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At Valve 'three people' could ship anything

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Valve's famously flat organizational structure means three employees could feasibly produce and ship a game themselves, product designer Greg Coomer said during this year's Seattle Interactive Conference as reported by GeekWire.

According to Coomer, Valve allows employees complete freedom to plan their daily schedule and choose which projects to work on, adding that the company must trust its employees to take charge of their own tasks.

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

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

Valve currently has 320 employees and generates higher profits-per-employee than Microsoft, Amazon, or Google. Despite this Coomer recognizes the difficulty of those outside of this work structure to understand how it functions.

"We are trying to learn to talk about it in a way that doesn't make us sound crazy," he said.

Valve was founded in 1996 by former Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington.