A couple of years ago, the leadership and founding team were involved in many operational-tactical matters. The main reason was all changes happening in the industry and some pivots we were making in terms of market segmentation and value proposition in order to have more success stories while crafting software platforms.
Our 7th anniversary as a business was the right excuse to take our cultural basis and redefine some elements. The company was evolving to a more exciting time, with more considerations and a fortified culture. The number 7 had great symbolism, as a number it means reflection — a time to reflex and think about the past, present and future. So we did it. And we assessed the backbone of the company: our cultural statements and ethos.
By the moment we revisited the formal writing of all our cultural artifacts, taking other organizations as a reference — both in business and social ecosystems— we found there were things we needed to amplify and extend in communication to the entire team, customers, and the industry. Some of our team members were questioning in a good sense some previously defined elements, and the main reason was because of the discoveries and operational things happening in the company. We didn’t have the chance to stop, breathe, and write down all those confirmations. What I confirmed when the crew was talking about this, is that you are also testing and validating your product, mission, and even the vision. What remains all time, is your purpose — that’s what we used to articulate our new version of culture.
Philosophy translated into a company culture
With my business partner, we concluded on the best approach to fill those gaps in the explanation of our purpose, so we extended the original objective from a regional area to a more extended one. We included other roles, and confirmed we have validated all those steps from the beginning of the journey. Alongside, one missing piece in the philosophical elements was a Manifesto. It was clearly the most important and yet missing piece to rely on as a business and to easily conglomerate all thoughts into a single speech.
“A manifesto functions as both a statement of principles and a bold, sometimes rebellious, call to action. By causing people to evaluate the gap between those principles and their current reality, the manifesto challenges assumptions, fosters commitment, and provokes change.”
It has three basic components: beliefs, goals, and wisdom. Some people recommend using the next structure:
I want to…
I know this to be true…
So I took that boilerplate, and started writing, with a fresh and clear mind. And I think this was a great summary of why our business exists.
There is a big problem in our discipline, there’s a lack of trust and we are here to improve it. To enhance the productivity, experience and cycle of building software and digital products. It shouldn’t be hard nor difficult, anyone should have the possibility of translating their ideas into something real, and technology is the way to expose and scale it to the world and have a better impact.
We believe we can increase the success rate in all projects and the best way to do it is improving our experience in building these products, and empowering the people doing the craft, starting from the most important roles: designers, hackers, engineers, thinkers and developers, all of them have the potential to make a change for the better.
We are hackers and designers, strategists and craftsmen, converting visions into reality. Our minds have the possibility to help millions or even billions, and we want to keep ourselves doing it. We want to empower more of those hackers and designers, because without them we don’t have any living purpose. Providing the right tools to the people behind scenes, improving the processes and methods is key to reduce waste, increase productivity and generate impact.
We believe in a new way of building software products, in a modern, cohesive and collaborative way.
We love the craft, also the outcomes. We like to build, also to design. We care about thinking, but also about doing. We want to help this industry improve and grow, providing better opportunities to the crafters of those tools and products, breaking the process of building software, teaching more people about the complexities and the nature of the intangible. It is vital to transfer that set of knowledge and skills, people need to understand the basics in order to imagine the right potential of the vision they have.
We wanted to create a place for hackers and designers, a place where creating, thinking and crafting is the crucial thing for a great outcome.
We believe in a world where every software product is built with the proper impact it was intended to. Where every idea is translated into a successful product, and where knowledge is a legacy for future generations to understand how to improve the way we set ideas to be born. A world where all products achieve that goal is a productive world, a place where humanity is abundant and society can think about the next big thing. The old models don’t care about the outcomes, processes or team. We are a compendium of tailored practices capable of adapting to every single challenge. We are Icalia Labs.
In order to wrap up thoughts and select a final version, we asked some key members more involved in the human side of things in the business to help us write down how a manifesto would look like from their perspective. This was a fructiferous exercise since we took a look into different angles and allowed us to sum up the best elements from all tactical and strategic positions.
Finally, we took some time to review the final version, with the excuse of using it as the opening scene for every decision, action, and effort the company takes from now on.
Manifesto: A definitive final version
Software will drive change for humankind and we are committed to it. We believe in pushing the boundaries of software creation through a compendium of tailored living practices adapting to every single challenge: our legacy.
We believe in people.
We care about thinking, but mainly about doing.
We will always deliver value.
We will never sabotage or disrespect anyone or anything in this discipline. We may not always be right, but we certainly will make things our way — the Icalier way.
Living now in a post-COVID era, having this foundation has been critical and I feel safe to rely on such a reference. It is now when I remember all those definitions and the process we went through, and with all changes, we need to do in both structure and value proposition due to this unprecedented crisis, I have never been so confident as I am today pursuing the vision we had with all values and behaviors we wanted to see in our team and company. We distributed some efforts, maximized our talent availability, and assembled a couple of two-pizza-size teams to tackle clear problems we have seen in the software development discipline for more than 8 years — we were pushed to diversify the business and execute things we couldn’t afford before.
All the pressure we’ve gone through was worth it because we are returning to our roots and core business. In moments like these, I feel grateful for spending some time in things that probably didn’t have any tangible value, but it is now when I realize we are moving towards that vision and towards that better world empowered with software.