Handbook

Playbook

Our mission is quite simple: to build great Digital Products and have fun along the way.

Your first day

So you’ve gone through the hiring process, your contract is signed, and you’re finally here at Significa. Congratulations and welcome 🎉

Read along for a more in-detail overview of who we are and how to settle in.

Setup

Your job demands the best tools available at any time.

We’ll provide you with a computer, a monitor, accessories and any software you need to do your job as well as possible.

But that's not all, there's a few other things to get out of the way right on your first day:

  • Get introduced to everyone;
  • Get an office tour;
  • Get an office card key;
  • Get your e-mail & shared files setup going;
  • Set your e-mail signature;
  • Get your profile photo taken at our photography studio;
  • Get your own Segg;
  • Get your Significa sweatshirt for the Winter or just to look dope;
  • Get your software licenses and account invites to get you up and running;
🔗In case you have any further requests, go ahead and make use of the Equipment Request List.Go to Equipment Request

Background

A little bit of background story and context never hurt anybody.

How it all started

Significa was founded in 2014 by Pedro, El Patron, Brandão. In 2015, André joined as a Designer and, sometime later, so did Rui.

At one point, we decided that in order to excel at something, we'd have to focus. So we decided to pivot our services to what we do best and gradually steer away from pure Graphic Design.

Left: our first real office. Right: meetings room of our second office.
Left: our first real office. Right: meetings room of our second office.

New projects were coming in and the urge to hire new people arose. We were sort of scared at the time, nevertheless, we took a leap of faith and we hired Mariana, who's been with us ever since.

More people followed and now you are part of it as well. Hopefully for a long time.

Current office
Current office

What we do

As of the day this Playbook was updated, we're mostly taking in client products. It means we're helping other people build their products and turn them into great, sustainable technology.

Generally speaking, we create Digital Products from their inception to launch. From Business Model and Product Strategy to Design, Development and Go-to-Market. Anything that lies in between, we're here to nail it down.

You are one important piece of that in-between, a gear on this (sometimes, not so) perfectly oiled engine.

🔗You can have a deeper insight into our services at the Services page or further on this Handbook.Go to Services

Who we are

Simply put, we are a company full of passionate people who love the products we create.

We're so fortunate to have a team of people who's onboard to take the extra mile and put their best effort towards a common goal: making Significa a better company. With all it entails.

We want to be successful together and we want you to be part of it.

Hierarchy vs flaterchy

We hate hierarchies, we really do. We're not a military organisation, we're all normal civilians, working at a Software agency spending the majority our time together, in the same space.

Why not make this time meaningful?

We value everyone's opinion, we incentivise everyone's insights, we care about what you have to say. This company is yours to steer and groom. You have the power to manage your time, to communicate with our clients and to make decisions for yourself.

Most importantly: we hired you because we trust you.

Side-companies

We're not alone at the office. We share our space with Coletiv and Adamant.

For your understanding, Coletiv is a Development-only agency which caters for Back-End, iOS and Android Development. On the other hand, Adamant is a cyber-security agency founded and funded by Significa and Coletiv together.

Maximum freedom, maximum responsibility

We don’t believe in micro-managing nor top-to-bottom hierarchies. This means you’re in charge of your work, and that it’s up to you to make the right decisions.

Don't get us wrong, we will mentor you and we will help you whenever you need.

However, with maximum freedom comes maximum responsibility. Because you are responsible for managing your time, you must be accountable for delivering high-quality work within the given timeframes.

Scope of Work

Those timelines are not imposed. As a matter of fact, you'll be asked to make your own estimates for the projects you'll be assigned with. We want to make sure you are comfortable with the Roadmap of the projects you'll be working on.

Working Remotely

You'll get the chance to work remotely when you want to. Sometimes working from home is beneficial – a bit of extra focus and a pinch of peace outside of the office rush can be refreshing. It could also be the case that you simply wish to work from elsewhere, on a different environment. That's fair too, as long as the Sprints are completed and a few other things are ensured:

  • Check with the Team to figure out whether they need you in person. We want to be flexible to everyone, but sometimes we need you at the office;
  • Make it easy for the team to get in touch with you and let them know in case you plan to be out of reach for an extended period of time;
  • Be sure to have a good internet connection and, if you plan to be in a different timezone, make sure there's a decent overlap with our core working hours in the office – 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM GMT;
🔗If you're well-acquainted with our working methodology, you'll have everything you need to work from anywhere.Go to Methodology

Flexible Hours

We know that people perform best when they care deeply about their work. Detailed lists of tasks to complete each day are tedious and demotivating. At Significa we encourage the flexibility to manage your time and avoid squeezing your creativity into a 9-to-6-time slot. All we care about are the Sprints. As long as they get completed, we're cool!

