X-Teamers are incredibly diverse in so many ways, from skillsets to beliefs and beyond, but our core values are a baseline of attributes that we all share. They are the most important characteristics we look for before welcoming anyone into our community, and they are critical to making X-Team successful for many years to come. Thus, we decided to write down these characteristics and personal values, so there's never any doubt what we're all about.
"Keep Moving Forward" is more than a tagline for us, it's our #1 value, it's the heart of who we are and what we believe. Since the beginning, the people we've always wanted to be surrounded by are those who are always actively driving all aspects of their life forward. It's inspiring, it's motivating, and it's an energy unlike any other when you gather people from all corners of the world who share this core value.
Whether it's in our personal or professional lives, we strive to always be moving forward. We are not just human beings, we are human becomings. Whatever we can be, we must be, as Maslow said. We wake up each day and live by these three words so that we may push ourselves, those around us, our communities, and our world forward toward greater potential.
In our daily work, we showcase our forward-moving lifestyle by staying proactive.
The British Dictionary defines "proactive" as “tending to initiate change rather than reacting to events”. That is exactly how X-Teamers behave in their natural environment — remote work. We don’t wait for things to happen, we take control of our work, project, and situation and act.
Here are more ways we stay proactive with our work:
- Driving projects forward: You don’t wait for that next ticket to get assigned to you; when you see a potential for improvement in the project you’re working on or a new feature comes to your mind, you’re the first to reach out, propose it, fix it, and do it. You are in control.
- Becoming Unblockable: Remote work can be tough. All of us have had situations where we had to wait 12+ hours for someone to answer our question, clear out our doubts or just finish that task we’re dependent on.The key here is to do as much as possible in any given situation. Don’t just ask a question and leave it — propose a solution in the meantime, code something alternative that could solve the issue, show that you are proactive beyond the obstacles of being remote.
- Be Adaptable: We all love technology, but that doesn’t mean any of us have to be that “I only do PHP/JS/Java” developer. We appreciate being open and adaptable to solve any given task, no matter the technologies and obstacles that we’re given. Every opportunity we’re given is an opportunity to learn and unleash our potential in new ways.
- Not Needing Your Hand Held: There is a certain period in every project’s life when you’re the new recruit. Put yourself in the shoes of our partners — they need someone who can come in, take the initiative and hit the ground running in every project. They don’t need someone who needs to have their hand held through everything. It’s good to ask questions to remain ‘unblockable’, but always keep pushing forward as much as you can and never wait to be told what to do.
- Be Iterative/Reflective: Everyone makes mistakes. The best ones reflect on them and progress in the next iteration. Take the time to reflect, learn and stay humble — no one’s perfect, we are always evolving and becoming better than we were yesterday.
- Constantly Improve: Be hungry for more knowledge and expertise. Improve your skills and craft through courses, lectures, going to meetups and conferences. Keep the saw sharp. This industry is constantly changing, and only those who change alongside it will have the most rewarding careers.
When you have a community as diverse as ours, it's essential that respect is at the center of everything. We've spent 15 years doing just that, and it keeps us moving forward.
Respecting others -- their boundaries, backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, genders, etc. -- and always making others feel comfortable is paramount to us and is one of the most important values we uphold.
It's important that if you ever feel uncomfortable, disrespected, or experience toxic energy that you let us know. No one has ever been punished for telling us when they feel this way. We have a strong track record of taking immediate action. Inform your team manager, X-Team Ambassador, or even our CEO.
In fact, hear from X-Team's CEO, Ryan Chartrand, about the importance of respect at X-Team:
There is more to Active Communication than just building an awesome community, however. Keeping your comm lines open builds trust.
Since X-Team is 100% remote, we cannot — and do not want to — constantly watch what you are doing. We abhor the practice of requiring people to install privacy-intruding software that spies on what they are doing at all times. We do not count minutes you have spent working every day, nor should you.
Instead, we believe in trusting people. Period.
We hired you after all, why shouldn't we trust you?
There are four things that can help you maintain and strengthen that trust every day.
- A journal of activity A Slack channel kept by every X-Teamer, where they record their daily progress, as well as anything you notice that's worth documenting.
- Make yourself visible and available. Say "hello" to your team when you start working as it sets them at ease knowing you're connected and contributing. We don't expect you to work 9-5, but if you set expectations with your team to be available at a certain time, stay true to your word or reset expectations as soon as you can. Never leave your team hanging as they'd never do that to you.
- Sincerity and openness towards the core-team Their job is to make things go smoothly, so if there is *anything* you feel they should know, tell them. Nobody has ever been in trouble for professionally bringing up issues so they could be solved, be it regarding the project, their X-Team experience, or something else entirely.
- Being active on Slack Through the vetting process, the core-team has come to trust you. Through your participation in your team, they will hopefully grow to trust you as well. But at the end of the day, we're a rather large community, and it never hurts to have more friends you can count on, so be active on slack, respond, react, and have fun with everyone :)
Our community places a huge value on both letting people know they're appreciated and on giving constructive criticism when necessary. Everyone loves giving and getting high-fives, but if there is something that can be improved, that should be communicated as well. You will never get in trouble for giving constructive criticism, and if you need tips on how to do it with one of our partners, talk to your manager. However, if you'd still prefer to remain anonymous, talk to @Luis, and he'll pass your concerns on without mentioning who they're from.
