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Communication

To achieve effective collaboration with trust, it's essential for each of us to practice clear and transparent communication as well as documenting things well. This document explains our communication values and current actions for smooth and trustful communication.

Communication Values

In all styles of communications, we'd like to be:

  • Transparent.
  • Thoughtful.
  • Constructive.
  • Direct.

Be Transparent

Secrets breed suspicion, and transparency breeds trust. Most of our communication must be public to any one of Flattmates, regardless of team borders.

  • Slack channels are public by default, and DMs are seldom used unless there's a clear need.
  • Meeting notes should be available as possible regardless of the size of the meetings, and they should be public by default.
note

Even if Slack logs are as public and meeting notes are as public as possible, one still can't catch up on all the updates of other teams ― that's just the way it is. One's time is limited. Information gaps, especially for detailed work of each team, will happen to some extent.

So, what if the logs are not public? One possible future is that intransparency of communication may make us more likely to create information gaps. This potential force field to information to the information-gapped culture is what we want to avoid by transparent communication.

danger

There are some types of information that must be private: customers' properties, PII, and any other sensitive information that may threaten customers or us if leaked. If you mention those types of information, you MUST follow our security policies.

Be Thoughtful

Remember that our product is built by a collaboration of persons with different backgrounds and perspectives, not machines without hearts. Thoughtful communication is the bedrock of strong and conflictless relationships.

note

One may offend another without bad intentions due to the language barriers/cultural differences. How can we reduce such a situation? Any thoughts?

Be Constructive

Proposals, discussions, and even questions are for moving products and business forward, not for attacking a person. Constructive communication is a way to achieve that and preserve positive relationships between us while addressing problems.

Be Direct

Each of Flattmates has a different linguistical background. Indirect ways of communication are sometimes complex for someone to understand. Direct expressions are preferred.

Communicate Asynchronously

Channels

We use the following channels for asynchronous communications:

  • Our Slack workspace
  • Our GitHub monorepo

Notes on Asynchronous Communication

  • You are not expected to be available all the time, and you shouldn't expect others to be available all the time. There is no expectation to respond to messages outside of your planned working hours.
  • Make use of reaction features of each platform if you feel something positive. Just a reaction like 👍 🎉 will motivate others. Note that some possibly negative reactions like 🤔 👎 may make others feel anxious about it. When you have questions or a feeling of wrongness, please prefer writing texts to reacting with emojis.
  • Feel free to ask as many questions as you have. What you can't understand is what others can't. Found unclear and undocumented things? Ask the experts to make it clear and document it with them. Note that the experts have their own tasks, and it's subject to everyone how he/she prioritizes the tasks.
  • Reply back with a deadline when someone asks you for something. Answers like "will do", "OK", or "it is on my todo list" are not helpful. Just replying with a deadline will help your colleagues to plan their next actions.
  • Consider spending a few minutes to complete tasks to help other persons move forward. Your 5 minutes may remove project blockers and make us more successful.

Communicate Synchronously

Regular Meetings

We have the following regular meetings:

  • Casual Chat & The Daily Kanban Meeting at 12:00-12:20 every weekday except Friday
  • Follow-Up Meeting at 16:45-17:00 every weekday
  • Company-wide Monthly Meeting at (TBD) every month
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The definition of regular meetings is subject to change. It will be split on a per-team basis, following the business growth.

Casual Chat & The Daily Kanban Meeting (12:00-12:20 every weekday except Friday)

  • Purpose
    • Team building & communication with other depts.
    • Address progress obstacles
  • Primary Language: English
  • What you need to prepare to join: N/A
  • What we discuss/share
    • Current status of one's current tasks
    • Obstacles to one's current tasks
info

Even if you find any project obstacles that need to be addressed soon on Fridays, you don't need to wait "Follow-Up Meeting"! Let's start to discuss it soon on Slack or GitHub.

Follow-Up Meeting (16:45-17:00 every weekday)

  • Purpose
    • Address progress obstacles
  • Primary Language: English
  • What you need to prepare to join: N/A
  • What we discuss/share
    • Current status of one's current tasks
    • Obstacles to one's current tasks

Company-wide Monthly Meeting (every month)

  • Purpose
    • Share the view of "as is" and "to be" of each department (including professional service dept.) among all employees
  • Primary Language: Japanese
  • What you need to prepare to join: N/A
  • What we discuss/share
    • Recent achievements of each department
    • Current strategy and upcoming actions of each department

Working Sessions (As Needed)

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TODO