The first time I worked with Mangrove

I was so excited to join Mangrove’s community a few months back! It seemed like a perfect match for my lifestyle and aspirations. Since I joined, I’m regularly inspired by the members. They collaborate without the need for hierarchy, promote a culture of freedom, and show goodwill and transparency while working remotely. Everyone chips in to improve the eco-system organically so that everyone can get the most out of their experience.

Becoming a part of this was like walking into a playground.

I had my first look at Mangrove’s Playbook when I interviewed to become a friend of the community. It’s basically the on-boarding reference for new members. This is where Mangrove describes its values, what being a member implies, and different sets of rules.

Original Playbook

Two things jumped out at me while I read it.

  • It’s appearance was very different than Mangrove’s website. There was no consistency. Granted, I am a visual designer so it’s something I am always looking out for and many people might not notice it. But as a user, it was confusing. Was I on the same website? Was this actually related to Mangrove?
  • It was created by non-native English speakers and even though it was very well written and perfectly understandable, it was noticeable.
Trello Card

I thought that improving the playbook would be a great opportunity to contribute to the community so I looked for ways to start the project. It turns out there was already an existing card on Mangrove’s Trello board for a project called “make a nicer playbook”. I mentioned my observations, then, Benjamin Lupton and Saad Elbeleidy, two members of the community, chimed in a few days later and added comments about ideas they had.

Max Braud, one of the co-founders, saw the interest for this project growing and thought we could form a team of 4 to work on it. During our first call, we decided where we wanted to take the playbook, and who would do what. It was super exciting to see it come to life!

Everyone’s roles evolved along the way:

  • Max , who originally helped because only the builders could modify the playbook, became the facilitator for the project but he also helped with the UI and the front end, jumping on new things where he saw opportunities.
  • Benjamin worked on the architecture — the rendering of the website and the facilitation of the editing process, and moved the Gitbook content over to the Github repository.
  • Saad worked on CSS and design fixes, plus he reviewed the grammar.
  • I started to work on design mockups and created some illustrations to make the experience more lively.
New Playbook

We are all proud of the work we accomplished even though it’s not a finished product yet. There will always be room for improvement and that’s what makes it interesting. There were times when we thought the project was dragging on and times when it was quite intense to meet the deadline. That was mainly due to the fact that we’re working on it during our free time. We were all respectful of each other’s time and availability, especially since the team is on three different continents.

In the end, I was very happy to give back to the community and offer a better experience for its members. I met new and interesting people and it allowed me to work on a very different set of skills that I’m not able to use at work! So, yay Mangrove!


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A big thank you to Max, Saad, Benjamin and Lindsay who helped me write this article!

If you want to know more about me, you can checkout my website.