We are grouped into five teams; Operations, Customer Success, Finance, Sales and Marketing.
Operations is made up development and content teams comprised of 2 to 4 people per team.
Customer Success provides support and account management to our customers, and as the name implies, to ensure they are successful with our products.
Finance as the name implies manages money in, through and out of the company.
Sales, sells. No surprise.
And Marketing makes sure our potential customers know who we are, why we are different, and how to find us.
To coordinate within and across teams we have a series of daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings and rituals that include;
- Daily - Standup
- Daily - Scrum of Scrums
- Weekly - MetaScrum
- Weekly - One-On-One
- Weekly - Retrospection
- Weekly - Epic Options Committee
- Bi-Weekly - Share & Learn
- Monthly - Executive Review
- Monthly - Learning Club
- Quarterly - Goal Reviews
- Quarterly - Scorecard Review
- Semi-Annual - Skip Level Review
- Semi-Annual - Compensation Review
As a rule we eliminate interruptions by batching our weekly meetings to all happen in a back to back manner on Mondays.
Every team meets prior to the Scrum of Scrums meeting, and everyone on a team is expected to attend. All standups are open to anyone who wants to attend, and the meeting is Chaired By the Scrum Master for the team.
The Scrum Master is expected to run a quick, efficient and decisive meeting;
- work through the Daily Standup Checklist,
- keep the meeting to 7 to 12 minutes in length,
- be the facilitator - not the “boss,” but a traffic cop,
- stay on agenda - be ruthless, stick to status not solutions, break out solutions to separate meetings,
- be specific – who, what, when, where, how.
Each person on the team shares any good news and examples of how someone in the company exemplified our values, big accomplishments, what customer experience was amazing, or other wow moments, and then they share their top priority for the day and any blocks or challenges they are facing.
Once everyone has reported the team addresses any blocks or challenges that can be resolved quickly (under a minute) or agrees to resolve them offline, and they further recap their report and any cross team blocks they have to bring to Scrum of Scrums.
At 9:15am EST, all Scrum Masters, or their designate, attend Scrum of Scrums or SoS as it is often called. The meeting is open to anyone who wants to attend, and the Chief Operating Officer is Scum Master for the meeting and they have the same objectives of a Scrum Master for a Daily Standup.
Each team's Scrum Master reports the status of their Critical Number and current Epic and any cross Team blocks, dependencies or clarifications they might have.
Once all Scrum Masters have reported the cross team blocks and dependencies are resolved and any solution meetings are broken out and addressed separately.
The meeting is recorded for those who can’t attend and shared with everyone in the company.
Everyone is invited to attend a Share & Learn every Monday at 9:30am EST. The agenda includes a 5 minute or less presentation on something new that was recently done, new information to share, or a lesson learned, from every team and the chair for the meeting rotates between everyone in the company each week.
Presentations from each team rotate between all members of the team. The same person from the team should not be presenting every week.
The meeting is recorded for those who can’t attend and shared with everyone in the company.
On Monday's at 11:30am the MetaScrum, comprised of the Team Leaders from the five groups that make up the company, meet to review tactical implementation and execution problems and opportunities.
Every person in the company meets with who they report to for a one-on-one at most once per week and at a minimum every two weeks. Who you report to is there to listen and provide guidance and resources to you, this isn't their meeting, this is your meeting to talk about what you need to be successful in the company.
At the very least there are four questions that both of you need to cover;
Are you on track for your personal development actions? What have you done, what is working, where do you need extra support?
Are you on track to achieve your objectives as measured by a Critical Number? Both you and your leader should know what your Critical Number is by which you measure your success and you should know exactly where you stand with that number.
What's the one thing you have to get done to stay on track, or get back on track?
What's one thing that your leader can do to help (stop doing, keep doing, start doing) you achieve your critical number?
Once the above are covered it's your meeting. You drive it, and the team leader answers questions and asks a few of their own, but the prep work for and ownership of the meeting is all you.
Each Team retrospects on how they are doing and how they can improve typically on Mondays after Share and Learn. It is expected that all members of a team attend the retrospection unless they are away that day. The meeting is chaired by the Scrum Master for the team and it is open to anyone who wants to attend and observe. The checklist for each team member to complete prior to the meeting includes;
- On a scale of 1 to 5, how happy are you with your role in the Company?
