Valla is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, colour, national origin, age, disability (physical or mental), sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, marital status, and political affiliation as well as gender expression, mental illness, socioeconomic status or background, neuro(a)typicality, or physical appearance.
We put forth this code of conduct not because we anticipate bad behavior, but because we believe in the already exceptional level of respect among the team. We believe that articulating our values and accountabilities to one another reinforces that respect and provides us with clear avenues to correct our culture should it ever stray. We commit to enforce and evolve this code as our team grows.
The code of conduct applies to teammate interactions in various areas of our shared professional lives, including all events hosted by Valla, shared online spaces (Slack, email, etc.), social media, pull request feedback, and conferences or other events where we represent Valla.
Every member of the Valla team is expected to work smart, be considerate of their teammates, and contribute to a collaborative, positive, and healthy environment in which we can all succeed. Specifically:
- Be supportive of your colleagues, both proactively and responsively. Offer to help if you see someone struggling or otherwise in need of assistance (taking care not to be patronising or disrespectful). If someone approaches you looking for help, be generous with your time; if you’re under a deadline, let them know when you will be able to help or direct them to someone else who may be of assistance.
- Be inclusive: Go out of your way and across cultures to include people in team jokes or memes; we want to build an environment free of cliques. Avoid slang or idioms that might not translate across cultures, or be deliberate in explaining them to share our diverse cultures and languages. Speak plainly and avoid acronyms and jargon that not everyone may understand. Be an ally to teammates when you see a need.
- Be collaborative. Involve your teammates in brainstorms, sketching sessions, code reviews, planning documents, and the like. It’s part of our values to share early and ask for feedback often. Don’t succumb to either impostor syndrome (believing that you don’t deserve to be here) or the Dunning-Kruger Effect (believing you can do no wrong). Recognise that in addition to asking for feedback, you are similarly obligated to give it.
- Be generous in both giving and accepting feedback. Feedback is a natural and important part of our culture. Good feedback is kind, respectful, clear, and constructive, and focused on goals and values rather than personal preferences. You are expected to give and receive feedback with gratitude and a growth mindset.
- Be respectful toward all time zones. Embrace habits that are inclusive and productive for team members wherever they are: make liberal use of asynchronous communication tools, document syncs and decisions thoroughly, and pay attention to timezones when scheduling events.
- Be kind. Be polite and friendly in all forms of communication – especially remote communication, where opportunities for misunderstanding are greater. Avoid sarcasm. Tone is hard to decipher online; make liberal use of emoji and GIFs to aid in communication. Use video hangouts when it makes sense; face-to-face discussion benefits from all kinds of social cues that may go missing in other forms of communication.
The Valla team is committed to providing a welcoming and safe environment for all. Discrimination and harassment are expressly prohibited. Furthermore, any behavior or language that is unwelcoming—whether or not it rises to the level of harassment—is also strongly discouraged.
Additionally, there are a host of behaviours and language common on tech teams which are worth noting as specifically unwelcome:
- No surprise if a teammate isn’t familiar with something: It’s always acceptable to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand.” All questions are great questions! So please don’t act surprised when people aren’t familiar with a tool, person, place or process. This applies to both technical things (“What?! I can’t believe you don’t know what the stack is!”) and non-technical things (“You don’t know who DHH is?!”).
- No exclusionary language: Be careful in the words that you choose, even if it’s as small as choosing “hey, everyone” over "hey guys". Sexist, racist, ableist, and other exclusionary jokes are not appropriate and will not be tolerated under any circumstance. Any language that is unwelcoming—whether or not it rises to the level of harassment—is also strongly discouraged.
- No subtle -isms: Much exclusionary behavior takes the form of subtle -isms, or microaggressions – small things that make others feel unwelcome. For example, saying "it's so easy my grandmother could do it" is a subtle -ism with tones of both sexism and ageism. Regardless of intent, these comments can have a significant demeaning impact on teammates. If you see a subtle -ism, you can point it out to the relevant person, either publicly or privately, or you can ask your manager to say something.
Please don’t say, “Comment X wasn’t sexist!” or “That’s not what they meant. You’re being too sensitive.” Similarly, please don’t pile on someone who made a mistake. It’s not a big deal to mess up – just apologise and move on.
Reporting a problem
These guidelines are ambitious, and we’re not always going to succeed in meeting them. When something goes wrong—whether it’s a microaggression or an instance of harassment—there are a number of things you can do to make sure the situation is addressed.