Skills do not tell the whole story. Values play a crucial part in who we are, what we give back to the community, and who we invite on a journey with us.

Have you ever asked yourself what being a good developer really means to you? We did. Critical thinking, eagerness to tackle problems, and trying out-of-the-box solutions — these are the things good programmers enjoy. You also probably became a programmer yourself because of the urge to come up with new ways of doing things.

This natural curiosity multiplied by an almost obsessive drive to get to the best answer, all this sprinkled with a dash of constant need to learn new things — this is how we describe being a good developer. We’re looking for these traits when welcoming new engineers. If you’re curious about our hiring process, check out this blogpost: “The art of hiring developers”.

Skills are necessary, but they do not tell the whole story.

We recognize the need of hiring the individual more so than their hard skills. In 2021, we’ve grown into a company of 70+ people. We are growing and welcoming more and more amazing individuals to our team. We see that our values play a crucial part in who we are and what people we want to invite to join our journey. That’s why we analyzed our whole organization with the aim to transform our ephemeric culture into verbalized values that we can use to support the individual growth of each one of us.

Similar to us looking for the “right cultural fit”, you are looking to join a group of like-minded people and a forward-thinking company that offers you way more than just a well paid job.

Want to find out if we will be vibing? These are SoftwareMill vibes: who we are and what we believe in. 

Rooted in the IT community

We enjoy doing actual engineering work and the coolest thing is that we want to share it with the world. We are herd animals, just waiting to join IT communities and wade through the thickets of conferences and meetups' jungle to connect with others who share similar experience and interests.

SoftwareMill grew out of the Polish IT community. We are true to our roots every day. The community is what we value, support, and contribute to.

SoftwareMill founders were active members of the Warsaw JUG and Confitura communities, so naturally, our Team has always been actively contributing to professional IT communities. We are members of various IT circles focused around Scala, Java, DevOps, Machine Learning, or Blockchain. As a Team, we’ve organised 7 editions of Scalar conference since 2014. Our event is the biggest international conference on the Scala Language in Central Europe.

When putting ourselves out there into the community, we want to share our knowledge, empower our teammates who want to lead by example, and encourage technical diversity. When we are seen and appreciated, we know we're doing the right thing.

We choose events where we find extraordinary people, high-quality talks (here’s the playlist with ours), and fantastic atmosphere. This is where we can most comfortably wear our DevSkin and talk to people (not) only about programming ;)

Do you also like sharing your knowledge, inspiring and being inspired by other people's stories?

Conferences, meetups, workshops, hackathons, open-source contributions, technical blogs — we’re almost everywhere. If we’re ever in the same space, say “Hi”, let’s meet!

Values our team holds

Transparency and trust

SoftwareMill the way it is wouldn’t be possible without the trust and transparency we’re committed to. These values are the backbone of collaboration, accountability, engagement, and quality of our work.

When you’re joining us, you experience absolute transparency where everyone has access to all information (including finances) and a bottom-up hierarchy where everyone contributes to decision-making.

Instead of delegating tasks, we delegate responsibility. Mutual trust gives everyone a sense of purpose and keeps us together.

When we started in 2009, it was not a usual approach to run a business. No managers, flat structure, 100% remote work. Both we and our clients appreciate that we play open cards, it helps us build and foster stronger relationships and grow with an agility mindset.

How does it show in our daily work?

Transparency: We assume that all the communication within a project needs to be accessible to everyone. Whenever we communicate with a client, we try to use the channel accessible to everyone in the team (a public channel on Slack instead of a private message, using CC when sending an email or simply debriefing the rest of the team). Access to information gives us the necessary freedom to make choices in our projects and beyond. Everyone who feels they can contribute can make strategic company decisions and shape the path we’re taking as a company.

Trust: Trust helps us reach common goals and share honest feedback with each other. This is an asset we build to push ourselves to grow, to resolve conflicts in a healthy way, and to feel accountable and engaged. We work 100% remotely, but no employee tracking software was, or ever will be, used here. Jarek, our senior software engineer, is the best person to tell you more about our experiences: “The real reason you need a screenshot monitoring software to track productivity of your (remote) team.”.

Empowerment and self-organisation

Empowerment is one of the most important factors for engagement, higher productivity, and happiness at work. We believe that sharing knowledge is a driver of empowerment.

The joy of programming is that you feel rewarded after solving a problem​. We freely share our individual know-how to enrich the “mind” of our organization and experience more of it, more often.

Sharing knowledge comes to us easily, as does talking about sports or traveling or gaming. We’ve built a set of channels and tools to freely exchange our expertise inside and outside SoftwareMill. Learning from others and sharing our accomplishments and failures allows us to be self-organised and build a high sense of ownership and responsibility that gives everyone greater satisfaction from their contributions and work.

eBook Proven remote plays to organize and accelerate your team’s work >>

How does it show in our daily work?

