What | How | Why | Who | Jobs | More

The Synodalsoft Worker Guide

This document collects general advice for those who work in our team. We work remotely (each of us from their home) and asynchronously (each of us at their preferred time).

About this document

(1) This document is not legally binding.

(2) When you find something in this document that seems wrong, offending or misleading, please share your observation with others and suggest a fix. You can click on the Source code link in the footer of this document and start editing.

(3) This document uses pronouns like “he” or “his” as gender-transparent. The sexual identity or orientation of a person does not matter for our work and rules unless explicitly specified.

About our team

(4) We are a decentralized asynchronous home office team. There is no headquarter. There are no fixed office hours. There is no timetable.

The purpose of our work

(5) The purpose of our work is to increase the quality of the source code that we are maintaining. Every code change in a public repository counts, even the smallest one. Every idea, even the greatest one, is useless as long as it has not caused any change in a code repository.

(6) Note that source code includes documentation files. Writing and maintaining documentation is as important as writing program code.

Work contracts

(7) A work contract is a written and legally binding agreement between a worker and an employer.

(8) Parameters of a work contract include

  • The worker works at least XXX hours per week.

  • The worker responds within at most 24 hours to every ticket assigned to him.

  • Responsibilities and duties

(9) The worker works because he wants to contribute to the project, not because he needs money.

(10) The employer pays to the worker a fixed monthly salary because every human needs money for living.

(11) If the worker or the employer thinks that the salary is not just (either too high or too low), then he starts a dialog about this topic, suggesting a new number.

(12) In emergency situations the worker does his best to be available as needed.

Salary

(13) Regarding salary we will find an agreement that satisfies both sides because we are a synodal team.

(14) All paid workers work principally full-time. Your salary should be high enough for you to live a honest life. Do not waste your skills and energy and time in activities you merely do for getting more income.

(15) Your salary does not depend on your working time. It depends on (a) the estimated value of your skills for our team, (b) the available money and (c) your needs. These numbers get evaluated long-term.

(16) Because we work exclusively with Free Software, we expect people to contribute mainly because they want to do something useful, not mainly because they need money.

(17) Of course developers are humans who need money for living. We believe that writing good software is an art, and that software developers should work and get paid like artists.

(18) We pay our workers with a monthly fixed salary and in long-term relationships. We expect our workers to be motivated, inspired, to love their job. Of course they also need the patience to share their ideas and skills in our remote and asynchronous team. You decide yourself how many hours you work for Lino. Your working time and availability can vary in function of reality. If we decide to pay you a salary, you will usually get it in advance, at the beginning of the month. If you want to change the salary, you simply make a request and we discuss about it.

Working time

(19) When you work for Synodalsoft, then you should register your working time in Jane.

(20) When you register your working times, then do it rigorously and correctly. If you are not online when working, then take care of registering them as soon as you get online again.

(21) If you are tired, worried about other things, needed by other people, etc… don’t feel obliged to sit in front of your computer pretending that you are working.

(22) Inspiration is not predictable. If you have an idea that fascinates you, then work on it. When you work on it, create a ticket in Jane to share your idea with the team.

(23) Do not sit behind your computer more time than is good for your health.

Reporting

(24) Reporting about what you did is more important than the result of your work. If you fail to explain why you did something, the result of your work is in danger of getting lost because somebody else undoes it.

(25) Don’t be afraid of doing useless work. The only useless work is work you don’t share with others. If you worked a whole day on a series of code changes and then realize that “this is bullshit” and decide to throw them away: don’t be ashamed. That’s life. Formulate your initial idea and how you discovered that you were wrong, share your experience with those who might read your story in some far future.

(26) Get the habit of reporting what you did today before stopping your session. Stop working 15 minutes earlier than needed and write down what you did. Keep in mind that tomorrow you maybe get some urgent task to do, which takes a week, and after that week you will have difficulties to remember what you did today.

Priorities

(27) The priority of a ticket is meant to help you decide which ticket you should work on at a given moment.

(28) The priority of a ticket should be set by the team manager or the person who communicates with the customer.

Our goals

(29) Our common mission is to help other people with using Lino.

(30) We maintain Lino and adapt it to changes in underlying technologies

(31) We share the result of our work because we consider it a contribution to the public common.

Working calmly

(32) In our team we don’t only work remotely and asynchronously, but also calmly.

(33) Working calmly doesn’t mean you are lazy. It’s actually the opposite. A lazy worker gets active only when there is no other choice left. They believe that they are more efficient when they wait until the last minute because then they get the same work done in less time. Which is a false truth because it’s not the same work. A work done hastily, in “panic mode”, because the deadline was “yesterday”, is of poorer quality than a work done calmly. A lazy worker does only the visible part of the work, the one for which they can expect quick reward. But work is like an iceberg: the bigger part is hidden. A lazy worker avoids that part and hence leaves the most important work undone.

(34) Sometimes we get into an emergency and need to act quickly. But such situations are actually fun because they are an exception. When you are mostly living a calm life, then you are able to enjoy periods of excitement.

(35) When working calmly there is a series of challenges you should be aware of. For example the temptation to waste your energy in useless activities. Addictive habits are the enemy of calm work. When you are tired, then sleep – don’t watch movies instead.

(36) You have your to-do list. When you get stuck with some ticket, a day of garden work or house building can help you to do a system reset for your brain. But make sure to evaluate the situation after the break: Am I still stuck? If yes, how can I explain my problem to a teammate? A ticket marked as “working” should not stay without comment for more than 24 hours.

(37) The difference between a deserved break and useless activity is floating but fundamental. You are the only person in the world who can tell them apart. So don’t wait for your boss to kick your ass. You are responsible for how you use the 24 hours that are given to you every day.

Life versus work

(38) Life is more important than work. But work brings meaning to your life.

(39) Motivation is not always available upon request. But getting things done is fun. If you feel overwhelmed: get some small ticket done.

(40) Always do your best. Neither more nor less.