Communicating in Gizra
Let’s talk about communicating internally in Gizra.
Today, Gizra’s main office is in Tel Aviv Israel (GMT +2) with 13 Israeli employees that use the office in
varied ways, ranging anywhere from showing up 5 days/week during traditional work hours (~4 people) all the
way to working remotely and coming into the office once/week (~5 people). There is a lot of flexibility both
in work times and where employees sit and this is mostly determined by role and the person’s circumstances.
Gizra’s recent hiring strategy has introduced a wonderful group of distributed employees that form almost half
the company, span across 7 countries (North and South America and Europe), and several timezones. This has been wonderful for Gizra but it also comes with the need to rethink how we communicate with each other. This is very important and we ALL
need to be mindful of it. If you work per Gizra’s escalation process you should not be reluctant to initiate all the below forms
Tools we have available
This is where the project development is communicated.
The chapters about Pull Requests covers how to communicate
in Github. However, it is worth mentioning that the goal is to write liberally and make things easy to
understand so anyone, at anytime, located anywhere can read it, and know how to proceed. Note: communicating
with clients occurs in the issues, and not in the PR's.
This is where the group and most of the individual chats happen. Each channel should have an owner
to moderate and ensure that questions are answered and help given.
“general” channel - a place to say hi, watercooler talk, ask questions that make sense to ask the whole
Role specific groups like “devstuff” or “account_managers”.
Project specific groups. It depends on the project but most projects have two groups. The first for team
discussions, questions, or an ask for help that does not make sense to have in Github. The second group
usually named “projectname_github” is Github integrated for anyone who wants Slack notifications for Github
Other: fun stuff like “nuntius_talks” bot or anything else that someone would like to initiate.
appear.in / Hangouts
This is where video conversations (and if you prefer also individual chats) happen. Make sure you have a
working camera, speaker, and earphones. Not everything can be done in asynchronous communication. There are
times that conversational problem solving is needed. When meeting, turn on your video - visual queues
are important in conversation.
The ping (and pong)
Using the chat (Slack or Hangouts) is the equivalent of poking your head into someone’s office to ask if they
have time for a quick chat. Initiating conversation with a “ping” can be more effective than if you were
sitting in the same office because you are not disturbing the other person. A “ping” allows the person to get back to
you (with a "pong") when they have the 5 minutes for a short chat or conversation.
The written question
In cases that you need that quick answer to keep your work moving along, there is may be an advantage to ask the
question in chat instead of a "ping". It would be something like "Hey, how do I allow file upload for anonymous
users in RESTful?" (The answer is "Set restful_file_upload_allow_anonymous_user to TRUE using drush.") Writing the
question allows the person to know exactly what is required and will be able to provide an answer at their earliest
convenience. And you probably will receive a response quicker than a "ping."
There are various notification options for all of these tools so please use them. If you get distracted
easily by notifications then turn off the non-critical channels. However, don’t totally disconnect. Just
make that effort to peek-in once a day. You know best what works for you so make the time to set-up your notifications
to match your style of work.
It is not always easy to figure out who is in or out of the office. We encourage using the calendar to help
with this. Please make your Gizra calendar available for other employees to see and indicate when you are
“Out of the office” during your usual work hours. Your usual work hours are indicated in the company contact
list. You will see plenty of people indicating “Coming in late” or “Leaving early” or ”Day off” or “Remote”
(for employees who usually sit in the office). We are still working to improve this process.
Doing it better.
If the mixture of communication is not the most effective for you to get the job done, say something -
it may be as easy as asking the Account Manager to set 10 minutes aside every day to have a quick chat, and
use that time only if needed.
In person meet-up.
We understand that it is easier to maintain relationships remotely rather than build them. On occasion, we
plan to congregate the company to give that face-to-face time that makes working together so much easier.