I'm not a fan of policies. In fact, the tiny little essay on how policies are bad from Rework is my favorite of the whole book. It's called "Don’t scar on the first cut" - worth buying the book just for that four-paragraph chapter.
I live in Italy and I am confronted daily with its infuriating bureaucracy. I'm sure this happened because of Italy's long history. One little rule at the time, Italy's laws have become bloated, and just like in software, adding is much easier than removing.
I always resist making company policies. As soon as anyone at Balsamiq - myself included - suggests making something a policy, a big red flag goes up: it's a quick, automatic big NO unless it's really, really necessary. Very similar to when someone says "let's make it an option" or "let's add a permanent button on the screen" in Mockups. :)
That said, some policies are obviously needed, it's how societies and companies are able to function and not self-destruct too quickly. They help define what we consider fair as a company.
We have created some policies and processes here at Balsamiq over the last 3 years. Each time, we have tried to keep them as short as possible and as specific as possible (you'll see).
I'll be sharing our policies with you in the next few posts, in order to get your feedback on them and in the hope they'll be useful to other little companies like ours.
Here's a list of all the policies we have that I can remember:
I'll add more if we create more - but hopefully we won't. ;)