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Values

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Subject: Strapi's Values definition and practice DRI: Fanny Le Gallou Last update: Q3 2021 Expiration date: /

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Why and how do we set these values?

Our values are defined as behaviors we consider as positive for the healthy development of Strapi. They have an impact on every stage of our work, the hiring process, the decision-making process, and togetherness in our everyday interactions. They are a framework helping teammates to understand how we'd like to behave altogether in the organization and what to expect from each other. The values at Strapi have always been a fundamental subject that has been started very early on by the founders, then co-constructed with the team, and eventually came together through a round of interviews with a majority of current Strapiers.

Our values are set to encourage the behaviors that stem from our roots and also prevent dysfunctions in the company:

  • Conflicts: When frustration builds up, it creates tensions that may lead to friction or conflict. This can be prevented by "We all have short toes", "Question, disagree, commit and question again", "Assume positive intent".
  • Lack of commitment: When a teammate loses motivation or fear going against the status quo. This can be prevented by "Seek and provide honest feedback", "Question, disagree, commit and question again" and "Make sure everyone feels that they belong"
  • Low standards: One reason for the growing Strapi community is that we don't settle for average. This can be prevented by "Reach high quality through iteration", "Be result-driven".

Principles

What we passionately want for Strapi is to create a safe & healthy workplace, where any Strapier can strive and grow in happiness, trust, and confidence. These are not values, but outcomes.

From our values, we excluded some principles that are within Strapi's DNA:

  • Being user-friendly: Strapi is a piece of software whose current main users are developers. We should always try to put ourselves in the shoes of developers as a community, without forgetting content managers which are ultimately the end-users.
  • Being open-source: We all learned and used open-source software once in our life for free. Strapi is and will always be an open-source project, as we are building in the open to earn trust from our users, and to give back to the community. This is our philosophy since the early days of Strapi.
  • Being remote-first: We are building a team of Strapier that we want to be as global as the community of users. To do so, we are hiring and working globally and use preferably asynchronous communication.
  • Being people-first: A company is only as strong as its teammates and we passionately want to create a safe space where Strapiers feel comfortable sharing concerns, see opportunities for growth, feel respected expressing their opinion, believe in the core values of the organization, and are being treated fairly.

Updating our values

Our values are constantly evolving with the growth of our team. What is true at one stage might not be true with our evolution. Everyone is welcome to make a suggestion to improve them.

Because of a lack of time, we couldn't conduct interviews with every Strapier, but feel free to comment or reach out to Pierre Burgy, Fanny Le Gallou or Yves Do if you'd rather have a 1:1 to discuss values instead of commenting.

Genuine Humility 👂

We often say that the only thing we know is that we know nothing and that the more we learn, the less we know.

Humility is very genuinely practiced at Strapi as from the beginning it has always been very important for the whole team. As teammates, we value humble Strapiers who see and accept their own strengths and limitations without defensiveness or judgment. But being humble doesn't mean that you can't feel pride in your work!

Practice selflessness

Any Strapier's success is your success. You are ego‐less when you look for the best solution and blameless in problem-solving. You make time to help teammates and you share information openly and proactively.

Seek and provide honest feedback

We are open to sharing and receiving feedback to make honest requests on how to improve our togetherness. Feedback is a way for everyone to learn and is based on facts rather than opinions. We value kindness by giving sincere, non-judgemental, and constructive ways to evolve. When receiving feedback, keep in mind that feedback is the best way to align with other people and that people giving you feedback are genuinely expressing needs they have that you can help them fulfill.

"Giving feedback to others is an opportunity for you to make honest requests to them about how they can help make life more wonderful for you."

Be open to personal change and continuous improvement

We embrace and accept that our journey of self-improvement and growth will never end. Instead of making big changes at once, we focus on making small improvements over time continuously.

Learn from mistakes and successes in equal measure

We all do mistakes and we all experience successes. When it happens, we encourage our fellow teammates to share any learnings. The objective is to maximize the understanding of situations, which happens in experiencing both failures and successes. We prefer to celebrate learnings, not successes or failures.

People are not their work

We took this great example from the GitLab handbook: Always make suggestions about examples of work, not the person, by practicing empathy with non-violent communication.

