Valve's company handbook for new starters has been released onto the internet and it's pretty compelling stuff.
It's fair to say the company behind the amazing Half-Life and Left 4 Dead series like to do things a little differently from your average developer, employing no real managers and letting its employees pretty much pick and choose their projects.
We particularly like this management organisational chart which Valves describes thus:
"Valve is flat. It's our shorthand way of saying that we don't have any management, and nobody "reports to" anybody else. We do have a founder/president, but even he isn't your manager. This company is yours to steer-toward opportunities and away from risks. You have the power to green-light projects. You have the power to ship products.
However it's not a complete free-for-all and questions new employees should ask themselves include:
- Of all the projects currently under way, what's the most valuable thing I can be working on?
- Which project will have the highest direct impact on our customers? How much will the work I ship benefit them?
- Is Valve not doing something that it should be doing?
- What's interesting? What's rewarding? What leverages my individual strengths the most?
Not really surprising to find that its consistently voted one of the best and most innovative of all games publisher/developer and of course platform holders (with Steam).
If you'd like to check it out yourself and possibly dream of working their one day, a PDF version of the Valve New Employee Handbook is available to read at Flamehaus and is published with Valve's permission.