Internal Communication


1. Nothing is more important to NetFoundry than our team. The most precious thing our team has is focused time. Constantly improving communication and collaboration may be the single most impactful thing we can do to maximize focused time.

2. Awesome communication and collaboration are really, really difficult. They don't just happen. Awesome collaboration fuels edge innovation.


These guidelines help define the normal field of play, but the goal is not to force everything into a finite field. Almost any rule has exceptions - guidelines have few exceptions.

1. Respect first. Amongst the few things we don't tolerate is those who don't tolerate or respect others. Especially for asynchronous communication which may not properly show context and intent, do not write it if there is any chance that it can be viewed as disrespecting one of your team members. For edge innovation, we all need to be comfortable, willing to 'fail' and learn from it, and always pushing the envelope for 10x type improvements. Disrespectful communication can disrupt that culture.

2. Listen.  It is more difficult to listen, understand and digest, than it is to speak.  Listen, carefully.

3. Understand the what, why and intent of what someone is trying to communicate to you.  Question your own understanding before responding.  

4. Go deep. Deep communication (e.g. well thought out docs and videos) is difficult, but it is what shapes our strategy, decisions, focus and actions.  It helps you think, too.  Deep communication requires listening, thinking, being willing to be wrong and being welcome of being challenged.  If you are not producing deep communication, then you are not contributing to NF strategy, decisions, focus and actions as much as you could be.

5. Your communication needs to be a part of the solution.  Telling person (x) how you *think* person (y) could do their job better is not part of a solution.  Person (y) is in the boat with you - talk to  person (y), meaning listen to person (y), to understand whys and that context, you may be able to help person (y).

*Best practices*

Again, consider these guidelines to help define the normal field of play. It is all of our job to know when to go off the field and it is all of our job to continually change and improve these best practices.

1. Persistent communication. Almost all non-code persistent communication should be on Confluence or linked there (a Confluence page (or mini-site like Sales Playbook) can serve as an index to distributed content such as various docs stored on Team Root).

2. Actions listed only in messaging apps (e.g. text message, Slack, Mattermost, WhatsApp, voice, email, meetings) are likely to be lost or not well tracked.  Might be suitable for some immediate, low impact action which you know will be done very quickly.  Other than that, the action needs to be on mediums like Confluence, HubSpot and Jira.

3. Persistent communication and messaging app type communication go hand-in-hand: the messaging apps, used correctly, can be a great place to discuss the persistent communication, leading to improvements in it.  On the other hand long chats or meetings that are not linked to any persistent communication are often a waste of our time.

4. Practice.  Our communication and collaboration will waver based on any number of factors.  Same with our colleagues.  With awareness and practice, we develop some consistent habits which are less prone to change (but of course will still waver).  Editing the work of others, and asking others to review your work, is a form of this practice.

*Some links found useful by fellow NFians*

1. Non-violent communication

*5 favorites from Basecamp (see their nice list here) which helped inspire us to put ours into a page*

1. Writing solidifies, chat dissolves. Substantial decisions start and end with an exchange of complete thoughts, not one-line-at-a-time jousts. If it's important, critical, or fundamental, write it up, don't chat it down.

2. Speaking only helps who’s in the room, writing helps everyone. This includes people who couldn't make it, or future employees who join years from now.

3. Poor communication creates more work.

4. Communication often interrupts, so good communication is often about saying the right thing at the right time in the right way with the fewest side effects.

5. Five people in a room for an hour isn't a one hour meeting, it's a five hour meeting. Be mindful of the tradeoffs.