Thomann DNA

Even if you might not yet be working with us, that's what you can observe at Thomann:

  1. It's a passionate industry. Many of us are musicians or have a hobby related to music. Music is the language of peace and community. That's why we love it.
  2. Strolling around our campus in Treppendorf, you'll meet a lot of customers. It's their little D*sney Land, and we're doing everything to make their visit unforgettable.
  3. You don't have to be musically to work with us. But we can't guarantee you'll never buy your first instrument anyway.
  4. If it's good for our customers, it's good for us. We wouldn't be where we are right now, if it was for shareholders.

If you want some more insights on how we got there, we recommend this article on our Thomann blog about Hans Thomann's 60th birthday.

If you're looking for a more value-driven approach, check out our Thomann company values here.

Welcome to Thomann.io

You might already have recognized who created this handbook. If not, you can find our imprint here and stuff related to privacy here.

Mission / Vision

Mission statement Thomann

To inspire and enable people to speak music, everywhere.

Purpose / Vision thomann.io

We build the world's best shopping ecosystem for all people interested in creating music, audio, and events.

This part of our website helps you to understand some more details.

Strategy & Company Backlog

Thomann uses a company backlog to align strategic projects between departments and to keep track of what's going on at a high flight level transparently. You can find the backlog linked in our thomann.io change blog. In the strategy & performance section of the blog, you can also find an article describing our current strategy. It's not public, so you should definitely apply for a job with us!

How we work

remote, distributed, together

Our main communication tool is Slack. Use Slack status to communicate your availability. The easiest way is on-/offline. We provide a few other status messages, e.g. when you’re in a meeting, in a work tunnel, on break, sick or on vacation. Make sure to set them accordingly.

Working locations

Working at different locations within your country of residence is possible at any time. Please make sure that you have all the necessary conditions for your work at these locations e.g. strong internet connection.

Working from EU countries can be discussed individually at any time. Please contact your lead and the people & culture team to find a suitable solution.

When we work

We rely on self-organized groups of individuals that know when and how to get their best work done. A team also decides how much overlap they need to collaborate.

We aim for 40 hours a week (for a full-time employee). This helps us focus on what's important. Each team and individual know best when to work. We have no fixed schedule.

We emphasize a healthy routine for everyone. That includes having a life outside of work and getting a good amount of sleep. That's the best productivity hack you can get.

There may be exceptions, but they stay exceptions. We act proactive. If we exceed these hours regularly, we figure out the issue and solve it. That can mean recruiting more people, fixing a flawed process, or something else.

Iterations & flow

Most teams plan and work in iterations of 2 weeks or in a constant flow. They release as often as possible. “Done” means our customers use it.

Sync

Every team has some form of a daily or weekly update meeting. All of thomann.io gathers once a month for the Assembly. This is our all-hands update format.

Reviews

Our product teams show their progress and achievements each iteration to product management. They invite the whole team when useful. More infos on our reviews can be found here.

Reflection

Each team is obligated to reflect regularly. Retrospectives and project recaps are our means of choice. If your team does not have a coach of its own, please contact the agile community for support.

One department of many

Whenever it is necessary to succeed in your project, do not hesitate to connect with other Thomann departments. Expert knowledge can be found were the experts are. Connecting to others also helps you to build your network within the company.

Reviews

#review is used by all teams that will present something new to everybody (colleagues, stakeholders, customers). Reviews take place every week. You are invited by default and each session is open to join for everybody. Each product team has a 30 to 60 minute slot to show the last weeks’ progress and share thoughts with stakeholders and colleagues from other teams. It is the responsibility of all product teams to prepare the review, invite stakeholders and update all non-attending team members on what’s been shared.

In order to help you with creating reviews that are informative and have the right scope here are some guidelines (not rules) for creating a good team review:

  1. Give a brief intro to topics: why is your team working on this topic? What’s the value of it?
  2. Tie lines of code to value, keep code low and focus on the value. This doesn't mean don't show code, it just means keep it on a certain level of detail.
  3. Involve the audience when possible. If you can, pose questions to the audience or encourage them to give feedback.
  4. Take some time in the teams for preparation. Your team is 100% enabled to take time for preparation, 5 minutes before team review may be too short.

Reviews are also recorded and shared afterwards through the respective Slack channel.

Code of conduct

To figure out what to do when things get tough, we created a code of conduct. Look at it as a little law book. It’s great if you never need it. But it’s cool to have it to settle arguments. It contains three sections.

The baseline to fulfill our mission is

  • to create empowered product teams
  • to create innovative products and solutions
  • to continuously deliver value for our organization

We are one team and are passionate about thomann.de and our app. We put our shared goals first and are proud of our work from day one.

How we communicate

  • Honest & direct: We communicate honestly, openly, benevolent and transparent. We always tackle problems and challenges by being respectful, technical and positive. The direct approach is the best approach.
  • Sharing knowledge: If something's for the world to come, document it! Information shall be available for everyone.
  • Give feedback: We share positive feedback with the largest group possible: Unit → Team → 1:1. We share negative feedback with the smallest group possible: 1:1 → Team → Unit. Every team member is allowed to give feedback in any direction (360°). We reflect regularly and continuously on all levels.
  • No elephants or beating around bushes: This should not exist. If it does, however, we approach somebody who is able to support us handling and solving the situation.

Our way of work

  • Customers first: We focus our work on our customers, therefore it's customer first in each department.
  • One remote, all remote: A good meeting provides equal chances for every participant. If one team member joins remotely, all other participants shall join the meeting remotely and separately.
  • Let's be pioneers: We take a step further than other e-commerce companies. Our ideas, features, team and ways of work shall be an inspiration for others and set the bar high.
  • Minimal change: The smallest change shall be validated with real customers as fast as possible. A great foundation is better than a house no one wants to live in.
  • Continuous improvement: We constantly learn to improve quality and processes, while concentrating on our strengths as well as striving for autonomy and empowerment.
  • Have and feedback ideas: Each idea helps us improve. Therefore, they shall always be put in our Feedback Hub. Consult others and remember: the inside of the box might only be one perspective.
  • Take ownership: We work driven by solutions, quality, success, and data. The teams own their product (or product parts) and code. They are responsible and accountable. Each role contributes with their own skills.
  • Consult others: If we are unsure about making a decision, we seek help from experienced team members. This also helps us to feedback ideas and prepare them for our Feedback Hub. All team members are consultants for each other.
  • Work in teams: Our way of work is inspired by established processes. However, we own and adjust them when needed. We bank on long-term, cross-functional teams working location- and platform-independent.

No Gos

  • Hallway radio: We avoid hidden priorities, agendas, and the distribution of wet ink. What counts is communicated transparently and explicitly.
  • Getting stuck with your mindset: We avoid being biased. There is no "we've always done it this way" or "this will never work" without valid data and experience.
  • Hidden feelings: We don't hide our feelings. Bad feelings tend to bottle up. We don't want you to listen to My Chemical Romance.
  • Complexity & waste: We avoid unnecessary complexity on all levels. The most obvious solution tends to be the most reliable. Therefore, we try to reduce waste continuously.
  • Finger pointing: It's not your fault. Mistakes happen all the time. We support each other to have them only happen once and to improve ourselves. Nothing's just someone else's problem.
  • Talking about "the others:" We are one large team - thomann.io. Even though we all have different roles, there are no "others" in our team. We share one common goal and every team member contributes with their skills.
  • Head monopolies: We don't like them. Each head can fit some more of the other team members' knowledge.

Our position on politics

At thomann.io, we are focused on building an economically successful and sustainable company. While we value diversity and inclusion, we aim to remain politically neutral in all aspects of our business operations. Our employees hold a diverse range of political views and opinions which we respect. However, we do not engage in political protests, campaigns or partisan discussions in the workplace. We do not discriminate against or take action against employees and potential candidates based on their nationality, personal political views or affiliations. Our goal is to foster an open environment where all employees feel comfortable being themselves, without having to walk on eggshells or self-censor. We have seen many companies suffer from taking partisan political stances, and believe it is in our best interest to remain neutral and focused on our business goals. At thomann.io, we aim to judge our employees solely on their merits, talents and contributions to our company's mission.

Management

We believe in the value of managers to drive results for the company, support teams and enable growth for individuals.

A manager’s job therefore can be divided into two areas.

  • Making the company successful
  • Taking care of their people

Making the company successful means delivering on company goals.

