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
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
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.
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,
improving our internal tooling,
or contributing to our DEI Council.
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
- 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,
Dev Bootcamp, or
or another solid learning organization.
We maintain a sustainable pace of productivity.
When a team become tired and demoralized, they get less work done.
We achieve a higher pace over the long-term by ensuring that we maintain an
even productivity level over time.
Working a sustainable pace doesn't mean that you never work longer hours.
Instead, a sustainable pace means that you have the energy to surge when it actually matters.
In our work, there will certainly be times when it is important that we do this,
and we have the energy and flexibility to rise to the challenge.
Some excellent ways to maintain a sustainable pace:
- Avoid arbitrary deadlines
- Don't let estimates become deadlines
- Embrace the natural rhythm of the week for planning purposes
- Practice continuous deployment