Fostering healthy teams at Form3

Remote working· 2min November 21, 2022

Ensuring everyone feels they can ask for help is a key method to ensure employees feel safe at work and can have healthy team relationships.  

To make this happen, communication channels need to be well known by everybody, and we need to have the right tools for different type of communication. We need tools to unblock asynchronous discussions, tool for teams that span over different time zones and that allow flexible working hours, real-time tools to be used during a production incident, and the list goes on. 

In a fast-growing company such as Form3, where people and teams are constantly growing in number and responsibilities, it is crucial that everyone knows where to go for asking questions and for help.  Most of our service teams, have a "private" and "support" channel, the former is used by the team itself and it is for the daily "chatting", the latter is for people outside the team, and it is the place to go if you need help from a specific service team. 

To guarantee that messages in the support channel are not lost, every team has an internal on-call rota; one of the tasks for the internal on-call team is to give support to questions posted in the service "support" channel.   In addition to that there is an "<service>-support- on-call" slack handler that people are encouraged to use when they need help.

The basic protocol has tons of advantages:

  • First: you do not need to know the exact person to ping for getting help, the on-call handle will do it for you. 
  • Second: you are not afraid of disturbing a team, the internal on-call rota is set up to allocate people for external help. 
  • Third: the members of the team not in the on-call rota can focus on their tasks without any interruptions, and as fourth point, the responsiveness is great when you ask something, and you are guaranteed to get an answer! 

The right tools are important, but they are useless without a good company culture. In Form3 we foster: 

  • Positive communication over negative. There are problems and life is not always great but we look at things from the positive side.
  • Respect. We carefully choose the words we use.
  • Embrace diversity by design. Diversity is a value not a problem.

In a remote first company, there is a lack of live human interaction, being aware of it, be respectful, strive for positive communication and adopt small attentions can fill that gap. The internal service -on-call process is an example of the Form3's culture, that goes hand-in-hand with the definition of teams. 

The size of Form3's teams are kept quite small on purpose.  Small teams mean well defined scope and great flexibility. As individuals, it is easier to be seen and to get committed in a small team, as long as the team culture guarantees psychological safety. It is difficult to let individuals grow in large teams.  Thanks to the well-defined scope, a team oversees its own destiny. 

Written by

Andrea Rosa
Andrea Rosa Senior Software Engineer

Andrea Rosa is a Senior Software Engineer at Form3, based in UK.