A manager has to deliver results with their team. They have to set the right context for their team. The other nature of your role is being a consultant for the company; when you are an engineering manager, you get questions about engineering and need to be able to have or get the answers.

Taking care of their people is the other part of the role.

You can have great goals, but what are goals without a team to help work towards them? As a manager, you have to build and retain a performing team by growing individuals, fostering collaboration, and recruiting talent. Taking care also means affording the team enough freedom to do their best work.

These areas are not only connected, but they depend on each other. Making the company successful is the WHY and taking care of their people is the HOW.

It doesn’t help if the company is successful, but its employees are frustrated. But there is also no value in having a happy team when the company is underperforming.

One manager should not have more than 8 direct reports over a longer period of time. This limit makes it possible to build genuine and trusting relationships.

Management soft skills

Depending on your experience as a manager, we expect you to have certain soft skills at different seniority levels. Independent of your current level as a manager, feel free to work on any of these traits.

Manager Stage 1

At this stage, individuals are often transitioning from being individual contributors to overseeing the work of others. Active listening, communication, and problem-solving are essential for understanding team dynamics and issues. Time management, adaptability, and goal-orientation help ensure tasks are completed efficiently and objectives are met. The ability to give and receive constructive feedback promotes continuous learning and improvement within the team.

Manager Stage 2

As managers gain more experience, they begin to take on more complex responsibilities that require advanced skills. Conflict resolution and decision-making are crucial for handling disagreements and making tough calls. Collaboration, delegation, and advanced problem-solving become critical as tasks and projects grow more complex. Emotional intelligence and relationship building are important for managing interpersonal dynamics and fostering a positive team environment.

Senior Manager

Senior managers typically oversee several teams or a larger department. Strategic thinking becomes paramount for aligning team objectives with broader organizational goals. Leading by example, change management, and mentoring are vital for driving team performance, managing transitions, and developing future leaders. Emotional resilience and cross-functional collaboration are essential for dealing with challenges and working effectively across the organization.

(Unit) Lead

Unit leads usually have broad responsibilities that may span multiple functions or departments. Advanced strategic thinking, vision setting, and decision-making under uncertainty are critical for navigating complex situations and guiding their teams towards strategic objectives. Team building, coaching, and organizational awareness are crucial for cultivating a high-performing team, developing its members, and understanding how their unit fits within the wider organization. Influencing and persuasion skills are key for aligning stakeholders with their vision and decisions.

Director

Directors typically hold high-level leadership roles with substantial influence over the organization's direction. Transformational leadership and visionary thinking are crucial for inspiring their teams and setting strategic direction. Change management, cultural awareness, and negotiation skills are vital for driving organizational change, managing diverse teams, and securing beneficial agreements. Corporate governance and executive stakeholder management are essential for ensuring the organization operates effectively and aligns with stakeholder interests. Crisis management is key for handling unforeseen challenges and ensuring the organization's resilience.

First steps & what awaits you

Welcome to the thomann.io team. We're thrilled that you're on board. Arrive calmly, sit back and let us surprise you.

In the first few weeks, you should find your way around and get to know people. To help you do that, you have a wonderful support system by your side: your buddy, lead, team and of course P&C and the agile coaches. In other words, a bunch of nice people who will introduce you to the Thomann.io cosmos.

To help you celebrate your first successes quickly, you will be given your first tasks in the first few weeks. These should also help you to get in touch with your new team. In addition to the professional exchange, we would also like to get to know you personally. You can look forward to many coffee calls.

To help you figure out what we expect, you will get everything clarified in the first week in an extra expectations meeting with your lead. But then it's up to you: we love feedback, so keep it coming! What can we do better? A fresh pair of eyes is always good. Don't hold back and exchange ideas with your buddy and the P&C unit. Within your first quarter the P&C unit will come to you to find out how you are doing and how the recruiting/onboarding process went.

After 3 months, you should know the most important contacts at Thomann Cosmos. Use the regular exchange with your colleagues for knowledge exchange, feedback or just to chat about the weather.

Onboarding buddies

Your buddy will help you find your way around the thomann.io.

They will coordinate your first meetings and introduce you to the people you’ll work close with everyday.

You and your buddy will hold regular feedback sessions in the first 6 months and beyond to make sure you can arrive in your new role properly.

Your buddy is the #1 go-to person for any questions. By the way, there are no stupid questions. But you already know this.

In addition, people & culture will ask you for feedback and any concerns during your first 6 months.

Expectations

Once you start your lead will share expectations for the first months with you. In some occasions, they might be shared by your onboarding buddy.

During your probation period and onboarding As a rule of thumb, you will receive much more feedback during your probationary period than afterwards.

Feedback meeting: Your feedback about recruiting and onboarding

At the 3-month point, we want to receive feedback from you. How was the recruiting process? What went well, what could be improved? H ow are things with your Onboarding Buddy? Did we miss anything? Your feedback is important for our people and culture unit. Feel free to also voice any criticism.

Feedback meeting: The 3-month-talk

It's half-time! After 3 months, you’ve already made it through half of your probationary period. This talk is here to check how happy you are with your role and if your tasks and responsibilities are meeting your expectations. At the same time, your lead will reflect on the work you’ve already done and will give you some feedback on it.

Feedback meeting: The 5-month-talk

Nice! You’ve almost completed your probationary period. This talk again serves as a check-in on you and your satisfaction within your role, team and the company. Same as before: your lead will give you an overview of your achievements and on parts that could be improved. Together, you’ll define the goals for the future and the path you will take in the next months.

Important: Make sure, you are transparent about where you need help or if there's some expectation that might not fit your role. After your probationary period, you will then proceed with our basic career development and feedback cycles.

Be the best buddy

As a buddy for a newbie, you are the first point of contact. Regardless of whether it's technical or team-related: you support the newbie with all of his/her questions and make sure she/he is doing well. The most important thing is to build a relationship of trust between the newbie and you. The newbie should feel comfortable and that is the number one priority for you as a buddy. To prepare you for your tasks, you will receive a buddy workshop from the P&C team.

Your tasks start before the newbie's first day (see onboarding checklist). You are responsible for making sure that the onboarding runs smoothly and that the newbie has all the information before the first day (e.g. start, agenda first day).

On the first day, you give a first introduction to the most important tools (e.g. Slack, Google Workplace, Kenjo), the team structure ("who does what") and the most important processes (e.g. meetings).

In the first weeks, make sure that the newbie is well-connected in the company and knows the most important people (lead community, coaches, P&C, etc.). Together with the lead, clarify the expectations of the newbie so that his/her role is clear to all parties. If you are unsure about this, feel free to approach the onboarding community or your lead.

It is important that you keep in touch with your newbie throughout the probationary period. Jour fixes or bi-weekly meetings can help to identify and clarify questions or uncertainties early on. The most important questions are:

  • "How are you?"
  • "How can we support you?”

If you have any questions, please contact the onboarding community #onboarding-buddy-general-information.

Feedback meetings

Regularly

During the probationary period, it would be great to give feedback to your newbie throughout. Important points are:

  • What is already working well?
  • Where do you see opportunities for development? Be sure to get feedback from others (e.g. coaches, colleagues, etc.).

During probationary period

Make sure you organize all necessary meetings for your newbie stated here.

Afterwards

You can certainly stay in close contact with your newbie beyond the probationary period.

Meetings

Give your meetings a title that makes sense. We’re growing, not everybody is into all meta-humor threads anymore. Like writing code, use meaningful meeting titles and add a short description. This helps people to know what it’s about and to opt out if they can’t add value.

Give your meetings a timebox that calls for freedom. 8 working hours should not be 8 meeting hours. Make sure you give yourself enough time to process meetings and work on your action items. It’s okay to say no to a meeting and it’s okay to opt out, if you’re not sure what to contribute. Schedule meetings for everybody to be able to use the bathroom or make a coffee in between, e.g. rather setup 45 minute meetings than 60 minute meetings.

Pay some respect, be on time. Be on time to your recurring team meetings, e.g. every team member should know when their daily is. All recurring team meetings happen according to the shared thomann.io calendar or team calendars. If they don't, you'll be notified.

Cancel meetings on time. Cancel your appointments when you take vacation. If possible, also cancel them while sick. Cancel them, while you travel and might be stuck with WIFIonICE…

Don't multi-task. Not even Hermione Granger handled that well. People make time to join an appointment with you so please value that and treat it with due respect. Don't type away in Slack chats while being on a call, don't pick up the phone unless it's an emergency and speak up if you get the feeling you have nothing to contribute instead of zoning out.

