If "Delivery is All" is our mantra, "Never Be Fearful" is something at the heart of the business we wanted to build................And it's really difficult to adhere to.
I don't really buy into Vision Statements or Mission Statements but this really something we discussed when we started up. So what does it mean in the real world?
1. It Allows us to be Generous
Throwing off the paranoia that business is cut-throat and people will steal your ideas and generally screw you over allows you to build healthy, strong business friendships. If you trust your customer to look out for your interests, you're in a wonderful position. Supplying source-code, designs etc (all of which we have been paid for) re-assures customers that the code will be supported in our absence. This allows us to chase after bigger projects than if we followed a more code-protected way of working.
As we build up our own IP it has become increasingly difficult to follow this through, but we go back to "Never Be Fearful".
We share everything, processes, sourcecode, designs and we have never lost work through it.
I've talked about this in the article linked above, an article I'm proud of (it only got 1 bloody "like", so I'm obviously in the minority).
The route to a stress-free life is to tell the truth. Thinking about projects, all the stress comes from dishonest deadlines or promises that never had a chance to be kept. One thing I often say is that deadlines are fictional and have nothing to do with the engineering task in hand. If a job has 20 hours of work in it, telling me it's urgent will not make me work faster, I'm already going as fast as possible.
When I ask someone for a progress report the only useful response is an honest one. Saving face, being scared of the response to bad news etc etc are not helpful.
This is something we share with the best of our competitors too, I think it may be an engineering thing.
3. Taking Risks
Taking risks is good for your ego!
Our stories, our new skills, our favourite jobs are all closely linked to the risk associated with them. Every time we walk into a new industry, stand up to present in front of our peers, share code and design ideas we expand and increase ourselves. To mitigate these risks we plan, mixing risky jobs with easier ones.
So we may not have made shedloads of money, but we have had some great fun along the way and that's because we work without fear.