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We work a sustainable pace on client work. We also reserve 20% of our working time for continuous improvement, which we call "investment time."

When taking time off during client work, we discuss how it will impact the schedule with other team members.

Sending off-hours communication may create an unintended sense of urgency with the recipients of the message, so we try to avoid creating that urgency when possible.

Unless actually urgent, we may ignore off-hours messages that we receive and handle them once we're back at work.


We make our money on consulting projects. Those projects start with sales and go through a normal flow of designing, developing, shipping, monitoring, and iterating. We want to do such a good job for our clients that they will want to poach us, and be such a great place to work that we can be confident our teammates won't leave.


Investment time comes from our value of continuous improvement. It is time for investment in ourselves, our company, and our community.

As consultants, if we were to spend all of our time working with clients we wouldn't have time for continuous improvement.


Primarily this means doing something that interests us like learning a new programming language, or reading an educational book.

The goal is to encourage individuals to improve and share their knowledge with the rest of the team.

Our Company

We want everyone at thoughtbot to actively participate in the operations and improvement of the company.

This means things like contributing to the Handbook and Playbook, working on company experiments, interviewing potential new teammates, contributing to our Diversity and Inclusion Council, or improving your office space.

Our Community

We benefit from both our online and offline communities. We want to give back and be an active member of the communities we belong to.

This often involves contributing to open source, organizing and attending community events, and volunteering at local charities.


We organize our investment work on the "Investment Time" Trello board.

Ideas for investment time:

  • Contribute to open source software.
  • Write a blog post. Manage it on the "Editorial Calendar" Trello board.
  • Pick from or contribute back to dotfiles.
  • Explore change to tools and process on the "Research" Trello board
  • Work on conference and meetup talks and proposals.
  • Volunteer as a mentor for Upcase, Metis, Galvanize, Dev Bootcamp, or RailsBridge, or another solid learning organization.

What does success look like for your project?

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