We show ourselves to other team members

We are a large department already. Working fully remote doesn't make it any easier to find your way around as a newbie or when looking for people you haven't worked with in a while.

Profile pictures & clear names

Set a profile picture in at least Slack and Kenjo in your first week of work. Google Workplace is a bonus everyone will thank you for when configuring access rights. Make sure the picture shows your face for others to recognize.

For Slack and Kenjo use your full name as profile name and display name. In your Slack profile, add your role & team in the title section.

This helps everyone, to find their way around our organization.

Nicknames

Some team members are often referred to by their nicknames. If you are one of these lucky people, please put your nickname in quotation marks between your first- and lastname, i.e. Firstname "Nickname" Lastname. This is the easiest way to search for you. You only need to apply your nickname in Slack.

Default: camera on

Video killed the radio star at some point. Our default in all calls is to have your camera turned on. There might be exceptions with bad internet connection, e.g. when traveling, or personal well-being.

Psychological safety

Important: if you feel, you're in a situation where psychological safety is not granted, approach a person of trust to support you. These can be, but are not limited to, persons from people and culture, the lead community, or the agile coaches.

How can you contribute to an environment of psychological safety?

  • Embrace a culture of respectful debate.
  • Encourage personal storytelling.
  • Ask questions.
  • Allow for experimentation and failure.
  • Model openness to feedback.
  • Set clear goals and key performance indicators.
  • Offer development opportunities.
  • Build a speak-up culture.
  • Highlight competencies.
  • Dismantle perceptions of hierarchy.

We're all in this world together. Therefore, we can be certain that other people share similar challenges as ourselves. From time to time, it's a good idea to visualize the following:

  • This person has beliefs, perspectives, and opinions, just like me.
  • This person has hopes, anxieties, and vulnerabilities, just like me.
  • This person has friends, family, and perhaps children who love them, just like me.
  • This person wants to feel respected, appreciated, and competent, just like me.
  • This person wishes for peace, joy, and happiness, just like me.

Huge kudos towards Gitlab for providing great content on this topic in their handbook.

Mental health

Mental health at work refers to the impact of work on a person’s mental well-being. It encompasses the psychological, emotional, and social aspects of work, including job tasks, work-life balance, relationships with colleagues and superiors, as well as the organisational culture. Thomann.io is aware of its responsibility to create a supportive work environment that promotes mental well-being, and offers resources for those who want support.

Please contact the people and culture unit at any time with questions. In urgent emergency cases and if you think we are not the right contact in your case, you will find competent help on 116117.de.

Your career at thomann.io

In this section, you'll learn which career paths you can choose from and how our feedback culture works.

Basics: Seniority and soft skills

Regardless your career path, there are a couple of general expectations tied to your personal seniority. We're not into the big title game but this overview helps you to understand what behavior we expect when placing people in their according roles.

Our career development is structured in basic seniority levels. Depending on the unit you'll be working in, there might be different numbers of stages, e.g. 2 as a junior, 2-3 as a senior. Depending on the size of your unit, there might also be different seniority levels, e.g. the engineering unit has a staff level, whereas others do not (yet).

Trainee/working student/intern

At this stage, you'll be making your first steps within your subject area. You'll acquire some basic knowledge and start to know what you're talking about.

We expect you to be curious and to ask a lot of questions proactively.

Junior

You have basic knowledge in your subject area. You take over projects on your own. You still ask more questions than you're able to answer.

Junior Stage 1: Basic communication skills, teamwork, learning agility, adaptability, time management, and respect for diversity.

Junior Stage 2: Advanced communication skills, basic conflict resolution, decision-making, goal setting, problem-solving skills, and improved learning agility.

Mid level

You have extended knowledge in your subject area. You take over projects on your own. You can answer more questions than you have to ask.

Mid-level Stage 1: Advanced conflict resolution, effective feedback skills, empathetic listening, creative thinking, and self-motivation.

Mid-level Stage 2: Leadership skills, project management, negotiation, strategic thinking, and emotional intelligence.

Mid-level Stage 3: Delegation, coaching, advanced leadership skills, advanced project management, and change management.

Senior

You have expert knowledge in your subject area. You function as a mentor for new team members in your subject area through onboarding, sparring or teaching. You are able to prioritize tasks in accordance with our customers and product vision and help others to do so as well.

Senior Stage 1: Advanced strategic thinking, crisis management, mentoring, resilience, and influencing skills.

Senior Stage 2: Advanced influencing skills, diplomacy, organizational skills, stakeholder management, and vision setting.

Senior Stage 3: Advanced organizational skills, decision-making in ambiguity, advanced vision setting, cultivating a culture of respect and integrity, and servant leadership.

Staff

You have expert knowledge in your subject area and a great understanding of company-wide business initiatives. You connect the dots across units, teams, and communities.

Staff Stage 1: Executive communication, succession planning, advanced diplomacy, advanced stakeholder management, and advanced servant leadership.

Staff Stage 2: Visionary leadership, strategic partnerships, shaping company culture, thought leadership, and advanced succession planning.

Career paths

Each unit offers two different career paths and a lot of different roles.

Expert

You like to dive deep into the rabbit hole of your expertise area? Awesome! You can advance your skill set in your subject area and become an experienced senior, some units might also offer staff level positions.

Management

You like to lead and enable people? You love to see them become experts? Great! You can grow into a management role and help your team to become empowered. One thing to keep in mind here: taking over a management role might take some time. We're not growing in lightspeed as a company. Therefore, it can take some time for a new management position to be available.

Important note: No matter on which path you decide, there will be no monetary differences. The pay ranges will be similar based on your seniority and your experience within thomann.io.

Changing roles: If you’re unhappy in your current role, just talk to your lead. If you see a role on our jobs page that might be a fit for you, just apply. It’s as simple as that.

360° Feedback

A great feedback culture lives from having the option to give feedback any time, any place. And even though this is great, it is important to provide regular, obligatory formats to collect and give feedback. Our guidelines on feedback culture can be found in our code of conduct.

Ad-hoc people and culture sessions

The people and culture unit offers an open ear to anybody in the team. If there’s something you’d like to talk about, just approach a person from the people & culture unit. This appointment is not obligatory but highly recommended. You can talk about your current situation within thomann.io. You can use it to talk about things you may not want to share with your lead person yet and get support preparing for it. Or just to get another perspective on how to achieve your goals or organize a training.

Weekly 1:1s

1:1s shall be used for continuous feedback, e.g. recapping your peer feedback sessions or where to go next on your journey through thomann.io. You can also use it to address obstacles in your daily business and to get advice on how to cope with challenges. Another important aspect is to feedback your lead person and address issues that are important to you.

Peer feedback

Once a year, you have to organize at least 2 peer feedback sessions.

  1. a talk with a team member you work together a lot (approx. 80% of your time). Let them answer the questions below.
  2. a talk with a team member you spend less time with (approx. 20% of your time). Let them answer the questions below.

Questions:

  1. What did I contribute to Thomann.io in the last 6-12 months?
  2. What do you appreciate working with me?
  3. From your perspective: In which areas should I grow to develop myself?

You can do your sessions reciprocal, interviewing each other. But make sure the second person is not biased from the first interview round. Make sure to talk with your lead about the peer feedback results.

Important note for the 20%-team-members: short feedback is fine. Don't worry to not have as much content as an 80%-team-member. Not observing negativity can be a positive feedback as well.

Probationary period

You will receive feedback within your probationary period. Refer to the onboarding section for more information.

Templates

All templates for the official interviews can be found in the career development shared drive.

Career development

To make it as simple and transparent as possible for each team member to decide for next steps in their career, we created a career development handbook. It's accessible for all team members and includes all templates and process descriptions for career development and salary.

Career development conversation

Once a year, a team member and their lead person will conduct a career development conversation. From a legal perspective, this reflects the yearly performance review, appraisal interview, or whatever you want to call it. It is split into a few different phases, consisting of a self-assessment (example), peer-feedback talks (template), the actual conversation with your lead (template), and if applicable a salary adjustment (process).

Your lead will share all necessary documents with you during the process and guide you through all your questions. Especially when you're new to the process, make sure to use a copy of the checklist document If you have questions about your career development during the year, feel free to reach out to your lead or a team member from people and culture.

