Old code. New tricks. Corgibytes joyfully modernizes existing software applications.
TEACHING OLD CODE NEW TRICKS 🐶🔧
If an app is buggy, slow, or features take forever to get out the door, Corgibytes is the team that gets called in to help. We call ourselves menders — people who find immense joy in maintenance and modernization. We love to fix bugs, pay down technical debt, address security vulnerabilities, reduce complexity, update frameworks, increase test coverage, make it easier to deploy new features, and more to help make our clients’ software more stable, scalable, and secure.
Act With Empathy: Listening and understanding is at the very heart of our culture and we consider empathy a critical technical skill. Consider the people who are impacted by your work: your clients, your users, your teammates, and even your future self.
Adopt a Growth Mindset: Solving problems that seem intractable is a big part of what we do. Maintain an attitude of possibility, persevere through challenges, and commit to personal growth.
Calm the Chaos: Complex problems require your prefrontal cortex to be engaged. Resist the temptation of an urgency-based culture by focusing on prevention instead of hot-fixes, prioritizing self-care, and developing a steady working rhythm.
Choose Candor: Healthy conflict in a psychologically-safe environment is a critical component of a high-functioning team. We hold each other accountable and strengthen our work by challenging ideas respectfully and directly. Speak up and share your point of view, even when it’s hard.
Communication is Just as Important as Code: Effective communication is our cultural glue and it is everyone’s job. Produce durable artifacts of your thinking and reject false dichotomies that present code and communication as separate things. No one is “technical” or “non-technical”; everyone is both.
Craft in Context: Domain understanding is critical and working in a vacuum leads to problems. Before you leap to conclusions, take the time to understand the problem and match your solution to the situation.
Homogeneity leads to groupthink and blind spots, which can have disastrous consequences. Diversity is actively appreciating and working to cultivate a variety of perspectives. We practice diversity by recognizing its strength, being open and honest to where our biases and blind spots are, celebrating candor and healthy conflict, and building authentic relationships with people whose experiences are different from our own.
As W. Edwards Deming put it: “A bad system will beat a good person every time.” Equity is making a conscious and concerted effort to address the systemic impediments that impact an individual’s ability to contribute at their highest potential. Systems thinking is a critical component of the work we do to modernize codebases. We use the same skills in our operations to improve our organizational systems and structures and do our best to extend those efforts into our community and industry as well.
When a culture is inclusive, people can show up as their full and authentic selves with the security that their unique talents, strengths, and perspectives will be honored and valued. There is a sense of belonging that happens without having to compromise an internal identity. At Corgibytes, empathy is at the heart of our culture. When we are developing code, writing a policy, or communicating to a colleague or client, and more, we practice actively thinking of other people and proactively seek ways that we can address their needs. When we miss the mark, we listen openly, accept responsibility, and course correct so that we can continuously improve.
SAFETY & SUPPORT 👥
First and foremost, our core values drive our decision making. They are not something that live on our website to look good. They are regularly invoked during our day-to-day work.
As part of our onboarding process, we establish clear expectations for how to create psychological safety. Here is the opening paragraph from this section of our training: “There are some finer points in the following sections, but we expect you to treat everyone on the team with kindness, consideration, and respect. We won't tolerate behavior that is judgmental or mean-spirited. This means no making fun of fringe hobbies, faith traditions, stereotypes, etc. So if someone likes My Little Ponies? Don't make fun of them for it. If you find out that someone celebrates pagan holidays but you're Christian? This is not the place to proselytize. Notice that a man here carries a purse or a woman is strong willed? (Hint: that describes Scott and Andrea.) Do not belittle them or make them feel different. If you do accidentally offend someone, listen to their feedback with an open mind and without judgment. Believe their experience and change your behavior. There's enough meanness in the world. We want to keep this environment a place where different views are welcomed and people are free to be themselves.”
Onboarding also includes 2 hours of unconscious bias training and taking implicit-association tests from Harvard. Here is the introductory paragraph from our training for this section: “Did you know that you have biases that you don't even know about? These unconscious biases help us make quick decisions, but being unaware of them can create a culture of favoritism and homogeneity. At Corgibytes, we're working hard to build a culture that is clear, transparent, and fair. This starts with each of us understanding what our own biases are and learning how they impact our decisions.”
During daily operations, we focus on honest reflections. We use shared journals, retrospectives, and continuous feedback. We ensure fair pay by establishing pay rates by role, not with individuals, and we are transparent about rates during the application process. Each member of our staff has a one-on-one meeting with our CEO monthly and we actively seek out feedback about how we can do better.
LEADERSHIP IS BOUGHT IN 🔑
Boundaries, communication, and calm.
Our culture is anchored by our core values, one of which is “Calm The Chaos.” This begins with assessing clients during the sales process. If we find evidence of a client’s culture being incompatible with our values, we suggest other firms that would be a better fit. That’s been a hard decision at times, but it’s always served us well in the long run.
Schedule flexibility is also important. We prioritize asynchronous communication and encourage staff to self-organize and eliminate meetings that aren’t useful. For example, we post a daily status update in Slack instead of requiring everyone to log into a video call. Clients will have varying needs and we do our best to influence their corporate culture towards our calm and measured approach. And when someone takes time off, they are truly off. You can’t restore if you’re working during your vacation.
