
Decisions should be thoughtful, but delivering fast results requires the fearless acceptance of occasionally making mistakes. Our bias for action also allows us to course correct quickly when mistakes are made. We don’t take the easy path of general complaints without including and supporting the groups that can effect change. In short: innovate, iterate, err, improve and repeat.