An introduction to new Octonauts.

Welcome to Octopus Deploy! 😃 We're really glad to have you.

Starting a new job is a scary experience.

At your old job, you were probably smashing it. You knew all the people, you knew all the systems. You knew the history behind how decisions were made, and you knew how to get things done. You might've even been the resident expert on some critical thing, and there was always a queue of people waiting for your help. You were part of a team, and you felt like you belonged there - you didn't need to impress anyone. We probably hired you because you were performing at such a high level at your previous job.

And now here you are, on day 1 at Octopus as a new Octonaut, and you don't know any of that. You don't know the history behind things, you're struggling to remember all these new people's names. There are all these people around who sound smart and you're only understanding half the things they say. You really want to impress everyone, but you don't even know how to get the printer to work in the office, or what system we use for bug tracking. Where do you begin?

These are all normal feelings. You may have forgotten it, but you probably had the same feelings when you started your previous job too. In time, you'll learn all of these things, and you'll be back to your usual level of high productivity. Don't beat yourself up!

This handbook is your guide to life at Octopus Deploy. It explains what you can expect from us, and what we're expecting from you. We hope you'll find it a useful read and wish you all the best in your time at Octopus Deploy!

Your manager, and your buddy

When you first join Octopus, there will be two people you'll spend most of your time with.

Number one is your manager. This is the person who hired you, and who leads the larger team that you've joined. Your manager is responsible for training you, coaching you, and for your longer-term career development. Your manager is ultimately responsible for some important objectives that matter to the business. Your manager probably manages between 5-10 people, so you're a huge part of your manager's ability to achieve that goal.

In your first few days, you should spend some quality time with your manager. You should seek clarity around:

  • What is your manager trying to accomplish? What are their most important objectives? How that matters to the wider business? How do you fit into that plan?

  • What does your manager expect from you - this week, this month, this quarter?

  • What does your manager care most about? Is this a role where quality matters most of all, or where we're looking to iterate quickly?

You should also talk to your manager about you:

  • Your strengths (consider taking Strengths Finder - ask your manager about it), and how you like to learn. This will help your manager tailor a plan that works best for you.

  • How you like to be managed (what's worked best for you in the past).

The second person you’ll be spending a lot of time with is your buddy. Your buddy may also be your manager or more likely somebody else from your team. Your buddy is here to help you get off to a good start and to help when you get stuck. Your buddy should spend plenty of face-to-face or video time with you, and should probably check in with you at least once a day for the first few weeks.

Essentially, your buddy's goal is to fill you in on all the little things that we don't expect you to know! Need to print something, but don't know how to? Ask your buddy. Not sure where to find the bug tracker? Ask your buddy. How should you configure Slack? Ask your buddy. Not sure if the team does a daily standup? Your buddy is the person to ask. Your buddy carved out this time to help you and expects to be interrupted a lot, so make the most of it.

What we expect from you

Our expectations for all roles are pretty similar, and unless your manager tells you otherwise, you should assume that these apply to you too.

When you started, there was a 6-month probation period in your employment contract. Here's what we're generally looking for during this period:

"Is this person reliable? Do they turn up on time, do they work on the things they said they would?" 👍

We once hired someone who didn't turn up for 30 out of the first 60 days they were employed - each day was a different excuse or disaster... if you heard anything from them at all. Don't be that person!

"Does this person bring a great attitude to how they do their work - are they paying attention, learning, being part of the team, and slowly showing signs of improvement?" 😃

We don't expect you to be an expert yet. What we're looking for is some level of improvement - signs to say "Yes, this person is capable of eventually getting to where I need them to be."

That's it!

Notice what we're not looking for.

We're not expecting you to bang out a new feature, close 20 sales deals, grow trials by 20% or reply to 65 tickets a week. In nearly all of the roles that we hire, we know it will take at least a year to know whether you're capable of achieving the results we've hired you for. What we're looking for is all about attitude and behavior.


Here are some suggestions on how to thrive during the first few months.

Some things we do might seem dumb. It's quite possible that we did do something dumb, and if so, we want you to tell us! Make the most of being new. As a newbie, you'll see things from a different perspective and with fresh eyes. Take note of all the things you see that you think could be done better. But remember, there could be good reasons for why things are the way they are. Consider Chesterton's Fence, and try to find out why something works a certain way before suggesting a change. It can make your case much more convincing.

Don't go dark. This sometimes happens if you take on something that turns out to be harder than you thought. You struggle with it for a day, then the next day when talking to your team, you promise to get it finished today without admitting you're stuck. The next day, to hide why it's taken so long, maybe you don't turn up to stand up. Before you know it, it's been a week and nobody knows where you are (true story!). If you get stuck - and you will - just put up your hand. We are a team!

Meet lots of people. Your buddy will introduce you to various people, but you'll need to go out of your way. Set yourself a goal of having at least a 15-minute conversation with at least 10 people outside of your immediate team in your first two weeks.

Last updated