Strategy · January 2020

We created a Handbook

We love Handbooks but we never needed one. Now that we do, we might as well share it.

Rui SerenoBusiness Development

Sharing it now

Handbooks tend to feel like showing-off or even a struggle to exult some things which are hard to swallow sometimes. For this reason, up until this point, we had never publicized it or written about it.

And even though it has been there, at the footer of our website for quite a while, it sort of blended-in and never got much attention from visitors – which was intended.

We always seized our handbook as an internal tool. As opposed to facing it as something to be shared or leveraged as a marketing medium, we look at it as a lamppost, as a beacon for everyone at Significa to follow.

"The best Handbook I've ever read by a long way! It helps that I know it's all true as well."

Scott Shields, CEO at Shapelabs

Why are we sharing, then?

Frankly, because the ones who have read it, shown tremendous appreciation over it. It led us to believe we could actually share it as a fine way of giving back to the community. Yeah, we know, it sounds like a pretext but it isn't.

Anyway, we get a lot from the community: from the kind souls who open-source their repositories to the companies we look up to as inspiration (not only) while writing this Handbook – such as Ueno, thoughtbot, Instrument, amongst others – we're truly grateful.

And even though we have our own share of open-sourced code and design freebies, which we intend to progressively do more and more, we thought the Handbook could be one more component for reciprocity: may it inspire others, may we be glad.

On creating our own

We always loved Handbooks, but we had never found the purpose to create our own. It didn't even make sense to consider it at the early stages of the company when there were still so many foundations to establish. A Handbook was the least of our concerns.

And even though we would praise the really good ones such as Bakken & Bæck's or thoughtbot's, it was out of our league or even out of our needs.

But things changed and with a growing team, we felt a Handbook would become more and more relevant to solidify our processes, organisation, and our culture.

"Your Handbook is one of the greatest things I have ever seen."

Denis, Product Designer at Toptal

The Handbook

As more people joined in, the first thing we found appropriate to create was the Playbook, treating the important issues for newcomers, such as how we face remote work and responsibility, teamwork, career plan, time-off, amongst others. It kind of helps the new team members to get familiarised.

Then as we grew, we noticed we needed some sort of go-to, source-of-truth area for our work method as an effort to consolidate our processes. For that, we created Methodology which together with Project Management, would become the cornerstones of our work method.

Then there are a few other Process-related pages for Interface Design, Product Management, Software Development, Illustration, and Branding.

Such as the Handbook, our work methodology is never (nor will it ever be) set-in-stone. But again, noting each one of those processes down helped us securing cross-project, company-wide unity, and proficiency. And it really did!

These days we use it as a way to more easily convey knowledge and foster processes throughout the company.

Then we created Guidelines. And then again the keywords are consistency and consolidation.

Defining Folder Structure and creating Naming Conventions allowed the Team not only to keep things tidy given a certain convention but also to easily find whatever they need. Something that used to be quite an endeavour on itself, became very straightforward.

It actually became particularly mind-relieving – for one reason or another – when Designers or Developers gotta jump in-between projects or take over somebody else's work.

Likewise for Communication. Being the pillar of any successful project – at least this is what we believe in –, it became vital to make sure we're all guided by the same criteria. Things like ensuring we keep things on-point, politeness, iterativeness, and open communication channels, not only within the company but with clients too, turned out very efficient.

The same can be said about Notion PM Guidelines and the way we deal with Project Management, using Notion as the main tool to manage our Projects and Products.

Closing notes

The Handbook requires maintenance as things develop, or when something changes. It requires effort and dedication to keep it up-to-date but despite all that, it was a very successful push towards ensuring consistency as a company. A due effort to make sure we all follow the same processes, the same methodology, as a way to ramp-up unification, and again consolidate our company.

You can hit the Handbook here. Also, it is part of our open-sourced website, available here. Essentially, you can do whatever you please out of it.

HandbookConsolidation

Rui Sereno

Business Development @ Significa

Rui is one of Significa’s partners. That’s it, really!
Oh, we almost forgot! He’s the one you should reach out to in case you want to work with our team. We’re sure he’ll find a way to arrange that.