- On a scale of 1 to 5, how happy are you with the Company as a whole?
- Why do you feel that way?
- What one thing would make you happier in the next week?
And then during the meeting the Team works together to find one improvement they can make in the following week to increase the happiness of the team.
At the start of a month that isn't the beginning of a quarter (8 times per year) the Team Leaders from the five groups that make up the company meet for a day to review our financial performance, people reviews, and typically tackle one tough problem.
Every Team is always learning from something. A book, a podcast, documentary, YouTube Channel, whatever medium that is conveying something that we can learn from to improve how we work.
The Team has a standing monthly one hour meeting to review and discuss what they have learned from the medium that they have chosen to review. Everyone from the Team is expected to attend, unless they are away. The meeting schedule and what the Team is reviewing is shared with the Company on Slack and anyone who has an interest in the topic, aside from the Team members, can optionally attend out of interest as well. The Team members and anyone else who is attending should come prepared to the meeting with notes, thoughts, and takeaways. The goal is that we learn something from each medium that we study that we can apply to the way we work.
In the last month of every quarter the Team Leaders from the five groups that make up the company evaluate how we performed in the previous quarter and set the theme and priorities for the coming quarter and the conclusions are presented at the next Share and Learn.
Every person in the company completes their Scorecard Review every 90 days.
Semi-Annual - Skip Level Review
Skip Level Meetings are conducted by the “Boss of a Boss” 180 days, more or less, after the conclusion of the Skip Level Follow Up Meeting for their last Skip Level Review.
The “Boss of a Boss” meets with the Team that reports to their direct report without that Team Leader present. Skip Levels are done for all Team Leaders on a regular cadence, including the CEO (an outside consultant facilitates theirs). The purpose of the Skip Level meeting is twofold:
- Help the Leader be a better Leader. Get good constructive feedback for them to improve how they lead people.
- Encourage the Team that reports to the Manager to speak truth to power. Make sure that their voices are heard and reinforce that that no one needs to grin and bear it.
When meeting with the Team it is very important that they understand why they are having a Skip Level Meeting. The two goals are discussed at length and then discussed again. It is made clear that this isn’t a fishing expedition or a complaint session. Constructive feedback and recommendations are being sought and are expected.
Everything suggested / discussed at the meeting is shared in real-time with the Team and the Leader of the Team within a Google Doc. However, no attribution is given for the suggestions. They are anonymous.
The questions to be asked of the Team are;
- What can the Team Leader keep doing? What works well?
- What can the Team Leader stop doing? What doesn’t work so well and should be stopped?
- What can the Team Leader start doing? What isn’t happening and should be?
- If you were the Team Leader what would you do differently?
- And the last of all, how would you rate the skip level review meeting on a scale of 1 to 10? How could we make it better?
If the Team has no feedback, the Team needs to confirm everything is perfect? Very unlikely… And everyone should contribute. Not just the loudest person in the room. The facilitator does not judge, defend or debate, the feedback, they merely confirm, collate and help prioritize. The biggest impact, most important changes, need to come first.
The Skip Level is scheduled for one hour with the Team. The last 10 minutes are devoted to recapping, clarifying and prioritizing all suggestions. A review of the Skip Level is scheduled with the Team Leader in question during their next One-On-One. All items are discussed and action plans determined to implement any needed improvements.
A Skip Level Follow Up Meeting with the Team is scheduled 45 days after the Skip Level and 30 minutes are spent with them confirming what progress has been made by the Team Leader. All feedback is once again noted in the same shared document and it is reviewed with the Team Leader at their next One-On-One.
The Compensation Review is done every six months to update;
- With PayScale the current market compensation data;
- update all Jobs to align with any Role changes made since the last review,
- confirm Labour Markets.
- Run Market Reports to collect latest market data,
- Review the Compensation Strategy Manager and confirm the target market percentile and the target range width around the target percentile and then set ranges to market
- Download Jobs and Market Reports and update Role compensation and corresponding PayScale descriptions.
- Our variable compensation plans.