Making Mistakes

Nobody has ever been fired from Significa for making a mistake.

Providing autonomy both to explore and to fail is an important trait of ours – we couldn’t expect so much of individuals if we also penalised them for their mistakes.

Every mistake can be repaired, made up for and we'll be here to have your back as long as you don't keep on making the same mistake over and over again.

Career Plan

We want everyone to feel included and we encourage every team member to contribute in their own way to Significa. We want everyone to feel proud of their contribution to our common goal: to make Significa a better place to work at, every day.

T-Shaped People

We hire people we believe in. People who we think have a broad set of skills.

These are people who are both skilled at a broad set of valuable things but also experts at a specific aspect. We want excellent professionals but social skills are not less relevant. We value your capability to interact with other people, being able to work together, collaborate, deal with clients and be part of the team.

On top of this, all of us can be Project Managers as long as we want to. In fact, each new project gets a different PM depending on its specifications and scope.

🔗Do you want to become a Project Manager yourself.Take a look at our guide

This is a key recipe at Significa. The fact we can count on you to do (almost) anything confers extra flexibility within our Team.

This is why our career plan is generalist, in fact, most of the same career plan fits both Designers and Developers.

Contract Policy

Each new Team member gets a 6 months contract to start off with. We want to make sure both parties made the right decision and 6 months seem like a reasonable period of time to assess it.

Once the first contract period is over, we follow-up with a 1-year contract. A no-term contract will come next.

The Plan

The Career Plan is a set of Technical and Social competences that dictate where you stand amongst the Team. Its purpose is not to set people apart, but instead to provide you with something to look up to and to motivate you to improve every day.

Teamwork

Building great digital products requires diverse perspectives. At Significa we embrace a diverse but inclusive culture and are committed to providing equal opportunities to all, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion or any other aspects of appearance, background or personality.

Even though we have fun together, we don’t tolerate any kind of disrespectful behaviour, discrimination or harassment.

Experiment

Serendipity and spontaneous discovery are at the heart of all creative thinking and are some of the cultural pillars of Significa. We believe that good things come from experimentation, random ideas and "just trying things". We incentivise a creative environment and an experimental playground.

Communication

There is no such thing as oversharing or over-communicating when working in a team of people spread across multiple projects. Share your work with the team as early and often as possible, and say too much rather than too little.

Make use of Slack or feel free to reach out to anyone personally. Just try not to disrupt their focus.

Ask for other people's feedback and opinions, it will turn out valuable and will help you improve the overall outcome of your work.

Your work, our work

We understand you're proud and attached to your work. We want you to feel like that, it means the work has been well done, looks great and you are proud of it!

With that in mind, we believe in giving attribution and we encourage you to publish it at your own portfolio and personal platforms just as long as you reference Significa.

Embrace Chaos

We’re a small company with many people trying on different roles.

Even though we're trying to unify processes and clarify methodologies, sometimes there will be friction and chaos. If you feel that something isn’t working the way it should, it probably isn’t and we should do something about it. With your help, we can pinpoint those issues as early as possible and adjust accordingly.

A lot of progress is being made thanks to everyone's commitment towards making Significa a better company.

Our home, away from home

Our workspace is our home away from home. It’s where we explore ideas, hang out, eat lunch, have meetings, discuss the best strategies and create digital products. Take good care of the space, groom it and treat like you treat your home.

Get out of your seat and move around the space – it’s good for you. Put on your headphones or find a quiet spot if you need it – we've got plenty.

If you find something that we could improve or change, share it, and we'll change it together.

Do you reckon we need more plants? Let's fix it.

🔗Actually, you should record it at our Suggestion Box.Go to Suggestion Box

Grooming Significa

We want you to feel you are part of Significa. We hate the feeling we are just one more tool amongst others. We want you to feel valued as you, indeed, are.

