1 Jan 2020

We created a Handbook.

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

Handbook cover.

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 publicised 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. Instead of facing it as something to be shared or leveraged as a marketing medium, we look at it as a lamppost, 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, the ones who have read it have shown tremendous appreciation. It led us to believe we could actually share it as a fine way of giving back to the community. Yeah, 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 UenoThoughtbot, and Instrument, amongst others – we're genuinely grateful.

And even though we have our own share of open-sourced code and design freebies, of 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 never found the purpose of creating 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 culture.

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

Denis Jeliazkov

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 plans, and time off, amongst others. It kind of helps the new team members become familiar with each other.

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 a 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.

As with 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 secure cross-project, company-wide unity, and proficiency. And it really did!

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

Significa handbook

Then, we created Guidelines. The keywords are consistency and consolidation.
Defining Folder Structure and creating Naming Conventions allowed the Team to keep things tidy given a certain convention and easily find whatever they needed. Something that used to be quite an endeavour in itself became very straightforward.

Actually, it 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 ensure 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 also with clients, turned out very efficiently.

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.

Rui Sereno

Managing Partner

Author page

A long time ago Rui decided to put his glory days as a designer behind his back to embrace the Managing Partner role at Significa. Now, no one knows exactly what he does when he’s not playing Nintendo. He believes himself to be the deserving Significa 2020, 2021, and 2022 Cook-off champion and is having a hard time acknowledging the truth.

We build and launch functional digital products.

Get a quote

Related articles