On a mission to unleash the power of all work teams, Atlassian is solving collaboration challenges with task tracking, open communication and code management tools, such as Jira, Confluence and Bitbucket. By giving companies what they need to work together effectively, Atlassian is empowering them to drive their missions forward.
So we went behind-the-scenes at Atlassian’s Austin office to give you an exclusive look at what drives Atlassian, from its high-trust atmosphere to its uniquely organized tech teams and honest values that are woven into the company’s DNA.
Through interviews with leaders from Engineering, Product and HR, we’ve uncovered how Atlassian is redefining collaboration, communication and company culture (with a side of breakfast tacos).
Bringing the Aussie spirit to Austin
Walk into Atlassian’s Austin, Texas office and you’ll be welcomed with “G’day Y’all” signs, blending the company’s Australian roots and Austin’s personality. From Head of Product Management’s Steve Goldsmith’s living room in 2014 to a thriving downtown operation of 400+ employees, the Austin office has experienced impressive growth—and yet, the company has managed to keep its laid-back startup vibe.
Aiming to make the office an extension of employees’ lives, Atlassian’s benefits align with their core values. Unlimited vacation, daily lunches, remote working options and $600 a year to spend on wellness (whether it’s for a bike, canoe, fitness classes or anything in between) helps Atlassian employees “Build with Heart and Balance.” The office bar and decked-out game room encourage employees to “Play, As a Team.”
With a pool table, foosball, ping pong, shuffleboard and board games, “It’s comparable to Dave & Buster’s” says Michael Rey, US Regional Manager of Customer Support.
Atlassian’s benefits don’t stop there. From an office library for quiet focus to a paid vacation when you hit your 5-year anniversary to its dog-friendly policy and two outdoor terraces, Atlassian offers a rare set of unique perks.
Empowering engineering teams to make an impact
Atlassians don’t just get to build products used by over 100,000 customers—they’re used internally by Atlassian employees themselves.
As Steve Goldsmith, Head of Product Management puts it, “It’s not this arm’s length relationship [where] we’re building a solution for somebody else, but you’re building something that you then turn around and use every day.”
To build something truly useful, Atlassian’s teams are structured around products, whether it’s Jira, Trello, Confluence, etc. Teams are kept small to keep the culture intact, with each six to eight-member team made up of a “triad” of embedded designers, product people and an engineering lead or software architect. Leadership provides each triad with a goal and direction, as well as a tremendous amount of autonomy that empowers them to invent solutions and drive change.
According to Shane Wade, Senior Development Manager, “We try to give [our engineers] space and allow them to be creative and own their own destiny. And that really, I’ve seen, is what drives our engineers.”
Beyond autonomy, ownership and the opportunity to work on incredible products, growth is highly encouraged at Atlassian. Every employee gets $250 for self-directed spending on learning resources, plus $2,500 for conferences and courses that align with their role. Atlassians can also take advantage of the stellar internal mobility program, whether they want to work on another team for a period of time, transfer to a different office or move up in the company.
“Open Company, No BS” and the importance of values
Foundational values determine who Atlassian hires, how it operates and the products they create.
Take “Open Company, No BS,” for example. Steve Goldsmith, Head of Product Management, says he rarely sends a private email to someone. Communications are open by default, and he uses Slack or creates a ticket in Jira to make information available to all employees. “Sharing is power here,” he says, “As a culture, we value sharing much more than ‘information is power.’”
And not only does the recruiting process at Atlassian entail technical interviews—it also includes a values interview where candidates are tested specifically on their alignment with the five values that guide all decisions at Atlassian:
- Open company, no BS
- Build with heart and balance
- Don’t #@!% the customer
- Play, as a team
- Be the change you seek
All potential Atlassians must fit in with these values before getting hired. In fact, great coders have been turned down based on culture fit alone. In the words of Chantelle Palmer, Global Recruiting Manager for Specialty Engineering & Product, the purpose of the values interview is to “make sure we’re pulling in like-minded people, and people with that same passion around what we stand for.”
Want to know if you’d fit in? Take Atlassian’s value alignment quiz and find out.
“The culture will change at Atlassian as we start to hire and grow,” says Wade, “But the values will never change. And as long as we stick to the values, I think the culture will evolve in a good place.”
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