Thomann.io as an organization

thomann.io GmbH itself integrates into Thomann Universe just as any other department would. thomann.io functions as Thomann’s tech and data department for customer-centric IT. Thomann also employs employee-centric IT teams (e.g. service center, internal IT) in our Treppendorf headquarters.

Besides us, there are many other departments, e.g. marketing, logistics, purchase management, sales, customer care, hr, audio professional, etc.

Leadership

  • Chief digital officer: Dr. Christian Maaß
  • Managing director thomann.io & director product: Jöran Eitel
  • Director technology: Daniel Hauck
  • Director data: Arman Savuk
  • Director organization: Ralph Cibis
  • Director finance: Meike Langer

Leadership shall be seen and interpreted as a service we provide for all our employees.

Responsibility and accountability

Responsibility

Responsibility refers to the obligation or expectation to perform a task or role within a specific context. It is the duty to complete an assigned task or fulfill a particular function. Responsibility can be shared among multiple individuals, and it can change as the situation evolves.

Accountability

Accountability, on the other hand, is the state of being answerable for the outcomes or results of a task or role. It implies that an individual, team, or organization is held liable for their actions and decisions. Accountability cannot be delegated or shared; it is always assigned to a specific person or entity, who must own the consequences of their actions, whether positive or negative.

Organizational structure

The organizational structure takes place within units and helps us to clearly define responsibilities and accountabilities.

Though, not every level is filled in each unit, we decided to define a structure similar to many companies in our field and not reinvent the wheel on this one.

Overview

levelexample roles
Individual contributorEngineer, PO
Manager (multiple stages)Engineering manager
Senior managerno roles yet
Unit LeadDesign lead, lead agile coach
DirectorDirector product
ChiefChief digital officer

Roles

A role‘s responsibilities are the accountabilities of the next level. For some roles in our units there might be additional responsibilities and accountabilities. This overview, however, provides information on what is applicable for these levels company-wide.

Individual contributor

Responsible for

  • Executing assigned tasks effectively and efficiently
  • Collaborating with their team members and other teams within the organization
  • Reporting their progress and providing feedback on ongoing projects
  • Continuously improving their skills and staying updated with industry trends
  • Adhering to company policies and guidelines

Manager

Responsible for

  • Guiding teams on functional choices
  • Overseeing the value stream
  • Facilitating personal growth of their team members
  • Collaborating with other teams, such as product management and quality assurance
  • Taking care of disciplinary matters, like salary and vacation

Senior manager

n/a

Lead

Responsible for

  • Establishing and monitoring performance metrics and delivery goals
  • Addressing challenges and streamlining processes
  • Ensuring coordination with other teams and units within the organization
  • Recruiting and managing team members
  • Facilitating regular communication across team members, directors, and stakeholders

Director

Responsible for

  • Sharing the organizational mission and answer questions in regard to it
  • Ensuring the alignment of division objectives with the organization's overall strategy
  • Managing budgets, resources, and unit leads
  • Collaborating with other divisions and business units

Chief digital officer

Responsible for

  • Developing and implementing a cohesive digital strategy
  • Overseeing technology investments and innovation initiatives
  • Ensuring cross-functional collaboration to promote digitization
  • Identifying areas for digitization and automation
  • Managing digital partnerships and alliances

Current divisions and units

  • Division Product
    • Units: Product, UI/UX/UR
  • Division Technology
    • Units: Shop Engineering, Quality Engineering, Architecture, Operations, Tools Engineering
  • Division Data
    • Units: Data Analytics-/Science Unit, Digital Analytics & Measurement Unit, Data Engineering Unit, Business Intelligence Unit
  • Division Organization
    • Units: People & Culture, Agile Coaching, Organizational Development
  • Division Finance
    • Units: Finance, Business Administration, Office

Divisions

Divisions are areas covering a broader, more general topic. Each division is led by a director and consists of multiple units.

Current divisions are product, technology, data, organization, finance.

Units

Your unit is your home base and lives within a division. A unit has a lead that takes care of disciplinary topics and the technical direction of the unit. Units from similar areas report to a director to provide a scalable structure.

Scale & leads

Some units are already large enough to have their own lead persons. There might be different factors to be taken into account when creating a new lead role for a unit:

  • the amount of team members working in a unit
  • the complexity of the topic a unit covers
  • how the unit has grown over the years Small units might still be led by the director of the unit's division.

Operational structure

Overview

Operational structure of thomann.io

Units, teams and communities

Our roles at thomann.io are clustered in different units. Each unit provides different roles. They all assemble in product teams, service teams, or communities. Each team has free choice about their means of work and process frameworks, as long as they contribute value for our customers in regular, short iterations.

Teams

Product teams

  • customer-centric to the users of our web shop and app
  • data- & metrics-driven
  • focus on goals, e.g. improving search or checkout

Product teams combine roles from engineering, product, uiux, and agile to own parts of our web shop and app. They work together with service teams to succeed in their projects.

Service teams

  • engineers and other internal roles as customers
  • improve development experience
  • support product teams in cross-functionality

Service teams usually have their competency in one unit. Examples are our development experience team, operations, data or people & culture. They support our product teams in working end-to-end by providing a specific service, e.g. infrastructure or data analysis. They might also support other departments from Thomann.

Important note: When service teams grow, we'll add their roles to product teams where it makes sense. This enables more autonomous work within the product teams.

Switching teams

Should a team member not feel comfortable (like really uncomfortable) with their team, there's an option to switch teams. The highest priority here is to look for direct communication. There are some requirements for finding/forming a new team:

  1. Functioning teams must endure
  2. Teams must be able to develop features for their focus topic
  3. Teams should consist of people from multiple locations
  4. A new team constellation shall improve our product development

Making teams visible

Make sure your team has a blog post on thomann.io. This will help you introduce the team to your applicants. Important: You own the post. If your team changes, you must change the post as well.

List of teams

Team BK

Topic: taking care of everything after a customer has decided for a product in our web shop.

Team scharf team

Topic: taking care of everything that a customer needs to decide for a product in our web shop.

Team APPic

Topic: taking care of the Thomann mobile app and the API it uses.

Team Toolster

Topic: taking care of content management systems and tooling structure, i.e. tools that are needed by other departments to bring our web shop to life.

Team Operations

Topic: taking care of the infrastructure that runs the Thomann universe.

Team IT Support

Topic: internal (client) IT support, takes care about all client hardware, software and licences, helps you with your device problems. Click the headline to find more information and processes on the related Confluence page.

Team Data

Topic: taking care of our data warehouse, business intelligence, and figuring out what data helps the most in which team or department.

Team Flavortown

Topic: taking care of building a state-of-the-art development experience in the depths of our web shop backend and services.

Team Quality Engineering

Topic: building a test framework to ensure constant improvements in quality for our software.

Architects

Topic: making sure, there's somebody who understands how everything works together. Taking care of simplifying exactly this.

Structure within teams

Most of our operational teams follow a certain structural pattern. This consists of an Ikigai relationship between engineering managers, agile coaches, and product owners or, in some teams, project managers. This structure is thought to help cover the most important topics in a team.

Product owners or project managers (effectiveness)

Their main question is: are we doing the right thing?

  • Align with business goals
  • Track business metrics, e.g. no. of checkouts, cvr, aov
  • Prioritize customer and stakeholder requirements

Agile coaches (efficiency)

Their main question is: are we doing things right?

  • Coach teams to maturity and performance (mission statement agile community)
  • Track agile metrics, e.g cycle time, waiting times, bottle necks, wip
  • Support team roles & stakeholders to work in an agile context

Engineering managers (skills & tech strategy)

Their main question is: do we have everything in our team to do it?

  • Development of team members personally
  • Keep tracking of required skills
  • Ensure technical excellence

Although the roles have their focus areas, they need to be connected and in frequent exchange with each other to support their team members in creating the highest value for their customers/stakeholders.

Structure within teams

Communities

Communities are team members that work on a shared mission. Every team member can join or create a community. They can exist for a long time (e.g. uiux, branding, or poac) or just for a few days or weeks (e.g. to organize a team event). This also means, that this page might not be super-up-to-date.

Example Communities

Strategy community, user research, agile community, bizad community, security community

Always room for more ideas

Make up your own community! If you have an idea, found a community:

  • create a public slack channel (private only, if it's really REALLY necessary)
  • send an @channel message in #announcements to inform everyone about your community and its mission
  • add the community to this section of the employee handbook
  • get started on your mission

Important note: make sure that participating in a community doesn't block you in your current role (e.g. engineer in a product team). Be transparent about it and check with your team and lead person, if you think the team's performance might decrease.

