Keepler’s Handbook

This handbook is intended for candidates and employees and for all those who want to get to know us better and how our culture works.

Table of contents

01. How to use this book

This handbook is for everyone who wants to get to know how Keepler is. Maybe you are a new hire, a person who has been for months or years or even a person who is not in the company and you don’t plan to, it doesn’t matter. Here you can find simple things such as how Keepler was created, how the company is run… And other more specific things like how to deal with your first day, how to start communicating with other people and even how to ask for a raise.

Enjoy it and if you want to give some feedback, don’t hesitate! hello@keepler.io

02. Preface

Keepler was born in March 2018. At that moment we were only 10 people with a lot of intentions and with some ideas about how to run a company. Now (on September 2021) we are more than 110 people. As you can imagine, beginning wasn’t easy but after some work we could consider that Keepler is a stable and prosperous company. Take this handbook as a way to know the result of a lot of failures, changes and challenges we dealt with. This is an alive document. That means that you can feel free to give feedback, opinion, propose or even modify the content that you are going to read.

03. Some K-concepts

What’s Keepler?

Keepler was born in March 2018 with the purpose of offering excellence services to IT customers. That’s the reason Keepler’s mission is to transform our customers’ data production model and generate business value through the agile construction of Data Products.

Keepler is a place to learn, teach, grow, and evolve.

The word Keepler was selected from a set of options (and after a brainstorming session). After we selected this word as a name of the company we noticed that this word could be interpreted as the result of joining two words: Keep + Learning. In addition, Keepler also references Johannes Kepler. Because he understood and predicted the movements of the stars in the dark Universe, Keepler helps its clients to understand and make decisions based on their dark lakes of data. 

We truly believe in our culture and we think we are differential according to the market regarding this. We like to call everything in Keepler with a K at the beginning of every work as a way to say that we are running things in an unusual way.

K-manifesto

Once you are here maybe you are asking yourself how Keepler’s manifesto was created. The process we followed is based on a technique that you can find in Management 3.0 book which is called Moving Motivator. This technique is very useful when you need to use a tool or a template in order to make a decision individually, but in this case we used it in a bigger context, as a group. So the thing is just asking every person (in this case, we were only 10 people) what are the most important values for you from a list.

After that individual reflection a moderator ask the same question but taking into account a new fictional negative context, i.e. What would be your top four values if there is no money to pay salaries?

After two more iterations with this strategy (positive and neutral scenarios) we finally had our top 4 values and as a result of that, Keepler’s manifesto.

Circles

There is one important thing you should know when you join Keepler: We don’t have bosses. To be honest we have only one, our CEO. The rest of the people are organized in circles. You could be asking yourself what a circle is (apart from the geometry figure).

A circle is a concept taken from Holacracy/Sociocracy 3.0 and is a way to govern an organization. Holacracy and Sociocracy are frameworks/philosophies that explain how to make an adaptable and self-organized organization. If you read about it, one of the main concepts you are going to find is the circle. The basic definition of a circle is “a group of people who gather in order to cover a driver’s need”. 

So the next question is: What is a driver? A driver is a need that can arise in an organization. Let’s think that the main driver of a cloud organization is its mission, because it is the overall need that made this organization to be created. The point is that this driver can be very large, so in this case, it could be positive to divide it to have sub-drivers and as a consequence of this, sub-circles.

There is one last concept taken from these frameworks that we are currently working with: Link. Every circle needs to communicate with other circles in the organization. The way to do this is a role called link, which is going to be played by a person in the circle and is going to be the representative of her circle in other circles. This is basically a way to establish a work agreement between circles in order to enhance communication.

So, taking into account these three concepts, here you can find the current distribution of Keepler’s circles, drivers and subcircles.

04. Your first day

Onboarding Gymkana

So, finally after some interviews, calls, a contract and little patience, you are in Keepler. Congratulations and welcome to this family!

The first challenge that is waiting for you is our famous Gymkana. Do you remember when Indiana Jones was switching the idol’s head for the coin bag? It will be similar but there aren’t snakes, scorpions or rolling stones.

You should go through some nifty and tricky tests to get your onboarding validation. And then you will be ready to join us. The key point is to turn useful information into play for the employee so that he is the one who carries it out and leads his first day.

You will know essential aspects of the company such as: where to look for certain information, key people for your relationship with management, professional development, security requirements for your equipment,  how to have security policies in your equipment… As you know, it is proven that when you execute things yourself, you retain better, so cheer up and go ahead with it. But, we do not want to reveal everything or we will eliminate the Wow factor in our future colleagues! 

For now we are very satisfied with the results. We know that the people who have done it have really enjoyed completing it and their feedback has been very positive.

We believe that it is a more effective and original way than the traditional one in these cases.