We consider it is important to be able to look at your work from an external point of view. This will help understand that any remark or comment is in fact not aimed at you, but at your work. Remember: your past work is done, you cannot change it anymore. However, you can improve it for the future, and as a matter of consequence improve yourself.

Proactive Responsibility 🤝

Embracing the value of Proactive Responsibility means being accountable, being committed, reliable, and accepting ownership for one's decisions, actions, and behavior. Moreover, proactivity drives the performance and innovation of teams and organizations and boosts individuals’ well-being and careers. We value result-driven behavior, as we are in a fast-paced ecosystem and need efficiency and rigor to scale.

Be result-driven

What's the most important is not the number of hours you worked, but the impact of what you achieved: the code you shipped, the satisfaction of a user or a customer, the healthy growth of our team. Write measurable objectives to understand what success is. We use OKRs for that.

"I joined Strapi because I was looking for a healthy workplace, where I would build something that matters."

Own your scope and challenges

You are responsible for the tasks you are assigned. Being responsible also means we expect you to solve problems by finding, suggesting, and applying solutions. If you see an issue, take initiative to solve it or, if you can't solve it, proactively inform any stakeholders to find a solution together.

"We need everyone to be owning their subjects and be involved if we want the company to move forward"

Trust your teammate by having short toes

At Strapi, we encourage people to take risky initiatives in trying to improve things. As companies grow, their speed of decision-making goes down since there are more people involved. We should counteract that by having short toes (and avoiding being stepped onto them) and feeling comfortable letting others contribute to our domain.

The question, disagree and commit

One of the Strapier's biggest strengths is their ability to question themselves, partnered with the transparency to discuss any subject openly. Anyone can share their opinion and thoughts on any subject, including people who don't work at Strapi, through Code Pull Requests, or Social Media, for example. The Direct Responsible Individual (DRI) is the person who is responsible for making the decision, but they should always take each suggestion seriously and try to respond and explain why it may or may not have been implemented.

Once a decision is in place, we expect people to commit to executing it. We encourage you to wait for a certain amount of time to see if the decision was the right one or not. If not, any past decisions and guidelines are open to questioning as long as you act in accordance with them until they are changed. This is known as the disagree and commit principle.

Active Care 👐

Caring for others, our teammates, our community, customers, and for oneself are one of the stepping stone on which Strapi is built. We are deeply convinced that the development of Strapi could not be possible without the help of all these stakeholders, and to achieve results, we strive to create a safe and inclusive community and team where members can work together effectively and where they feel they can get involved. We believe kindness, positivity, and humor can move mountains, as we noticed positive outcomes each time these values have been showcased.

"The tools and help that is provided by the company are huge."

Assume positive intent

Always start from the idea that a person meant well or was doing their best, no matter what they say or do. When positive intent is first assumed, every person is given the benefit of the doubt and you give yourself the chance to learn more unexpected details of the situation. Assuming positive intent makes it easier for the other person to engage in a productive conversation rather than getting defensive, and therefore leads to increased efficiency and collaboration.

Be respectful of others' time with self-service and self-learning first

Time is precious as we have been reminded in the Extra Hour conference by Bao Dinh and in a fast-paced environment, we should aim to give time for actions bringing value and efficiency.

Team members should first search for their own answers in our Company documents, and, if an answer is not readily found or the answer is unclear, ask publicly, because if you ask yourself a question, there's a high probability that someone else asks themselves the same question. In some cases, it might make more sense to directly ask the DRI. Document any new information for better efficiency built on top of practicing proactivity and inclusion.

Be considerate of teammates' time when you organize meetings or ask questions. Practice self-learning and self-service. Prioritize asynchronous work over synchronicity. Try to avoid meetings, and if one is necessary, try to make attendance optional for as many people as possible.

Make sure everyone feel that they belong

On top of being a company, Strapi is an open-source product and a community. Strapi is also built thanks to a community of users giving us feedback, making contributions, and getting involved in many steps of our processes. We are a remote-first company, with team members from many different cultures and countries. We hire globally and encourage hiring in a diverse set of locations. We do our best to make everyone feel welcome and to increase the presence of underrepresented minorities and nationalities in our community and company.

This cultural richness is one of Strapi biggest strengths and is the internal answer to the multifaceted community of users and customers using our product. We believe that discussions among a more diverse group lead to better business outcomes as we incorporate diverse perspectives and uncover unconscious bias.

