June 17, 2019
Are Traasdahl

The Way We Work

Crisp is a decentralized company. We are excited about the opportunities that this way of working brings, and we want to make sure we get a set of tools and processes that make  collaboration effective, enjoyable and scalable as we grow.

These are some of the things we strive for:

  • No unnecessary interruptions. Synchronous communication is used too frequently and interrupts the flow of work.
  • No calendar hell. In many organizations, calendar scheduling ends up being free-for-all and people are forced to block out time in their calendars to actually get work done. Typically, they will show up more or less prepared (because they had events back-to-back leading up to the event) and the work needs to happen in the meeting. This means work that could have been done by a single team member is done with multiple people just watching. People need uninterrupted time to work efficiently on their own and then collaborate only when it makes sense. I know many people who put fake meetings on their calendars just to get work done – that should never be necessary!
  • Decisions should often be made outside meetings. In the same vein, many organizations are unable to make decisions without having all stakeholders in a room. This is often a massive waste of time. First of all, we want people to be empowered to make decisions on their own as much as possible. Second, decisions that do need sign-off or input from others can be made asynchronously if the decision making background material is readily available.
  • Transparency and openness. A common theme in any organization is the lack of information transparency. Knowledge exists in people’s heads and is only shared in email threads or in-person meetings. This can become particularly challenging in a remote-only company. We want all information, except what’s explicitly confidential, to be discoverable by anyone in the organization. Excellent synchronous communication when needed. When the situation dictates that a face-to-face or direct chat is appropriate, the friction to initiate a session should be very low and the quality excellent.

Solving for everything in this list is already a tall order and it requires the right tools and processes. As we got started with Crisp, we agreed to spend our first few weeks intensively trying out new tools and ways to collaborate through them. Ironically, all team members were in the same New York co-working space during this evaluation phase, but we regularly physically spread out in the space to get a feel for how the different tools worked in practice. It was well worth the effort – after a period of extensive evaluation and “real remote” testing, we decided to cancel most of our planned trips to get together because remote work just works!

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