Empowerment: We allocate autonomy and responsibilities in a bottom-up way, so everybody can do what they are good at or start their own initiative. When you join us, you can take control and responsibility for your own ideas. From day one, everyone is given the power to participate in decision-making: we are not dividing the project into independent areas where people work alone, so developers can better exchange their know-how, skills, and experience.

Self-organisation: Our self-organisation works on two levels: the commercial projects level and the company level. In the first one, in our self-organising team there is no buffer between you and the client, which usually creates lots of unnecessary communication noise and you can be sure to have more impact on the project. When it comes to running SoftwareMill, self-organisation means that you can take on any role in the company if you have the skills and willingness to do so.

Engineering ethics

Self-development is a big part of our DNA. Ambitious projects, interesting challenges, and always raising the bar — these things keep us going. We are a tech company, so naturally, widening technical horizons is our priority. Not only do we practise and learn constantly, but we also teach (Softwaremill Academy), create (Tech Blog), and contribute (our open source projects).

“With our OSS projects, we are committed to improving areas in the Scala ecosystem that could use simpler or better thought-through APIs. Our code is well-engineered and solves real business problems. We highly appreciate the response and contribution we get back from the community.” - Adam Warski, SoftwareMill CTO

Understanding the big picture that is shaped by technology allows us to give honest feedback, and both assist our clients in improving business processes, and grow as individual developers. Technology isn’t an industry, it’s a method of transforming reality and it changes fast. Our goal is to not be left behind, while still doing the things we enjoy and are proud of.

How does it show in our daily work?

On a daily basis, we anticipate common challenges and provide solutions in the form of open-source, technical content and architectural patterns. This is why we invest heavily in gaining new skills and keeping up with tech trends. Bet you’re also doing so to deeply understand some of the aspects of languages or technical nuances.

Besides becoming certified in various technologies, running internal workshops on Akka, Scala, Blockchain or Machine Learning, we practise several meeting formats to foster the development of our skills together. Great examples are: the Software Architecture Discussion Group or the Soft Skills Discussion Group (as we strongly believe that our growth is not limited to technology).

Genuine connections

Our mission at SoftwareMill is to create the best remote workplace for developers.

We are a people-focused company: we listen, learn from each other, and act. We foster connections to improve collaboration.

Everyone has different needs, ways of working and communication and our daily goal is to create a friendly environment that enhances the potential of each one of us.

How does it show in our daily work?

Since you spend a significant part of your life at work, it’s much better to collaborate in a group of people who simply like each other. To foster connections, we use variety of meeting formats:

  • we meet daily on whole-company Chrum meetings,
  • weekly on smaller Donut meetings,
  • once a month, we all meet together, go to dinner or a party, make company-wide decisions, conduct retrospectives and workshops,
  • finally, there is an annual company weekend away which is always a surprise from the founders, we never know where we are heading until we get there.
    Here is how we were staying connected during lockdowns and here’s the lineup of our meeting formats. You might ask: Why do you meet so often? We like getting to know each other while doing fun activities and trying new things together. Everyone can join, but doesn't have to. Our last meeting in July was attended by 63 people, it was our record!

Remote work freedom

The remote work option is the highest priority for developers when assessing a potential employer. According to Owl Labs, 16% of companies in the world are 100% remote. We are one of them :) We know that the flexibility and mobility of working remotely attract talented individuals who are looking for something that goes beyond a typical office job. It’s a win-win situation as we get access to the best talent pool.

Remote work comes with pros and cons. Pros are the freedom and work-life balance, where cons are distractions and loneliness. We’ve managed to work hard — not hardly — remotely very successfully for 11 years. We started as a fully distributed company and we have a solid onboarding system to show for it.

How does it show in our daily work?

We start from the hiring process to make sure the right people join by checking if they have good communication skills and are passionate about their work. We believe that simply liking what you do makes us immune to distractions, wherever they may come from, and happy to be back to work each Monday. We have no common office and all of us work from places we like best. Usually, it’s our homes or co-working spaces (here’s how to set up your home office). However, some of us do not hesitate to take a workation. We love the flexibility and freedom of working remotely, but still we follow the rule of spending around 6 hours a day working synchronously and emulating office work remotely. We are remote work advocates and there’s a lot of content we share to help everyone with their remote journey.

Want to wear DevSkin with us

Interested in joining us in our exciting journey?
We’re always looking for curious programmers to become a part of our team, join us! If you’re already vibing with us, it’s a sign!

Blog Comments powered by Disqus.