The playbook you're reading right now is possibly our longest-standing internal project, and we put a lot of care into keeping it relevant and up-to-date. Here's everything you need to know to contribute to it effectively!
A bit of playbook history
We've always had a playbook of some sort, since Nebulab's inception in 2011. Originally, it was just a GitHub Wiki with a bunch of basic information, such as the Wi-Fi password for our offices and some engagement rules around which music to play on office speakers.
As we scaled and hired more and more teammates working from home, we evolved the playbook into a much more refined knowledge base about our work principles and practices and open-sourced, because we liked the accountability that comes with that sort of transparency, and because we thought it might be useful for other consulting and distributed organizations. Eventually, we also gave the playbook its own website!
Over the years, the playbook became a testament to Nebulab's culture and vision—it's an incredibly strong way to promote ourselves as an employer to potential candidates and an invaluable onboarding tool for new hires.
Descriptive, not prescriptive
We like our playbook the same way we like our promotions: descriptive, not prescriptive. We don't update the playbook when we want to change something; we update it when we've already rolled out the change. In fact, we often wait a few weeks for new policies to fully take effect before adjusting the playbook.
While this might seem counter-intuitive, we have found that updating the playbook continuously with experimental policies and initiatives could lead to a lot of confusion both for potential candidates and existing employees. Moreover, we've been in business for more than ten years and our core principles are fairly stable, so we don't need to change things that often anyway.
The playbook is most often updated as the result of a new initiative or policy change, or when someone finds a typo or a piece of content that became irrelevant/outdated as we all learn about things and change our minds.
External and internal playbook
Here and there, you may find some references to our "internal playbook" (we sometimes call it "private playbook" or "Notion", because that's where we keep it).
This is a second playbook that's only accessible by Nebulab employees. It contains information that is either too sensitive or not relevant for the outside world: this might be anything from our current consulting rates to long and detailed reference guides about how exactly to track your PTO hours. In general, if we don't think a piece of information will be useful to others, we keep it in Notion.
Sometimes, we also use Notion for information that is bound to change quickly, perhaps because it's still experimental. When that's the case, we will eventually move it to the public playbook once it becomes an official policy. That's what we do with internal RFCs, for example: they start off as a Notion document, and they are then moved to the playbook when they become fully effective.
The external and internal playbook are complementary, and we're constantly moving stuff from one to the other as the company evolves. One day, we might even decide to join them together, so stay tuned!
Contributing to this playbook
Contributing to the playbook is very easy: just open a PR on our public GitHub repository—all of the content is in Markdown, so you don't really need a lot of technical expertise. Someone from the team will review your PR and merge it.
We welcome contributions from both employees and outsiders, although employees are even more strongly encouraged to review the content every now and make sure it's consistent with what the company actually looks like!