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Motivational Posters Are So '90s, Our Values Are Not

In typical San Francisco startup fashion, we have our own set of “these are the things we stand by” company values. While we don’t aspire to churning out motivational poster-style blurbs, we do want to accurately reflect what’s important to our mission and vision — the principles that drive these forward. And, ok… Yes, these will likely end up on a poster of sorts. Just not the motivational type. And with way better design work.

Our last iteration of company values, circa April 2017, was developed when we were just a mere twenty four employees large. We took the initial values that Chris and David — the founding team — had developed and reworked them to make sense for where we were and the way we were growing as a team at that time. We landed on four values we felt would accurately portray our focus, drive our vision, amplify our hiring, and direct the way we engage both internally and externally. They were: Care Hard, Continuous Improvement, One Team, and Value People.

Fast forward two years and 450% employee growth later — these values feel ambiguous and redundant. We want a clear vision and mission, so what better time to carpe diem this than now?

New Year, New Values

We spent several months visioning, revisioning, and painstakingly bikeshedding our company values, with some key goals in mind:

  • they must be relevant, clear and well understood across the organization
  • they must represent our growth stage, and direct where we are headed as business
  • they must be directly useful, on a daily basis, to all portions of the company

Each value reflects the themes of establishing and fostering a growth mindset, being opinionated and willing to share and defend those opinions with data. Which nicely leads us to our first value:

For Every Developer

Sentry, first and foremost, is a company built by developers for developers. While we’re not all developers here, our product and mindset on how we build and grow is rooted in continuously thinking about our end user — the developer. Our main goal is to make Sentry and its features indispensable to that end user.

Work in Progress

We’re still a fairly small company, yet to become beholden to scrolls and scrolls of rules or strict chain of command. We often have much agency in developing the way we work, improve our processes, and add our own structure. We operate with accountability and ownership of our work, having flexibility to control chaos, while maintaining a responsibility to our peers and teams.

Pixels Matter

A successor to Care Hard, Pixels Matter highlights that while we will never achieve perfection, no small detail is unimportant. In fact, we live by them. To take the minute decisions for granted welcomes chaotic results and disorganization.

Step by Step

Step by Step is an iteration upon Continuous Improvement, that every incremental change and iteration adds up to bigger, meaningful outcomes. We continually build on previous work — changing course when necessary — while communicating and collaborating with others to make significant, longer-term impact.

Feedback is Priceless

It would be silly to think we could do all of this iterating and caring about details, with a high level of ownership, if we didn’t also focus on feedback.

To encourage and foster a growth mindset, we proactively give feedback that is constructive, mutually respectful, and sincere. We recognize we are never done with learning, that clear communication is a core foundation of building a successful team, and view feedback as a gift.

Value People

We cannot succeed without the people who work at Sentry — the experiences, depth of knowledge, skills, and opinions they bring to our continued growth. We sometimes disagree on the right course of action, but we respect each other and wholly commit to supporting the final decisions. And until we’re all replaced with a bunch of robots, we’ll continue Valuing People.

Putting a lot of careful thought and consideration into this process was important. These values represent our focus on our growth mindset and accurately represent who we are today, the journey we’re taking, and how we execute on our mission.

And let’s face it, if all of our employees are required to get our values in tattoo-form, the least we can do is make them not motivational-poster-like.

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