Encourage a family-friendly environment and time for self-care

We are a remote-first company so Strapiers can work from anywhere. Being remote-first makes it more difficult to separate professional life from personal. We encourage self-care by taking breaks throughout the day, disconnect from work, and make use of vacation days to relax and do a digital detox. We support parenthood with inclusive conditions and allow flexible working hours.

Measured Ambition 📈

Very early on, Strapi strived to be a major actor in its ecosystem. The open-source philosophy makes us an unavoidable product in the developer's world. The adventure is all about overcoming the challenge of creating a unique quality product while bonding together brilliant experts to create an awesome team. However, we are very cautious that our development is at all times in line with our values.

One image that we commonly use is that we are building a plane while flying in it. As Pierre says in his player's profile:

"There are two reasons why I wake up every morning: - Community: Making a product used by tens of thousands of users is extremely fulfilling. Receiving encouraging messages from our users motivates me to always do things better for them. We're not as impactful as an NGO but this is a good way to improve the lives of thousands of people. - Team: Seeing the team growing and people learning from their experience at Strapi is extremely gratifying." Pierre Burgy, CEO

Strapi's ambition makes us grow at a very fast pace, but our growth is controlled at all times, with a clear vision of where Strapi is going.

Growth mindset

We try to set a work environment where curiosity and continuous improvement are valued. We believe each Strapier can grow by developing skills, learning new ones, or from training or from others. Simply replacing "failure" with "not there yet" transforms them into opportunities.

We also build systems and processes for growth, through data analysis, experiments, and creative ideas. We set ambitious goals and try to explore new paths to seek more.

"Strapi is a place where I can learn, explore, and do lots of different things"

Reach high quality through iteration

To continue to deliver satisfaction to our users, we aim for high-quality deliverables, challenge ourselves and strive for continuous improvement. We try to reduce the cycle time by releasing quickly and often, and prefer to release regularly but quickly iterate to improve quality while implementing feedback.

"Strapi is a human and professional adventure. It's also a challenge to build a top-notch product in a complex ecosystem, with brilliant people with whom you like to work, while not taking things too seriously."

Advocate for our vision

We have strong convictions about how we consider the workplace: people-first, open-source, and remote-first. A company, like any organization, is as strong as the people who are part of it. We want every person who shares our values to feel great at Strapi, wherever they are in the world, and transparently.

Everyone can make an impact

Even though it feels like we are still a young company, we have an impact on many peoples' lives. We value result-driven actions and attitudes and appreciate inspirational teammates. We aim to make a significant impact in our ecosystem and to foster an environment where anyone can grow.

Default to Transparency 👁

Open-source is our DNA. We are a software company and also an open-source project, and therefore, we are open about as many aspects as possible. The Strapi repository is completely public as is our roadmap and our company handbook. We are transparent by default to build trust with the community, gather insightful feedback, and communicate strategic decisions. On the other hand, we don't over-share and adopt a rational approach when limiting access to information to balance our commitment to transparency with some specific situations like customer or teammate privacy or focus on results.

We ask for insights and follow our vision

We are always looking for insights, contributions and are in a logic of community-led growth. We regularly conduct surveys and our roadmap is public. We publish RFCs to ask for insights on the next developments and when we are doing a major change, we publicly communicate about it (cf RFCs). We do our best to include all feedback from the community and our teammates but we also make sure to stay aligned with our vision.

Transparency creates awareness

We share all information available within the company through Notion and all teams sections are available to every Strapier. The board meeting notes are also shared, as well as all numbers and decisions. We do so to allow deliberate participation of all teammates as we believe that seeking different perspectives always makes better decisions. We conduct regular surveys to allow a safe space for any questions, feedback, or suggestions.

Transparency has a cost, but the benefit is higher

Strapi communicates transparently within the company, using the GitHub company issues, Lattice, and other tools. Even though transparency has a cost (misinterpretation, distraction, defocus, information overload), we believe the benefit is higher in terms of motivation, hiring, retention, belonging, and productivity. We share feedback with candidates on why they have been rejected, do quarterly reviews, and share all internal survey results with the whole team.

Open Communication

We prioritize communicating in public channels, to lower the threshold to get an answer and maximize efficiency. We employ multi-modal communication (Slack, Newsletter, Monday Meetings, etc.) for important information to make sure the information is reached by all whatever their preferred workflow is.