Product Day! I got a chance to join an awesome ProductThank event in Bangkok with Tom Lozza from iPrice talking about “Building products faster by streamlining workflows.”
iPrice used to look like what you see in many big traditional companies. A big and established organization chart with lots of silos and a lengthy approval process. This was causing problems like people in the company not knowing the results of what they are doing, or one person inadvertently ending up responsible for many different roles which resulted in limited efficiency in the workflow and less motivation for the team.
But then they changed!
It has been a long, painful process and still a work in progress, but iPrice has found a better way of doing things which resulted in higher web traffic and lower employee churn rate.
iPrice adopting an agile methodology, starting a scrum team, and streamlining the workflow was the short version of how they did it. But, I believe the secret was in their core values.
You might have heard of “KISS — Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Tom agrees that this is what you should be doing as well. You should not just focus on what to do but also focus on “what not to do.” Try getting rid of everything not necessary and keep everything as simple as possible. You should also have people keep uncovering the inefficiencies and tackle them, one by one.
Don’t keep your employees in the dark. Having an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session both in private session and a company-wide meeting is a great way to start. Transparent AMA sessions could range from anything from the company’s funding situation, revenue, lunch menu, or possible bring your cat to work day. You can even set an AMA session with your investors and everyone in the team twice a year. Having your team know why someone has that much faith in the team to put that much money in them could be powerful.
Cash = Value X Flow
Flow is how you can do things fast. That could be done by optimizing the workflow as we talked about. But the value? Sometimes you don’t know the value of that idea yet. Of course, you don’t want to spend three sprints building one feature to find out no one wants it. Tom suggests you experiment with everything. If you want to add a new feature, try adding a button to that feature without building a fully functioning feature yet. Then track how people engage with it. And keep embedding this mindset everywhere, don’t be afraid to fail.
If everyone in the company is aligned with the goal and value, they will be able to work autonomously. Having great alignment does not just speed up the workflow, but also makes everyone proud of what they are doing and know why they are doing it. OKRs could be an excellent tool for this. You can start by having a company 12-month plan, down to the team quarter OKRs, 2–3 sprints plan, sprint goal, and a daily scrum.
Not just your new employees, everyone in the team, including the management needs coaching as well. Having a 1–1 session with the team every week, or at least every two weeks is a great start. Make sure your course is all about listening, helping, and coaching. Put your attention in the team development and help them grow. For sure, they might be better, smarter, and move elsewhere. But what if they don’t and stay?
In this part, he was also talking about employee’s NPS, which I love. Your company might have an NPS asking if you are happy working there. But at iPrice, they have the criteria of that happiness using Google methodology.
Dependability: this is when you trust your team can deliver on time and up to standard.
Structure and clarity: you know what your role is. You have a clear picture of what, when, and why you are doing what you are doing.
Meaning of work: work has some meaning personal to you.
Impact of work: you know why your work matters.
Psychological safety: you feel safe to speak up, experiment, and take risks.
Development: you know you are developing yourself and getting better every day.
These approaches might not always be applicable to you. But I believe that this is an excellent start to innovating toward a more efficient and motivating workflow. Tom mentioned that there was a spike in employee churn rate at the beginning of rolling these out, not everyone liked these new approaches. But after that, the churn rate has been consistently down.
This blog is my take on the talk. Feel free to share what you think 🙂