About a year ago, our team began to seriously think about revising the timing of mid-term planning. And it’s all because of our beloved Russian production calendar. But let’s start from afar.
Traditionally, we are used to meeting once every three months, quarter, setting goals, returning after a quarter to sum up the results, setting new goals, and so on ad infinitum (I want to believe).
But 2022 became a turning point for our company. We are developing an online board for collaboration, where you can conduct strategic sessions, retro sessions, brainstorms, building sales funnels, etc. And having lost a significant share of foreign competitors, we had an excellent opportunity to occupy a large market niche.
To achieve this goal, we decided to do something unusual (of course not) – to rely on scaling the team, improving planning and development processes. The most important thing: release version 2.0. It was supposed to be a new online board written from scratch, which would take all the best from the previous two years of the product’s existence (version 1.0), but for a new target audience – business. Including the possibility of delivery to the customer’s circuit. Spoiler alert: we did it.
At the same time, it was necessary to remember that the company is a startup and cannot afford to inflate its payroll, get bogged down in a growth crisis and lose overall efficiency, which consists of the results of each team member.
Looking at all this, we decided to try to plan for next year. And then we had an interesting insight.
All previous years, we set ourselves goals for periods of three months: from January to March, from April to June, from July to… Well, you get the idea. And we were happy with everything, but there was an important nuance. All this time we worked as a super small team, some of which were represented by outstaff and did not live according to the labor calendar of the Russian Federation at all. What can we say about the founders who made their way out of the valley of death with all their might, sometimes forgetting about sleep.
We started assembling a team from the Russian Federation, our number increased many times over. And it’s time to think about that same work-life-balance, go on vacation and close your laptop on the red days of the calendar.
And here we were very confused that the May holidays fell in the middle of the second quarter, when many people leave to plant potatoes in Turkey. The third quarter falls in August-early September – we go on vacation, send the children to school, generally begin a new season of business activity, and all this is in the middle of our planning period.
But the fourth quarter turned out to be the only pleasant one – everyone knows that after it there will be New Year holidays and you can give your best and go on a spree with a clear conscience.
We wanted every quarter to be like the fourth.
The question is – is this possible?
We decided to develop this idea. But no matter how you move the beginning of the first quarter, one way or another, somewhere in the middle of your planning period there will be holidays – this is Russia.
In general, we thought and thought and suddenly came up with the idea – what if we plan not for 3 months, but for 4?
That is, we will start in January, give our all by May, and leave for May. We will continue further in May, by August we will all go on summer vacation and with fresh energy we will rush into the season of high business activity – September. Then everything will be as we like – we will press on the gas until December, so that on January 1st we can open the champagne and celebrate the successful end of the year.
This idea captivated us so much that we decided that we couldn’t pass by and not try it.
A year has passed…
Now we want to warn everyone. Don’t do this. Only if you don’t want your team to work with brutal efficiency, people were charged 80-100% of the planning period, did not burn out, rested on time, and this did not reduce the overall coordination in the team.
Seriously. We now don’t understand how we could have lived differently before. On May days, in general, he is now thinking of making it a tradition for the whole team to get together, sum up the results, have a blast together, and then come back, give it their all and go on vacation in August – the whole country is at sea anyway. The rest of the vacation can always be tied to the end or beginning of other periods.
By the way, we thought for a long time what we could call such a period, and did not find anything better than to call them seasons – Autumn, Winter and Summer. If you have an idea for a different name, please write in the comments.
To summarize, I would like to say that obviously the experiment became possible because we are still a small team and can afford quick checks. Moreover, we would not have survived and achieved our current results without constant hypotheses and experiments. And of course, planning from holiday to holiday is not the only thing that keeps us motivated and team spirit. But it seems that such little things ultimately add up to a big result.
Separately, I would like to note that accounting reporting in our company is a parallel process, and we can afford not to be tied to fiscal periods. It would be interesting to know your opinion if yours is different.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our experience and would welcome any feedback in the comments.
You can also see the results of our team’s work on our website. https://sboard.online/
We recently released a version for large companies with the ability to install on your servers, you can submit a request using the link – https://sboard.online/on-premise
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