Benefits

X-Mas money

We pay a 13th salary together with the November salary.

Company pension scheme

We offer a company pension scheme (betriebliche Altersvorsorge) for all of our employees from Germany. You can top the employer contribution tax-free with money from your gross salary (regulations apply). From the employer side, we offer the following subsidies:

  • 0-2 years with the company (after probationary period): 50€/month
  • 2-5 years with the company: 75€/month
  • 5+ years with the company: 100€/month

Employee discount

You receive Thomann employee discount. The discount depends on a product's margin. The formula is "purchase price + 10% + VAT".

As an example: You'd like to buy a guitar for 800€. Our purchase price might be 450€. The easiest way to calculate: 450€ * 1.1 * 1.19 = 589.05€. This means you'd pay 589.05€ instead of 800€ for the instrument.

If the margin is too tight, it might make more sense to pay the normal price.

How to order: You can get the price in Slack by writing a message to our Cookie bot. All you have to type is employeeprice articlenumber, e.g. employeeprice 123456 and you get the price. In case the Cookie bot is down, you can ask the people from Treppendorf marketing backoffice, e.g. Alina for a price.

For the first order you take as an employee please use the comment field in the checkout to write down the following information “Employee at thomann.io; Account no.: {Your customer account number}“, which will then be stored within your customer data, so that you can simply take discounted orders automatically in the future. Make sure to select payment by invoice since the discount won't be deducted in the checkout and your order (your identity respectively) checked for eligibility.

Equipment

We try to fulfill your wishes regarding working equipment. Make sure you have a look at delivery times, though. Having no computer in your first couple of weeks shouldn't be an option to strive for.

Coaching

We offer regular systemic coaching with an external coach. If you need someone to listen to you, to provide a different perspective, or to challenge your ideas and thoughts, just sign up for a session. You find the sign up link in the #coaching-with-sabrina Slack channel.

Sport/Food etc.

In Treppendorf there's a gym and a canteen. The gym is brand new and offers everything you can think of. The canteen, our t.kitchen, offers warm meals during the day and you get employee discount on food and drinks.

For remote positions/other offices: we have a cooperation with urban sports club and a discounted membership for employees. With urban sports club you have many possibilities to take part in sports activities in your area.

Corporate benefits

For those of you who are also interested in buying from different shops we also have a cooperation with Corporate Benefits. With Corporate Benefits you´ll receive ongoing attractive offers from famous brands, which you can redeem in online shops or also in store directly on site. You can easily sign up with you thomann.io email address at Mitarbeiterangebote.

Referral program

If you have the right candidate for one of our vacancies: talk to her/him and introduce her/him to the recruiting team. If everything works out and it comes to a hire, you will receive 1000 Euro after the newbie has passed the probationary period (6 months).

You get the bonus for all successfully placed full-time team members (working student positions are excluded).

Any questions? Then get in touch with the P&C team.

English and German lessons with native speakers

English is our main working language across the whole company. To help everyone to make the transition, we have regular training sessions in small groups led by a native-speaking English coach.

Having English as our everyday language has allowed our team to become even more multicultural and diverse and makes it easier to work across borders.

If you already feel comfortable with your English skills, we also offer German lessons led by a native-speaking German coach.

You can join the #english-course or the #german-course Slack channels and take part in one of the groups.

Guidelines

Meeting team members, visiting offices

You can always visit one of our offices. Be it Berlin or Erlangen or a trip to our headquarters in Treppendorf. If it's for day-to-day work, we recommend to commute to your closest office. If it's for onboarding, workshops, or other events with a higher purpose than "just work," there are no restrictions.

Be it through travel or remotely, make sure to connect your team members regularly. Schedule coffee calls or have lunch together. We encourage you being you and making friends out of your colleagues. Check the travel guidelines for further information.

Remember, we are a remote first company and even if traveling for yourself might be easy, some team members may have long train rides or even have to take a plane.

Working time

Working hours, travel times and event days including overnight stay e.g. conferences, workshops, trainings in another location than your permanent residence are accounted for as a maximum of 10 hours. If the working hours including travel times are less than 10 hours, only the actual time value can be logged in the time tracking system.

Exception for car travel Here, the working time and the travel time must be logged separately. Please also enter the actual time value here. Here the working time may also be max. 10 hours. But the car journey is added on top and therefore a working day including the journey can have more than 10 hours.

Time Off

Holiday / vacation

You can take a vacation as spontaneously as you like - but keep the following rules in mind:

  • Get the "go" from your lead person & team early on.
  • Plan ahead. If possible: plan your vacation at least one iteration in advance.

Do not forget to

  • Communicate your vacation to your team.
  • Submit your vacation to kenjo.
  • Set your absence note and add a public out-of-office appointment to your Google calendar.
  • Make a vacation handover. You are accountable for ensuring that all tasks and issues have been handed over to your team.
  • Cancel your appointments (you can do this automatically through your out-of-office appointment in Google calendar.

Christmas Business

The period from October to January is clearly the period with the highest revenue in the store.

Even during the Christmas period, we have to ensure that all teams deal with critical bugs and problems promptly (on working days).

Our teams ensure this through self-organization.

Overtime compensation

Same guidelines as for vacation apply. We offer overtime compensation as time off.

Important: Kenjo does not offer the option to convert overtime into time off by yourself. If you want to have it converted, please contact your lead/manager. Only after the conversion, you can request overtime compensation via Kenjo. Otherwise, unfortunately, the tool will track negative hours for overtime compensation.

Sickness / Absence

First of all: If you need an overview of people on vacation or absent, you can use the calendar view in Kenjo or subscribe to the Kenjo calendar feed with your own calendar app.

Process

  • Send a message to your lead person (before the daily).
  • Cancel your appointments on that day.
  • Let your lead person know when you’re back.
  • If you are absent for a longer period of time, make a handover with your team if possible. You can also set an out-of-office appointment in your Google calendar that automatically declines your appointments.

Formalities

The submission of the eAU (certificate of incapacity for work) is mandatory after day 3.

Important: If you are sick on a Friday and also on the following Monday handing in an AU is mandatory. This is independent of feeling well over the weekend or having a different illness on said Monday.

If you report your illness via Kenjo, please always note whether an eAU is available or not. It's no longer necessary to upload an AU to Kenjo. The AU is now requested digitally by us from your health insurance companies. However, you still have the right to have the doctor provide you with the AU certificate in paper form, should there be any technical problems. Please always have this certificate issued to you and store it for at least one month.

Child illness

We know that having sick children can be an extra burden for an individual to deal with on top of their usual work. To give a bit of credit to all the parents amongst us, Thomann.io grants its employees an additional 5 days of leave to take care of their sick children per year, per child. To hand a day in, please use the additional absence rule for the child’s sick leave in Kenjo and note the number of days used, for example 0.5/5, and the name of the child in the comment field when submitting an absence request.

The days don't have to be taken consecutively, they can be taken individually. These days are only valid for children up to 12 years of age.

The first 5 days in a year that your child is sick, you can take care of them at home, without having to get a doctor's certificate, and we will pay your salary as normal, no worries.

For any day after that, Thomann.io won't pay your salary as normal: you will need to get a doctor's certificate and get your salary for those day(s) reimbursed by your health insurer. You can usually get around 60-70% of the salary back from your insurer.

Special leave

Special leave is an essential aspect of our leave policy that recognizes the diverse needs and situations that you may encounter during your employment tenure. The purpose of special leave is to provide you with the flexibility you need to attend to extraordinary circumstances while maintaining job security.

For the following reasons we offer special leave:

  • Death of a relative (1st degree: spouse, child, parents) - 2 days
  • Wedding - 1 day
  • Birth of the child (fathers) - 1 day (day of birth)

Do not forget to:

  • Submit your special leave to Kenjo (use the special leave rule) --> also possible after your return
  • Make sure to follow the basic vacation guidelines above

Travels (booking and reimbursement)

Business trip travel expenses rules

Reasons for travel expenses for remote team members (even if living close to the office):

  • Onboarding/offboarding in the office
  • Workshops in the office
  • Conference/training in your city
  • Team events (2 times a year)
  • Real business trip, errands for the office etc.