Group contribution

Contributing to Significa processes, hiring, improving workflow, amplifying your colleagues, or creating tools and publish open-source projects are grandly valued.

We deeply encourage you to walk a step further and take the time to work on such things as it means you are making a tradeoff versus an individual contribution. We appreciate that.

Would you like some time away form project to do it? That's cool. Let's arrange that.

Team Spirit

Besides technical contribution, we praise those who can lead the pack at a social level. Having people who carry the team spirit-forward on a daily basis, integrating people into the team deeply impacts the amazing working environment we are all so proud of.

As we said, we want the office to feel like home, not only just a place to work from. We want you to be yourself and to feel comfortable.

Addressing Clients

Clients are paramount. After all, they keep us running. Always be respectful and treat them with the care they deserve. Never keep them in the dark.

Mother Tongue

Our working language is English, that's why this document is written like so.

We speak Portuguese at the Office, but because most of our clients are not Portuguese speakers, you won't be able to use it elsewhere. If you're not good enough at it, don't worry, we'll subsidise language classes.

Want to learn Mandarin as well? Cool, just ask.

Direct Communication

As a result of Maximum Freedom, Maximum Responsibility. We trust you to handle direct communication with our clients. We fight against formalities and unnecessary middleman. They end up causing delays and being a burden after all.

You're free (and encouraged) to iterate directly with the clients, share your work and address on-going project issues straight away.

We trust your judgment to communicate effectively, politely, with problem-solving driven approach.

Don't ever let a client unanswered. You don't need to stop everything you're doing to reply to them, but don't forget to do so in a timely fashion.

🔗Find out more about our communication policy.Go to Communication

No no-sense

We want to make the clients satisfied, it is of grand importance.

However, the client isn't always right. In such a scenario, it is our role to explain and demonstrate why they are not correct as well as provide evidence and demonstrate with examples of how things should be done instead.

Our role is to help them build a better product, not to cope with non-sense. In the long run, hopefully, they will be pleased. Or so we wish.

Perks and Recreation

We don't do team-building events because we believe a team gets built on a daily basis. We give perks and organise recreational events because we enjoy doing stuff together.

Perks

We value a healthy work-life balance, and we strongly encourage 40 hour work weeks  –  not more. As a team, we are continuously developing our set of perks and benefits together, based on both the needs of individuals and the team as a whole.

For now, here's what you can count on:

  • Unlimited learning stipend for courses, conferences or anything to help your little grey cells;
  • Daily food allowance;
  • In-house arcade;
  • Every equipment you need;
  • Flexible working hours and location;
  • Daily fresh Soup, Fruit and Bread;
  • A whole lot of other groceries at your disposal in the office;
  • Health Insurance for you and your kids.
🔗Anything missing at the Office? Take at stab at our groceries list or simply let Catarina know.Go to Groceries List

Recreation

On top of those, on a regular basis, we organise team events.

Here's what we've done so far:

  • Karting;
  • Escape Rooms;
  • Paintball;
  • Occasional whole-team dinner;
  • Every Thursday beer at the bar;

Company Retreat

Every Year, we gather the whole team for a few days elsewhere away from the office. We sing, we dance, we eat, we drink, we play, we bond, we do it every year. It is optional, but you won't want to miss it.

Speaking about work is strictly prohibited. If you fail to comply, it can result in penalty fare or prosecution 😂

Time-off

There will come a time when you'll enjoy your well-deserved time off. However, there are a few things to consider, especially when the Portuguese law gets trickier.

Therefore, there's a couple of things to take into consideration:

  • All the holidays/time-off's must be communicated prior to the end of April – by order of the Portuguese law;
  • You are entitled to 22 Vacation days per year;
  • In order to do so, please make a request to Catarina;
  • Any time-off must be approved – there are multiple people in the team and we cannot afford to have everyone on vacation at the same time;
  • Enjoy it, forget about work, chill out and brag about it to other people on Slack 😎.

Closing Notes

This document isn't complete nor will it ever be.

If you feel something is missing, which it is, feel free to make suggestions, we'll work on it together.

🔗You can either let us know personally or make an entry at the Suggestion Box.Go to to Suggestion Box