About the Small Improvements team
We build one product and we build it well. Our customers love us and recommend us to their peers. That’s how we grow. We’re by no means perfect. But we’re good at listening and improving, and our customer support team has you covered.
Charisse De Torres
Full Stack Developer
Director of Marketing
Our other pillar is our Customer Facing Team. It’s organised into 3 subteams as well: Success, Sales & Support, and Marketing. But at a size of just 6 people, the department still feels like one single team.
All teams are hiring by the way — check out the careers page!
To enjoy work and get things done, you need to be able to focus. Unlike many startups we decided against an open space office. Open space looks cooler at first, and it certainly makes for hipper office shots, but the noise even at our initial studio just wore us down.
We want to encourage team communication that doesn’t disturb the next team, so we chose an office with many doors. It balances team rooms (for 3 to 5 people), meeting rooms, and shared space like a living room and two kitchens. Take a tour of the office here.
Activities and Details
We’re working hard at building the greatest feedback tool on the planet. And we’re standing on the shoulders of giants! Check out our tools page to learn more about our tech stack. Hint: React, Google Cloud, and more! Also, learn more about us on our tech blog!
Work Life Balance
We don’t do overtime. We’re fine with part-time work. We don’t mind home office either. We believe everyone should be able to take time off at short notice, and that family is more important than work.
At the same time, we love our work, and we’re passionate about what we do. We hire people who love our approach and we make sure we’re not doing too much grunt work. Sometimes boring work is necessary, but most of the time we’ll improve processes until boring work can be automated. Which in turns also helps with work-life balance.
What’s with the weird name?
True revolutions rarely go as planned. And when it comes to actual improvements, most work best when applied incrementally. Small improvements are an important cornerstone in lean manufacturing like for example Kaizen (Wikipedia).
The name was inspired by Per’s time at Atlassian. There were always tons of big projects and important mission critical features on the Confluence roadmap, so there was little time for all the small things. Ultimately only the intern’s time could be spared, and to make it sound more glamorous, he was named the “Small Improvements Team (of one)”.
We have rarely gotten a better return on investment!
Important-sounding company values and ethics manuals don’t stop a company from tanking. So we haven’t set our values in stone yet, and we’re not developing a 64-page ethics manual either.
But if we develop official SI values some day, they will likely gravitate towards “transparency” and “change.” We feel it’s important that everyone knows the company goals and how we’re trying to achieve them. We share our financials, product decisions, and hiring plans internally all the time, and sometimes even externally. For instance check out our startup blog for financial insights.
And one common sentence you’ll hear a lot inside SI is “be the change you seek,” which we stole from Atlassian’s values (who in turn borrowed it from Mahatma Gandhi’s famous “Be the change you wish to see in the world”). So rather than complaining about things that suck, we expect everyone at SI to fix problems wherever they run into them. Build server is too slow? Improve the code, or buy a faster one. Website looks ugly? Find a designer who can help. Customers complain about bugs? Tell a developer to squash those bugs!
We also avoid working with clients who have a bad reputation, or whose business causes more problems than it solves. For instance, we routinely reject companies with ties to gambling, porn or risky financial products (“loan sharks”), and we’re often double checking potential buyers if we believe they might have a bad track record regarding environmental issues, gender inequality, corruption, etc. We’re not pretending to save the planet single-handedly this way, but if everyone pulls their weight, all these small things do add up.