Voluntary office days, normal team meetings e.g. 1 x week or month etc. can be only be recovered through the income tax return.

Excluded: Employees who always go to the office (office contract) or receive public transport allowance.

Reimbursement is only retroactive for trips from 01.03.2023. Only kilometers travelled or tickets e.g. tram, bus, train can be reimbursed in the travel expense reports. Reimbursement is not possible without a ticket.

If a team member who does not go to the office regularly and only has a private annual ticket (i.e. no public transport subsidy from the company), they cannot claim the costs via the travel expense report. They can only deduct them via income tax.

Public transport allowance

An allowance on public transport costs is possible with the following conditions:

  • You have an office contract or a hybrid contract (team members with a remote contract are not eligible).
  • You must go to the office at least 3 out of 5 days per week, each month, to be eligible.
  • The public transport allowance is up to 85 EUR per person per month. If your public transport ticket costs less than this amount, then you will receive that amount instead. Sounds like you? Then email Orga with your proof of purchase, and they will explain the next steps

Rules for train booking

  • you have to book the train tickets yourself
  • only 2nd class tickets
  • choose Sparpreis tickets (not Flexpreis; Sparpreis is a good choice, because one still has the option to cancel the train ride, while that is not possible with Super Sparpreis)
  • If possible, try to avoid traveling on Fridays. It’s a heavy commute day, therefore the probability of train delays and failure is higher. If you cannot avoid traveling on a Friday, please book a Flex Ticket one way. It’ll give you a little more flexibility with trains.
  • always book a seat as well
  • we strongly advise you to plan your trip well in advance to avoid high ticket costs and think your traveling plan through in order to avoid cancellation fees

Travel expenses reimbursement tool

After the trip you will submit the tickets for reimbursement through the travel expenses reimbursement tool. All travel means apply - train, bus, taxi, flights, public transport - as well as travels by car and parking.

Link to the tool

For all employees of Thomann GmbH (the Headquarters) or partner companies (eg. Datadice, Sunlab, Coding Pioneers), the rules of the respective company apply. The thomann.io reimbursement tool is not meant for their use.

Meal allowance (Verpflegungsmehraufwand)

The daily meal allowance (Verpflegungsmehraufwand) only applies to travel with overnight stay. Please enter an honest count of the meals that have been paid for by the company (either through the hotel booking or team dinners, company events and alike). If all three meals in a given day have been provided to you by the company, you are not entitled to the meal allowance for that day.

Hotel bookings

Hotels will be selected and booked by the Orga-Team. The hotels are always booked with breakfast. Please inform the orga@ by email about your business trip.

The following information is needed:

  • Place
  • Date (arrival and departure)
  • Note if no breakfast is required
  • Possible allergies or other requirements (for example air conditioning in the summer, working desk in the room,...)

If possible, send hotel booking request to Orga-Team two weeks in advance.

Team events

Requirements

  • each team member should participate in up to two team building events per year (excluding events like yearly kickoff or open space).
  • make sure at least one of your two events includes some sort of workshop/working together/reflection to become better in your day-to-day work.
  • examples to use the events with your team/unit/community are: team building, onsite retros, design thinking, product workshop, dining, lasertag, a bbq boat etc.
  • an event can be organized as a team, a unit, or a community, since not every person in our organization is part of a regular team.
  • look left and right when organizing an event. Is there somebody working closely with you who’s maybe lacking a team? Invite them!
  • we provide 100€ per person two times a year.
  • not included in the 100€: travel & accommodation. Book your train and hotels as usual and fill out the travel expense tool.
  • if relevant the team event should be held close to where the most team members are located, and must be within Germany.

Process

  • Activities must be requested at least 14 days in advance.
  • Fill out the activity request form. You can find it pinned to the #slackcast channel.
  • Choose an activity manager for this event from your announced team.
  • Booking, reservation and payment of the team activity is done by the orga team.
  • Exception: restaurant visits with hospitality receipts. Unfortunately, restaurant visits cannot be paid in advance. That is why the activity manager lays out the amount. The activity manager then submits the hospitality receipt to the orga team for payment after the event. Attention: Always ask for a hospitality receipt (Bewirtungsbeleg) at the restaurant. This is necessary for the payback. For the reimbursement send a scan of your receipt to accounting directly after the team activity has taken place. Thereafter, you are required to hand over the original hospitality receipt in paper form to the persons in charge in the offices Erlangen and Berlin or send it per mail to the orga team.
  • Train and hotel bookings will be made as usual after the team activity booking has been completed.
  • Time tracking: put 10h of traveling into Kenjo or ask the person in charge at Thomann GmbH to put it in qtime (for Thomann GmbH employees).
  • Once you had a great time, share 1-2 photos and a short description for everyone in #slackcast

Offices

When you plan on going to our offices in Erlangen or Berlin, make sure you add your visit to the respective office calendars. This is especially important if you are the organizer of a larger workshop/group event in one of the offices.

Book a meeting room

You need to use one of the meeting rooms in our office?

No problem - let's make sure it isn't already booked and that it doesn't get booked over later. Please use the appropriate office calendar (Berlin or Erlangen) and create an event for the day you want to book your meeting room.

Please include event title:

  • Your name
  • Room name
  • Start and end time of the booking
  • e.g. "Mike / large Berlin meeting room / 9am - 6pm

Creating new roles and hiring people

Identify the need

Determine the purpose and goals of the new position. Consider how the role will support the company's overall strategy, fill a specific skill gap, or help manage an increased workload. Consult with relevant stakeholders, including department heads and executives, to ensure that the new position aligns with the organization's needs.

Draft a job description

Write a clear and concise job description that outlines the responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations for the new position. Use industry standards and best practices to craft a comprehensive description that will attract qualified candidates.

Seek Manager approval

Before moving forward with the recruitment process, it's essential to obtain approval from the relevant manager or executive who will oversee the new hire. Provide them with the job description and explain how the new role will benefit the department or organization. Address any concerns they may have and be prepared to make adjustments as needed.

Determine the budget

Work with the finance department and the approving manager to determine the salary range, benefits, and other expenses associated with the new position. Consider factors such as industry norms, company budget constraints, and the level of experience required for the role.

Post the job

Once you have manager approval and have finalized the job description and budget, it's time to post the job. Talk with people and culture about available recruitment methods to attract a diverse pool of qualified candidates, including job boards, social media, and employee referrals. Make sure to communicate the urgency of filling the role. Some positions are nice-to-have, and it's okay to take some time to fill them. Some positions are super-urgent.

Define the hiring process

Work together with people and culture to define the hiring process, e.g. who will screen applications, who will be involved in technical interviews, and if there's a trial task. Also clarify, if part of the process will be onsite at any of our offices. Make also sure, people involved are aware of the process and have some spare time to be involved.

Personal data

If your personal data (e.g. address, martial status, bank account) changes, please follow the following steps to ensure a seamless update process for your employee file and salary information.

  1. Update your profile in Kenjo.
  2. Write an email to orga@thomann.io containing all updates.

Especially regarding banking information, it's important to inform proactively before the 15th of a month. This ensures that our tax advisor is provided with the correct data to handle your salary.

Formats/Education

Ask Us Anything

You'll find an ask-us-anything form pinned to the #slackcast Slack channel. Use this form, if you like to ask a question anonymously towards the strategy community. This might be helpful if you feel uncertainty or insecurity with announcements or decisions. We want to make sure that every team member has a safe space to ask questions.

Learning & development

So, you want to skill up and learn some new things? Great! As part of our learning & development opportunities, each team member is eligible for an external training or conference up to 1,500 EUR per year.

The only requirements are that:

  1. It is something that will help you grow within your role and expertise
  2. Your manager approves it
  3. You are permanently employed, i.e. not a working student, intern, or similar

After that, the process is fairly simple:

  1. Write an email to our orga team, with your manager in CC, and explain which course you want to take/which book you want to buy/which conference you want to attend/etc.
  2. Orga will book it on your behalf. In case they are unable to book it on your behalf, we may be able to reimburse you after you purchase it yourself, but please talk to us about this option first.
  3. Once you've completed your training, feel free to share some content & insights in our workshops & learning shared drive.

Additional external trainings need approval from your unit lead and the respective director.

We also offer internal opportunities for self-development. These include a collaboration with Pluralsight. Pluralsight is a training solution that provides training on topics such as cloud, security, software development and data. Please talk with your lead if you are interested so they can provide you with the login information.

Happy learning!