Are you ready for the challenge?

Ola k ase? (what’s up dude?)

This is a Spanish expression that we could translate as “hi, what’s up dude?” and that conveys the good vibes that you will find in your first days (and later too, relax).

The ola k ase circle is in charge of welcoming you and inviting you to the first meeting in ‘El Pasillito’, a virtual space (not Meta) open 24×7 where you can meet other CitizenKs, have a coffee or chat about whatever you feel like (and not necessarily about work).

And when you’re in, you can always be part of this select circle and welcome other colleagues in their first days.

Your workplace

Keepler was born with a focus on work flexibility, from the beginning offering 2 days per week of remote work for everyone.The situation caused by Covid has accelerated a trend that was inevitable in the technology sector, despite being a consulting company. It has allowed us to further develop that flexibility by offering employees ample freedom to work from and turning offices into shared workspaces and a place to go to if desired

Our Headquarters is in Madrid (Urban Campus Libertad), this a great place and community in the center of the city in the Chueca neighborhood. However, during COVID-19 we decided to turn into a remote first company, so offices in Keepler are places where to attend if an employee wants to work in an office . There are many desktops and meeting rooms availables for your work use. A space to create, test and learn, in one of the most vibrant area of Madrid.

We also have workspaces available in Frankfurt (Germany) and in Lisbon (Portugal). These offices are for commercial purposes and free to use for any technical employee in need. 

Our values and principles are maintained for all locations, with the same daily enthusiasm working to grow with our clients in each country.

Keepler Doku

Do you have any doubts about processes, culture or company? Don’t worry, we have a wiki called Doku with all the information that you need. This tool will allow you to resolve 99% of questions that you might have. Sorry, if you are not Citizen K yet you cannot access, this is part of our private and amazing world.

Probably, our Doku will be the best complement to this handbook and the most useful link in your first days. We have built it with a lot of love and care, so use it frequently, please!

05. Your first month / week

Your project

Once you join Keepler you probably are assigned to a project. If not, no worries. Sometimes you join Keepler and do some other internal projects or tasks (like preparing certifications, helping the circle, joining an internal solution…) while your project begins or you are assigned. This can be a common situation, because we want you to join Keepler not just for a project, but because we really believe that you add value to the team and there will be projects for you in the future. 

The project which you will be assigned should be familiar to you (People team talks about it during the hiring process) but obviously you need more information because you want to participate in the best way possible to give a good impression of your professionality and personality.

Here are some things that could be useful for you:

  • Talk to the person from business who is managing this opportunity. This person has the whole context of the project, scope and expectations. She is a key person in this context because she will assist you throughout your participation in the project.

  • Talk to the team (in case a team has already been formed) in order to get to know both, project and people.

  • Talk to your K-buddy. What’s a K-buddy? Read the next section.

K-buddy program

Joining a new company could be tough sometimes. But when you join a company in a remote way (with remote workmates, remote clients…) things could be worse. That’s the reason we created a program called K-buddy.

This program provides you with a partner who can guide you during your first months in Keepler in different ways:

Landing in your first project: This person could help you in order to introduce you to your new workmates in Keepler.

Tools in a daily basis: How to use corporate instant messaging tool, how to create / join a meeting, how to interact with the project organization tool you have in your project, etc.

Cultural immersion in Keepler: This person could help you in order to get to know Keepler’s culture and the way to interpret it.

Your growth and professional career in Keepler: This could be useful for you if you want to create your own goals regarding your growth in Keepler.

This program takes 3 months but can be asked the number of times you want. Maybe sometimes you want to focus on some points of the list but sometimes there could be others.

Your circle

As you know Keepler is organized by Circles, we have five core circles: Agile, Business, Cloud, Data and Governance, and you’re a member of one of these core Circles.

A circle has empowerment to take decisions in its knowledge area, your participation in it is important to take the better decisions posibles for Keepler. Maybe your circle has some sub-circles, choose where you contribute more and take an active implication there.

Onboarding sessions

We like that you will be very informed about our tools, processes and values. So, after some days in the company one veteran colleague will meet you to explain in a short briefing all this information. Furthermore you can ask him any kind of questions that you will have after some days of working in Keepler.

Keeply

Keepler has a tool to record your start and end working hours during the week, to register the place where you are working from or inform you about your mood during the week. This tool is called Keeply. In EU countries it is mandatory for all the companies to track the start and end working hours.

Firstly, you should track your working hours during the week: start hours, end hours and period of time for lunch. Sorry, we don’t like it but it is mandatory by law.

Secondly, you have to complete some questions like your stress, your mood and motivation level during the current week.This information will help Keepler as data to detect any anomaly in the company. The information is anonymous and launches alerts to the People team.

