Valve: ‘three employees can ship anything’

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 09:27 GMT By Dave Cook

Valve has shed more light on its internal practices, as employee Greg Coomer reveals more about the studio’s shipping policy, stating that all it takes to get something out the door is three employees.

Geekwire reports that Coomer discussed Valve’s policy at yesterday’s Interactive Conference in Seattle.

Coomer explained, “Three people at the company can ship anything. And the reason it is three people – because really it is one person can ship anything – but the work gets better if you just check with a couple of people before you decide to push a button.”

“If we are going to hire these incredible people,” Coomer continued, “and we are not going to put constraints on them, then we can’t be afraid to let them actually take charge and ship. That takes a lot of courage and trust.”

On Valve’s ‘you can work on whatever you want’ policy, Coomer added, “There are attributes that other companies have quoted about themselves, that they allow their [employees] to spend some fraction of their time actually deciding on their own what to work on, but at Valve that percentage of your time is 100 percent. Every single person is responsible for deciding what they do every day.”

“That can be pretty daunting,” he admitted, “Everyone is constantly making big decisions for the company, and deciding where we’ll go and what products we should build and so forth. It can feel like an exercise and an experiment in cooperative leadership.”

The interest in Valve’s inner workings was sparked by the leaking of the company’s employee handbook last year. It really is an astounding thing to read. Check it out here:

Valve’s Handbook for New Employees is full of awesome.