This section outlines some of the key rituals in Octopus - the things you can set your calendar to.
"Kick-Off" is an event that we run once a year, where we bring the whole company together in-person for one week in Brisbane. International teams sometimes stay an extra week before or after as well, to spend time face to face.
Kick-Off conferences take place every year in Brisbane, QLD, Australia. The currently planned dates are below:
2021: 01 February - 05 February (Cancelled due to COVID-19)
2022: 07 February - 11 February
Having a company with remote team members all over the globe has its benefits. However, it can often be a challenge to ensure that everyone is able to work, communicate, and share important information easily and effectively. It's easy to avoid healthy conflict or leave important issues unaddressed in a remote environment. Bringing everyone together once a year helps to realign us.
The event gives you a chance to really get to know your teammates without a computer screen. You'll learn that Henrik is taller than you realized, that Shane has amazing stories to tell, and that your colleagues aren't just a 2D face on a screen. You'll start to feel like you work for a real company.
The event usually starts with a recap of the previous year, goals for the next year, and then the week is broken up into various things. There's a mix of cross-team sessions (e.g., customer success + engineering generating ideas to improve the product), intra-team sessions (e.g., sales team deciding priorities for the next year), and company-wide sessions (Q&A, unconference sessions, and more).
Kick-Off is an important time for your team, as it's often used to get together and have important conversations about goals and plans for the year that are hard to do over Zoom. So while we know it can be difficult and sometimes you won't be able to make it, as much as possible, everybody is expected to attend Kick-Off conferences for the entire week.
Flights and accommodation will be arranged for interstate and international team members, by the Finance team. You'll hear more about it as each Kick-Off approaches.
You can gather a lot about what's happening across Octopus by lurking on Slack channels, but it's exhausting. Sometimes it's nice to just get a high-level overview of things that are going on outside of your team.
We run a "TL;DR" (Too Long, Didn't Read) meeting every Wednesday morning over Zoom for the whole company. It's usually just short presentations - typically 5-10 minutes each - about what's going on. We encourage teams to present something at least once every couple of months. We aim for a really high "signal to noise" ratio, and for content that's generally useful or interesting to everybody, not anything too technical.
TL;DR takes place every Wednesday at 10:00 am Brisbane time. Each one is recorded and the recording is posted to Slack afterward.
After the TL;DR on Wednesday, which most of the company tunes into, we also often run a knowledge sharing session or two. These tend to be more technical in nature and go into more detail about how something works or how to do something. Examples in the past have included how to write automated UI tests, how to write high-performing database queries and to use our ORM, and more.
The Engineering and Customer Success teams follow Basecamp's Shape Up model for how they organize their time and cadence. Even if you're not involved in engineering, CS, or product development, it's good to know the timelines.
The Shape Up schedule uses six weeks of focussed work, then two weeks of "sharpening" time - time to work on unplanned things or things that we might otherwise not find time to do. If you ask an engineer about a feature, they might say "we're working on that this cycle" - now you'll know what that means.
Every 3 months, the Senior Management Team put an internal magazine together called "Shipped". It highlights people who started recently, celebrates wins, and gives a breakdown of what's happening in each department. It's a great way for everyone to zoom out and understand what we're up to overall as a business. Shipped is also shared with our board and external advisors.
Shipped is posted to #announcements in Slack when it's published, and you can search for old copies there, or ask Paul for a copy.