Another feedback outlet is the questionnaire that's part of the invoicing process.
Finally, twice a year, we send out a big request for feedback to all X-Teamers - we really take these seriously, and while it's not mandatory, filling them out would be much appreciated.
The remote teams that last the longest protect and promote empathy at all times.
When you communicate primarily through text, it's very difficult to know what others are going through. It also becomes very easy to react to others emotionally, negatively or overly critical.
Empathy is about stepping into the shoes of your teammates before giving feedback or engaging in discussion.
When we do this, we are reminded that communication is about more than knee-jerk text messages **that are easy to send; instead it's about being thoughtful, respectful and taking the time to respond as if that response was coming to you and how you'd want to hear it.
Empathy quickly erodes on a remote team when you don't make the effort to 'inject' empathy into your team regularly. This is primarily done through jumping on a call with your teammates to check in on everyone and have more human interaction so you can all be reminded that you're a team and not against each other.
Sometimes our emotions get the best of us, and we let go of empathy. It's up to all of us as teammates to help promote empathy and bring others back on board by showing them selfless compassion and support.
Being a true X-Teamer in terms of ownership means that you are:
- Taking responsibility When you take something on, whether it be a new project, ideas, solutions, etc., you should treat it like your own and take pride in it, seeing it through from conception to completion. It's your baby, so deliver it and care for it like you would a real child.
- Committed Your motivation might change over the course of a project, but it doesn't mean you should start putting in less effort. When you committed to doing it, you made a pact with yourself that said: "I will see this through, I will keep moving forward, I will unleash my potential, because I believe in making an impact in this team."
- Uphold quality We've learned a lot from the world of open source. X-Teamers are developers who code like the world is watching, like you're submitting a PR to a project with 10,000 stars on Github even if it's just a team of three. This is your project, and it deserves nothing less than 100% of what you can provide it. Don't get lazy, stay committed to yourself and what you believe in.
We believe that the key to a great career, relationship, project and just about anything that you want to have long-lasting success is to focus more on consistency than intensity.
This shows itself in a many ways, here are a few examples:
- Build habits, not Instagram posts: We don't go to the gym hoping we'll go three times and then quit. The goal with anything with positive outcomes is always to build a habit, not to simply do something long enough to get a social media post out of it. Building a habit takes commitment, consistency in all aspects of our life takes commitment, focus on learning how to activate the side of you that doesn't listen to excuses. That's what this community is here to inspire you to do.
- High intensity activates burnout: Always remember this. Your goal each day is to build and maintain momentum, not burnout. If you go all-in on Monday to catch up, remember that Tuesday will need to account for the burnout you activated the day before. Monitor your output and strive to pull yourself back toward consistency whenever your intensity gets out of control.
- Focus on your mental health: The key here is finding the right balance of consistency and intensity that allows you to be high-performing and retain strong wellbeing. We'd always rather you take a path of consistency, but for some of us a few days of intensity followed by toned down days of consistency can strike a great balance as well. Find your balance.
Helping others makes everyone feel good. It is one of the most basic human instincts, developed out of the raw need for survival. We were lucky enough to be born in places and situations that enabled us to become what we are today and to be able to give back to our communities and the world at large.
You were meant to make an impact in this world, and we want to help you do just that every day.
This is why we strongly believe in and act on the two types of Compassion.
External Compassion targets other people’s external circumstances. X-Teamers and X-Team both try and help as many people as possible, directly, through organization and participation of various charitable events, like coding schools for the underprivileged, talks at schools, general charity work, and also monetary donations to charitable causes. Even improving one life is worth it, and every little bit of difference we make gives us more conviction that what we are doing is the right thing to do.
Every year, you can participate in the 12 Days of X-Mas and help us donate to great causes you believe in.
We are all here to support one another, and it's one of the main reasons X-Team came to exist. X-Team is not a 'single player' experience; we help each other learn, grow and explore every day by sharing knowledge, showing compassion and reaching out to help and cheer others in the community on.
We also show gratitude to those who help us. Our #appreciation channel in Slack is one of the most inspiring places in X-Team. Our goal is to populate it without as much positive energy as possible. Make gratitude a habit and embrace it.
We are not just human beings, we are human becomings, which is why we believe in creating an environment that promotes personal and professional growth. That's also why we have dedicated a yearly Unleash+ budget for you. You have USD 2,500 to spend every year for the purposes of self-development. Whether you need an online course, a book, to experiment with a new tool that has some paid subscription, a trip to a conference, you name it — we’ve got you covered.
We encourage you to embrace learning and fully support you in:
- Learning new technologies: We really appreciate X-Teamers who aren’t narrow-minded about their craftsman toolbelt. Your project required you to learn Vue.js, and you’re a hardcore PHP guy? Guess what, there’s nothing that says more about a developer than their versatility.
- Learning from mistakes: Learning doesn’t mean that you have to only look into the future. It’s very valuable to look behind and retrospect on your actions. This is where the journal you created during your onboarding comes in handy — use it to post retrospectives on projects or even just your week. Always be searching for lessons you can learn in the work you’re doing.
- Staying curious: This is where your creativity comes into play. During your time with X-Team, we would love for you to learn and grow as a professional. Use your Unleash budget wisely and share your knowledge with other X-Teamers. Gain experience by always trying something new and encouraging others to do the same.