Besides, you will fill in your forecast of days that you will go to the HQ, work in the client office or that you will be working remotely. This is relevant for two reasons: within the flexibility that Keepler offers, the People team needs to know where a person is working from for work security reasons. On the other hand, it allows us to book a hot desk in the office, since places are limited and it is necessary to plan who will or will not go to the office to guarantee a desk.

06. Your first year

Self learning wallet

In Keepler continuous learning is one of our main values and is part of our DNA. We will always support you and provide the means for you to continue to grow and develop.

At this moment, employees in Spain, Portugal and Germany have a very competitive annual training budget to dedicate to technical courses, technical events, certifications or English courses that add value to your professional development.

For example in Cloud Circle: AWS, Azure and Google Cloud certifications; or in Agile Circle: Scrum.org certifications or Management 3.0 courses. The only requirement is to be aligned with the circle and to have a desire to improve your knowledge. 

Apply for a Salary raise?

Open Salary Formula is the model that we use to calculate our salaries. Salary varies according to our expertise in several roles that add value to the company. The way to increase salary is to improve these skills. For more details about this, we wrote a fantastic article in our blog, please don’t hesitate to check it. 

You lead your professional development. If you think you deserve a new experience level or to have a new skill recognized, the process starts with you. Raise your hand! 

That’s why you need to know the process and the deadlines. Keepler provides 3 times per year to ask for a raise. Take into account that when you are evaluated in Keepler that means that three colleagues are going to lead this task, people from your circle (no bosses and no other people out of your context). This is something that we do following Advice Process Practice (you can find this concept in Frederic Laloux’book “Reinventing organizations”).

07. Your whole staying

Meetings that affect you 

There are some meetings in Keepler that could affect you even if you don’t attend. But don’t worry, if you don’t attend them a link from your circle will and will be your representative (and your circle) for these meetings. Here there are some examples of this situations:

Staffing

This is a synchronization meeting where a link for every circle attends in order to organize people and projects. The goal of this meeting is to decide what people should join every project in order to satisfy the client’s needs and taking into account some factors such as people’s motivators, number of projects, percentage of assignation of every person…

Management Committee

This is the biggest synchronization meeting in Keepler because it is the place every dependency between global circles is treated. It is organized by countries, and a representative of every circle will attend and every one will bring things that her circle is doing and have some kind of dependency

Your circle’s meeting

Once you join Keepler you belong to a Circle. That’s means a group of people around a driver (need) very important for Keepler. The technical circles in Keepler are Agile, Cloud, Data and Governance, but we have an extra Circle for the structural roles: Business Circle includes Business Development, People, Financial and Marketing. 

The way every circle organised is up to your circle but it is very typical that every circle has a meeting per week in order to do that. Keep tuned to that, you can learn and help with a lot of things with a big impact on the company.

Company branding

We love our brand and we try to take care of it. Do you need to create a new presentation and do you have to use one corporate design? You don’t have to be worried about it. We have a large suite of templates for this purpose, and we increase the resources by demand. You can find them in our Google Drive space and it will be available for the use of all members in the company. 

As an example of branding during your first days, the typical problem with the signature of the email: we have a template for our signatures in the emails. So, please check how to configure it in the Keepler Guide (2 minutes) and forget about complicated methods or designing signatures.

Holidays policy

In putting together the holiday policy, we have some guiding principles. These are:

  • Every worker is entitled to a maximum of 23 days per year in Spain, 30 in Germany and 22 in Portugal. As you can imagine, the days established depend on the legislation in each country.

  • The labour calendar for public holidays is the HQ city calendar in the country.

  • You can transfer your vacation days from the previous year until January of the following year.

We use a tool to manage administrative issues as holidays are, it is called Cezanne HR. You can do common actions here and tasks such as request vacations, notify about absences, check your category in the company, your training hours, contact information of your workmates… Among many other things.

Furthermore, you are the owner of your holidays, you only need to agree with your team and your client to organize them. Remember that in Keepler we expect that everyone is responsible with our clients, company, teams and colleagues

Remote work

Currently, if you live in Spain or Germany, you can work at Keepler from any city in these countries. Soon, it will also be possible from Portugal. 

In the countries where Keepler is located, employees have a wide flexibility to come to the HQ office. If you are near these HQ cities or close to them, we recommend you to come to the office at least 1 day a week. It is good to meet colleagues and have a face-to-face relationship from time to time. If you live far away, it is not necessary to come to the office in person, so you can work in the city of your choice and work at Keepler. It’s up to you!

Leaving the company

If one day you decide to leave the company, it is natural for us to be a little sad about it, but we will only make one last request: An exit interview. We will not offer back your new salary or conditions, but we just want to know your feedback about the company, how you felt working with the company and their customers.