We practice continuous feedback instead of traditional performance management to regularly assess goals using positive psychology and that feedback is expected to go both ways.
CORGIBYTES IS TAKING ACTION🚀
Corgibytes’ founders are committed personally to social and racial justice. They regularly participate in workshops such as the Richmond Pledge to End Racism and read books to discover ways they can make a difference. Andrea is a member of the racial justice committee at her church and worked to make Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion part of her local technology council. She challenged the board of directors, was able to form a DE&I task force, led a project to provide comprehensive recommendations, and is currently shepherding initiatives through to completion. As a result, the board of directors more accurately reflects the community, there is greater representation in speakers at events, and member engagement has increased. Corgibytes sponsors and moderates content for this organization that highlights DE&I topics in tech. Two examples of recent webinars include “Anti-Racism In Tech with Dr. Tiffany Jana” and “Trans-Affirming System Design with Erin White.” We have also used our podcast, Legacy Code Rocks, to address racial justice issues through episodes such as “Refactoring White Supremacy with Bryan Liles.”
As a team, we have a public commitment statement. Part of our application process is asking candidates how they would help us uphold our commitment.
✨ “At Corgibytes, we're really good at transforming broken systems. We modernize code through continuous improvement and marginal gains, and we apply these same practices to systems of social oppression. Similar to how technical debt makes a codebase difficult to work with, there are institutional barriers for some individuals that have accumulated over time. Blindly operating within these structures hurts people and prevents organizations from benefiting from the wide range of perspectives needed to thrive. There’s a lot of opportunity for improvement and we use our core values and our talents as menders to have a positive impact on our society.”
OUR INTERVIEW PROCESS📎
We try to make every phase of the interview process a meaningful experience for everyone who applies. We don’t use tools that scan keywords in resumes to help us select candidates. In fact, resumes are completely optional. Instead, we’ve designed a deliberate process focused on empathy, respect, and an emphasis on two-way communication and then built custom internal tools and software to support our process.
Step 0: Sourcing
Approximately six weeks before we plan on making an offer to a candidate, we post the job description online and open the application on our website. When we’re writing job descriptions, we pay special attention to the language we use and review each one for implicit bias before it’s published.
Step 1: Questionnaire
All of our positions begin with a long-form online application. The application is comprised of two main sections: 1) Open-ended questions and prompts (ex: Read this article and tell us what you think.) and 2) a self-evaluation of specific skills related to the role. Only candidates who have filled out the questionnaire are considered for positions. We don’t allow candidates to skip the line and go to the interview process directly, even if they have a personal connection with someone on the existing Corgibytes team.
Step 2: Initial Selection
The answers from the questionnaire are imported into a database tool that we’ve custom built. Identifying information is hidden and candidates are ranked based on the quality of their written answers and how closely their self-evaluation matches the needs of the position. After the initial ranking, we build a cohort of 6-10 candidates with the internal goal that at least 50% of the cohort is not male and at least 40% of the cohort is not white. When we are unable to meet these goals, we take a good look at where we failed and incorporate those learnings into our next round of hiring. Once we’ve built the cohort, we notify everyone who applied.
Step 3: Initial Interviews
Invitations to interview are sent to candidates via email with instructions on how and with whom to schedule their initial interviews. Typically, there are three — one with each of our two founders and another with someone who will be working with the candidate directly. Each interview is 30 minutes long with the goal of having about 10 minutes for the candidates to ask questions. Each interviewer will have a set of questions that maps to our core values and is specific to the position. Each candidate is asked the same set of questions. Here’s an example of a question from when we hired a Technical Sales Manager that aligned with our “Calm The Chaos” core value: “Sales can sometimes be a roller coaster — cycles can range from really busy to slower than you’d like. What are some of the strategies you’d use to help keep the pipeline consistent and avoid big spikes?”
Step 4: Scenario Interview(s)
At this point in the process, we narrow the cohort to 3-4 people for a fictional scenario that represents what the candidate would be doing on a day-to-day basis. We’re not big fans of whiteboard-style problem solving and we do our best to make these sessions as collaborative and low stress as possible. The scenario takes about 90 minutes (for developer positions, there are typically two scenario interviews) and includes a retrospective where each candidate receives candid and immediate feedback from the team that conducted the interview.
Step 5: Final Selection
During the scenario, interviewers independently keep track of their observations and input them into our system. Once all interviews are complete, we meet as a team to review the candidates’ performance and determine which person will be the best fit for the position.
Work where and when you want 📌
Corgibytes is a remote-first company and has been since 2012.
Flexible schedules 📌
We allow our staff to flex the hours they work up and down dynamically based on life’s demands.
6 weeks paid time off, based on the weekly average you’ve worked 📌
We recognize that not everyone celebrates the same holidays and special occasions, so we provide the autonomy to choose which days of the year hold the most significance to you.
Paid professional development 📌
Employees are given resources to help them invest in their growth and level up their skills.
Focus on health 📌
In addition to health, dental, vision, life, short-term, and long-term disability insurances, our values focus on self care and reducing stress.