Workshops

From time to time, different workshops for different audiences will be offered. Some formats we do on a regular basis are for example workshops on how to give/receive feedback or introductions to design thinking. There is a shared drive pinned to #slackcast where team members can share material from interesting workshops for everyone. If you have something, put it in there. Create a folder that follows the format YYYY-MM-DD-workshop-title-trainer-name and move your files in it.

Our Year

Yearly kickoff

Each year has its own story. Our yearly kickoff is an all-hands meeting to tell the team what challenges to solve.

Assembly

Our all-hands format. Once a month, async.

Open Space

A day for team-wide knowledge sharing. Bring in your own ideas and topics. The usual tracks are tech, product, meta, music. There'll also be workshops, hackathons, and team building. It usually happens in person.

Christmas Business

October 15 marks the traditional start of Christmas business in e-commerce. This is when we enter the phase of showing our prettiest faces and a polished user experience.

Team/Unit Events

Get to meet your peers, your team members, your unit members. Check with your lead or your team on how and when to organize events. Feel free to rent a boat on Spree river, visit a drip stone cave, or go for Mario Kart like go-kart. Check the guideslines section for more information.

E1T1 (Each1Teach1)

E1T1 is a format where colleagues can share their knowledge with and practice public speaking in front of colleagues. You can talk about any topics related to Thomann, or about technology. You can decide how you want to do it (a presentation, a workshop, a talk, etc.). The duration is typically one hour, and it takes place monthly on the last Friday. It's meant as a voluntary format to spend lunch together. Here is the link to the backlog of topics. Please contact Anne, if you have a topic or questions.

Assembly

Once our all-hands meeting, we started in April 2023 with an asynchronous format. For us, this has the following advantages:

  • Watch it, whenever you have time
  • Watch it at your speed and take brakes whenever you like
  • Communicate information, even if you can't make it to this one appointment a month
  • Higher density of information due to skipping the "shared presentation video call awkwardness"

The Assembly consists mainly of these parts:

  • Thomann GmbH company information
  • Updates from product, data, and tech (i.e. what does not fit their review sessions)
  • Thomann.io organization updates (i.e. newbies, leavers, communities, badges, events)

The Assembly (video & slides) is posted to #announcements in the second week of the month. If there are questions to any of the Assembly's topics, use the post's thread. An answer will be provided there.

Important: watching the Assembly is mandatory because it contains relevant information for every team member. Watch the Assembly in the month it has been published.

In #announcements you find all previous Assemblies bookmarked as well.

Contributing to Assembly

Here are some best practices to make your contribution to the Assembly easy to consume by all team members:

  • Record a video and also provide slides that can transfer your message without having to watch the video
  • Videos should have a second of silence in the beginning and the end. This helps to have smoother transitions in post-production
  • Write some bullet points down before recording your video. This helps to create a cohesive message and to not forget anything important
  • When sharing your screen, especially when it's a presentation, make sure you share the presentation mode window
  • Topics should be as short and concise as possible and by no means exceed 5 minutes in length
  • Directly edit the Assembly presentation and add all your slides there. This also helps to figure out where to put your video in post-production
  • All videos should be stored in the YYYY-MM-videos folder (e.g. 2023-09-videos) in the Assembly shared drive
  • When recording a video, make sure you have a quiet environment and are close to your microphone

Internships

Internships in other departments of Thomann are possible at any time and explicitly desired. Possible departments are logistics, hotline, store, or purchasing.

Why would I do that?

  • Take a look behind the store development
  • Get to know other colleagues, departments and working methods
  • Understand the company, processes and procedures better
  • See what our customers do outside the store but also tell others what we are working on at thomann.io and how we do it
  • Alignment: that we want the same as everyone else: Inspiring and enabling all people to speak music, everywhere.

Every team member can register for an internship. Just check with your lead person or engineering manager. They will bundle it up and pass the information to Jöran. He takes care of organization.

Bonus: before signing up, think about which department might be particularly interesting for your role or current project.

THOMANN.IO Blog

Every team member is allowed to write blog posts for thomann.io. If you have an interesting topic or you want to introduce your team, feel free to write a blog post.

Since our team's take care of their recruiting process and of creating job ads, it's recommended to have a blog post introducing your team. And remember to update regularly.

If you want to write a blog post, just send a message to our culture lead for credentials to contentful (the CMS behind the blog).

Blog posts need the following structure:

  • title
  • teaser test (one sentence or so)
  • the text (markdown preferred)
  • an image
  • an author

You can find the login information in Bitwarden. It's shared with every team member on organizational level.

Tools

Our philosophy about tools - new or current

As for everything we do, structure follows strategy. Our tools have to contribute to solving our day-to-day challenges and not be challenges themselves.

Introducing new tools

  1. Check, if we already have a similar tool in use, or already an account with the tool you'd like to introduce. This can be done with the finance/BizAd people.
  2. If there's a new tool you need for a project make sure it is GDPR-compliant. It might be necessary to have a contract data processing.
  3. Next it is mandatory to request a company-owned account from tooling@. After they created an account, they will provide access to you. It is not allowed to store company-related data in a personal account.
  4. Make it viewable for every stakeholder of your project, e.g. other team members, people from other Thomann departments. Viewable should also mean secure: protect the link with a password where possible or create user/guest accounts. This will help us to protect data and control who has access.

Change Blog

We use an internal blog to communicate our most recent releases, engineering updates, and strategy information. It's available for team members and everybody in the headquarters to stay up to date with what we're doing. We recommend our team members to subscribe to it by email.

Kenjo

Kenjo is our people and culture tool. It's used for all people-related tasks:

  • requesting vacation
  • calling in sick
  • setting and tracking unit/community/team/personal goals
  • download paychecks
  • etc.

Bitwarden

Bitwarden is the password manager at Thomann.io. You can save personal and organization related passwords.

Personal Vault

You will get one personal vault named "My vault" where you can store your personal passwords.

Organization Vault

You will get one organization vault named "Thomann.io" where you can store and share group accounts with your team and in the organization.

Folders

A folder is for your own password organisation, that means that only you can see this folder structure.

Collections

A collection is like a team folder, every team will get one team collection where they can share passwords. If you put a password inside of this collection, all team members which are assigned to this collection will be able to see this password. One password can be in multiple collections, this means you can share one item multiple times with different teams if needed. The operations team is managing the collection structure, thus if you need something please contact the #opsteam-support channel in Slack.

Do I have to use this password manager

We do not check if everyone is using Bitwarden as a password manager but if you are storing organization related passwords somewhere you have to use it.

If you have further questions, please take a look into our tutorial video in our Bitwarden Confluence page or contact the operations team in the #opsteam-support Slack channel.

Slack

Slack is our main communication tool. You can reach every team member of thomann.io via Slack.

Etiquette

Using Slack can become confusing from time to time. That's why we try - especially in channels with more than two people and various topics - to answer questions in threads. This helps to keep the channels clean and to switch context between topics more easily.

Asynchronicity

Slack helps us to be very flexible in how and when we work. Therefore and due to other reasons (e.g. meetings, deep work, workshops) it might occur that team members do not respond immediately and it's not expected from you that you respond immediately. Just make sure you respond to messages in a timely manner once you are available.

In situations where you need very urgent help, it's better to use channels such as #dev or one of the support channels mentioned below to ask for help. This will increase the crowd you are reaching.

Important channels

#announcements and #slackcast

#announcements is used for must-have/must-know information. Announcements made should always use the @Channel mention. Ask yourself: does everybody need to have this information right now?

#slackcast is used for should-have/should-know/nice-to-have information. For example all-over business context, information on workshops/team events that happened, progress of team projects, new people starting, old people leaving... Information provided here should either be posted without a mention or only use a weaker form such as mentioning a single team or @hier

Both channels are standard channels every newly added team member joins. If you haven't joined yet, please do so.

#thomann-universe, #tech-news, #tech-talk, #coffee-time and #bauchpinselei

#thomann-universe is used to connect all team members and all guests. It has no real communication purpose other than being able to contact all people we have in our slack workspace, regardless of being guests or workspace members.

Use the #tech-news channel to share important announcements that are relevant to all developers. This includes important code changes, accepted rfcs, patch day information and many more. All other questions and discussions that are relevant to all developers or where it's not clear which developer to ask are best placed in #dev.

Use the #tech-talk channel if you stumbled upon interesting news in the tech world outside thomann.io that team members could be interested in.

