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Publishing the Octopus Handbook
1 min read

Publishing the Octopus Handbook

We published a public handbook for our remote-first company.
Publishing the Octopus Handbook

We're a bit over 70 people at the moment, and plan to hire quite a bit more this year. To try to manage that growth a bit better, I spent the last couple of weeks working on a complete handbook for the company, and decided to make it public. Check it out here:

The handbook covers everything about working here, such as:

  • Our vision and what makes us different
  • What we look for in the first few months when you join
  • How we think about remote work
  • Trust, responsibility and communication
  • Feedback cycles, career levels, and our compensation philosophy
  • Internal programs, like our laptop policy
  • How we're structured and who does what

Why write the handbook?

Since 2012 we always kept a Confluence wiki full of things people should know, but it wasn't particularly well structured, and as wiki's tend to do, it became a bit overgrown with weeds. I felt almost embarrased to point new people to it, and we couldn't share it with prospective hires. But I also didn't have a clear picture of what a better alternative would be.

Why make it public?

I knew I wanted to put a handbook together, but I spun my wheels a lot trying to figure out what it should include and where to stop. I then found Basecamp's handbook, GitLab's, and a few others, which really helped to think about structure and what to include/not include.

I really appreciate companies like Basecamp and GitLab for making their handbooks public, so it felt right to do the same, in hopes other companies will benefit from ours. Plus, it makes it easier to share with people who are interviewing with us to get a clearer idea of what it's like here.

What is it written in?

I started writing it in Confluence, but it wasn't a good experience and I tweeted about it. Lots of people responded with suggestions, one of which was GitBook, which turned out to be a really great way to write a book like this.  

Paul Stovell's Blog

Hello, I'm Paul Stovell

I'm a Brisbane-based software developer, and founder of Octopus Deploy, a DevOps automation software company. This is my personal blog where I write about my journey with Octopus and software development.

I write new blog posts about once a month. Subscribe and I'll send you an email when I publish something new.