20200820:04 - Wait, the GitLab Values are real?
Reflecting on the reality of the GitLab Values
It's easy to get hurt by a company when you're an employee: you devote hours a day of your life, for years and years, into building trust in the company's culture and beliefs. As you become more engaged in how the company runs day-to-day, you get a sense for how people operate, what their beliefs are, and these are different to what you thought when you started working for them.
Often a company has a set of "values" - or worse: a Steve Covey style "Mission Statement", but they don't actually live it. It's just some bunch of statements that the C-suite came up with on a management retreat in the early days of the company, and doesn't reflect how decisions are really made. So you learn to not trust these "values" or "mission", or at best to look at them as shallow attempts at aspiring to a direction.
GitLab is different.
It's becoming clear to me that the people working for GitLab have pre-selected themselves as employees, precisely because of their relationship with the Values
- They read the Values when deciding if GitLab is where they'd like to work, and those values resonated
- As they work here, the Culture is to always be contributing to improving the way GitLab works. This includes improving the Values
The commit history for the Values page bears this out: sure many of the updates are site-wide, but also the commits include changes within the Values page, to clarify a point, or to add a nuance. You can go through this history to see that this is actively updated, not just maintained like a cathedral.
It means that the Values are important to people in GitLab. They are the mortar that binds the building blocks, and they matter.
Part of being a distributed/asynchronous ("remote") team means that there is an online guide for how to operate at GitLab. This makes the Values (as well as other parts of the how-to-gitlab which is the Handbook) a reality. If it were different to what is written down, how would people communicate that? There are no secret shared offices, everyone's in the same position of working with online communications in the main, and face-to-face being the exception. So what is online is what the truth is, and when it's wrong or different, then it's updated to conform, rather than saying "oh, well that's what the values say, but actually...".