If you find a really positive customer feedback, provide it to everybody in #bauchpinselei.

#coffee-time is a standard channel that helps you to connect to other team members. Every monday our coffee bot will match a new pair of team members to have a call in the current week.

Do not use @channel or @here mentions in these three channels. If you have important news that justify pinging everyone better choose #announcements or #slackcast.

#opsteam-support and #datateam-support

Any questions regarding our infrastructure or how to track data and receive it? Both channels help you to quickly connect with team members of our operations and of our data team. Remember: there are no stupid questions. If you’re asking yourself a question, chances are high someone else can also profit from an answer.

In #opsteam-support you can use @dispatcher for urgent requests and @opsteam for critical system failures. All other requests should be posted without a mention.

In #datateam-support you can use @datateam for urgent requests. If you have a specific request it's best to put it in a Jira ticket.

#jira-support

It's our channel for all things Atlassian. In here the opsteam and our coaches work hand in hand. Do you need access to another board or project? Have a question about sharing a Confluence Space? Need another customfield or add-on? This is the place to drop your question...

#agile-support

This channel provides everyone with the option to ask for facilitation/moderation or to ask for workshops regarding agile, organizational engineering, product discovery such as design thinking and so on. Also, you can ask anything regarding these topics, and we can provide asynchronous counselling or feedback drawn form the expertise of all our coaches.

Google Workspace

Our documents, spreadsheets and presentations are created with the tools by Google.

Email

Google Workspace provides you with access to your @thomann.io inbox. When you start your job with us or change your role, make sure you adjust your signature. The signature template can be found here.

  • The signature is HTML, copy&paste it by using “select all/cmd+a shortcut” and paste it into the signature field of gmail. Apple Mail works if you uncheck the "use standard fonts" checkbox. It's preferred that you use Gmail directly, though.
  • There are a couple of placeholders (name, role, phone, email, and external company) - make sure you fill what’s applicable and delete what’s not.
  • For our folks employed at CP or Sunlab - due to legal reasons, you need your real company name behind your role. Put it in brackets, e.g. (Sunlab GmbH)
  • Set the signature for new emails and answers/forwards

Calendar

We use Google calendars for our appointments. Make sure you take care of your calendar, so other team members can rely on booking appointments with you on free slots. Find more information about appointments in the how we work section of the handbook.

If there's a sharing issue with one of our calendars, you can find the calendar IDs for manual integration in Confluence.

Sharing documents & Google groups

There are some shared drives, e.g. for presentation templates. Our preferred way of collaborating on docs is to store them in shared drives that can be accessed by everyone that needs access and belong to nobody in particular. To simplify sharing (but also invites or emails to larger groups) make sure you use groups. This helps us to manage access and grant transparency way better than on an individual level. If you need a new group and don't have rights to create one yourself, create a ticket for the ops team via Jira.

An example: if you onboard a new team member and at it to a specific group, e.g. engineering, the calendar will automatically show all appointments were this group is invited.

Atlassian Cloud

Well, we said it. We work with Jira and Confluence in the cloud.

Jira

Jira is the place to collect tasks, projects, visions, bugs and user problems. Every member of thomann.io has access to check what we're working on and which steps we will take to reach our goals. It's also where you find the company backlog.

Jira must be used as a single source of truth for tickets and therefore for all work in progress and backlogs.

Company backlog

The company backlog displays all major projects across Thomann GmbH. It is used to make initiatives of our company's departments transparent to everyone and helps us to update each other regularly.

You can find the company backlog in Jira when clicking on "Plans" in the navigation.

Team Boards, product backlogs, and dashboards

Each team has their own board and backlog. Just search for the team's name in the board section, and you'll find it. Depending on the team's way of work it's either a scrum or a kanban board, some teams also have both. The team product owners are responsible for gathering the backlog items through the company backlog initiatives, through user research, or through our feedback hub. They refine them with the team and set a priority.

Status map

In order to simplify working together on projects, we agreed on a common simple workflow in Jira. Status usage is by definition.

All upstream statuses are intended for the ideation, information enrichment, prioritization (product strategy) of features or epics. The statuses in the downstream are for the implementing operational teams

Upstream

StatusDescription
Ideation PoolCounterpart to the backlog in the downstream
EnrichmentCounterpart to refinement in the downstream
Ready to validate
In validation
Strategic review
Pre-Project
Ideation rejectedA status for issues that are sorted out

Downstream

StatusDescription
Backlog
RefinementA status for refinement and collecting information
ReadyTickets, that are ready refined and ready to be pulled
In Progress
Review
Testing
DoneThe one and only don/resolved status for every team - mandatory
LiveFor teams that like to watch tickets on their board - not a replacement for done, just an addition - optional
ClosingFor teams that like to watch tickets on a board - just an addition to done - optional

Shared up- and downstream

StatusDescription
BlockedFor teams that like to use a blocked status.

Confluence

For internal documentation, Confluence is our single source of truth. Though, we try to be as transparent as possible with our employee handbook, there's a lot of project documentation and some internal processes (e.g. ordering new hardware) for which an employee-only wiki is the better tool.

Some teams might use tools like Notion, Lucid Chart, Miro, or whatever else fits for their current challenges. However, each team is obliged to make documentation accessible in Confluence. This means, when using different tools, make sure you share a link within the documentation, or better, look for a Confluence plugin to embed the information stored in a different tool.

Apps

There is a wide array of apps available for the Atlassian tools at their marketplace. Please follow this guideline when requesting one.

Miro

We use Miro as online whiteboard tool. If you work regularly with it, contact orga or the agile coaches for a user account.

Sharing boards

When sharing boards with visitors, always set a password and distribute it safely, e.g. with Bitwarden or our internal pastebin app. Don't let boards be open to public, even if you think it's hard enough to guess their urls.

Our Responsibility

Thomann and our Environment

The environment and using sustainable resources is incredibly important to us. Here you can find out what Rock'n'Roll and nature have in common.

Whistleblower Protection Act

The Whistleblower Protection Act is a law that aims to provide legal protection to persons who report wrongdoing in their work environment. These grievances may relate to illegal activities, breaches of compliance policies, fraud, corruption or other serious offences. The law protects whistleblowers from possible negative consequences or reprisals from the employer.

You have the right to report ethical concerns without fear of retaliation anonymously at Integrity Line.

Your report will be treated confidentially as required by law. You do not need to fear that your identity will be disclosed unless you give explicit consent or it is required by law. The Whistleblower Protection Act is an important tool to maintain integrity and ethics in our business.

Thomann.io encourages all employees to report ethical concerns and is committed to protecting them from retaliation. We believe that adherence to these guidelines will help ensure that our organisation is run ethically and legally responsibly.

Please do not hesitate to contact people and culture or your lead if you have any further questions about the Whistleblower Protection Act and the reporting tool. Your integrity and protection are important to us.

Communication & company language

Our company is becoming increasingly international, and we recognize the importance of effective and easily understood communication between our various team members.

To ensure clarity and integration, we use English as the default language for all written material and communication.

This move helps to break down language barriers and facilitate seamless communication between our international employees to promote efficiency and understanding within our organization.

Audiences

Different pieces of information and a different density of content needs to be shared between various roles. Therefore, this page provides some guidelines on how to address different people and groups in the company.

If you're addressing a huge audience, e.g. the complete team, think about how to share information. It might make sense to create a handbook entry or a confluence page and just refer to it in a Slack channel.

If you're addressing stakeholders or higher management, it can be helpful to use a presentation or just share bullet points, and provide more information through a discussion.

If information is interesting for engineering or data people, it might be cooler to share them within a repository, e.g. how to set up and run an application. But think about dependencies: the more an application has, the better it might be to give an overview through a detailed confluence page.

Some people or groups from the headquarters are best reached via email or telephone. When calling or meeting, make sure to send around some minutes afterwards.

Business language

Working at Thomann.io or with Thomann.io can be quite challenging when not used to all the terms we're using on a daily basis. Be it definitions from software development, e-commerce metrics, or something about agile, there are words that can be overwhelming to stakeholders, especially when used repeatedly, e.g. in a heated discussion or in a review.

Therefore, we are working and constantly improving on a glossary to give definitions for technical terms. The glossary can be found here and is updated whenever we find situations that need a clarification of terms.

Important: as a team member, please be aware when others struggle to understand some terms you are using. If this is the case, add the term with a short German and English definition directly to the doc.