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Evolving notes on open allocation and Github management

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Evolving notes on open allocation and Github management

By Ben on 02 Apr 2014

These are my previously internal and incomplete notes from researching Github’s hierarchy and open allocation. I’m making them public to solicit feedback while I continue my slow research.

trifecta of culture

1. optimize for happiness

allow people to work remote (more than half of github is remote)

everything is asynchronous - log everything (chat, issues etc) “everything needs a URL”
- chat ops (launch servers, make graphs) : hubot becomes a audit trail

contribution guidelines

don’t separate, tools for everyone

no managers, teams self form, ship internally for prototype/testing
“cant’ get anyone else to work on something with you? its probably a bad sign”

2. first principles

problem? often jump to solution,

3. taste

build something thats beautiful and simple to use

buddy program for new hires
“boxen” setup app for new hires

no qa teams, every team is responsible for qa, integration etc

internal tools

write out what’s important to you


invest in employees makes fiscal sense
happy people produce better work
happy people help you recruit
happy people keep you happier

trust employees, help them out, check on every once in awhile

limit required in-person chat
everything is on chat, its logged

no technical meetings

Matthew McCullough

“create more value than you consume”

autonomous work
highly networked teams
self-directed assignments
asynchronous communication
people before profits

its not perfect
its not flat

Tom preston-werner
investing in humans is how to build the best company
pay enough to remove money as a motivator
pushing responsibility down (the chain) - ship it

Holman Keeping People
nobody likes the man
friction is frustrating

“I’ll use your product if you add my feature”

attachment to the unique
people like to stick around for interesting reasons
culture is not ping pong tables

open allocation

“your main job as the manager of that section is to communicate strategy, and then let other people determine what’s important in order to accomplish that strategy” - tom…

general notes

communicate with least common denominator
it can be harder to communicate over text, to get your idea into actionable points…

does it work?

other research

“There is no such thing as a structureless group,” Freeman wrote. “Any group of people of whatever nature that comes together for any length of time for any purpose will inevitably structure itself in some fashion.”… - Spotify Engineering Culture… - Olark