We just hit 53 full-time people at Treehouse. I’ve never managed this many people before so I’m having to learn as I go. I have zero formal training in management or business. I love it though, as I have a naively fresh view on how to run the company.
One of the biggest challenges I’m encountering is how to align everyone’s goals and communicate them clearly.
To tackle this, we’re creating a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each Team. (Related post on Job Titles here.) Here are the teams:
- User Growth
I jotted down general KPIs that I felt where important for each Team and then I had a meeting with all the Team Leaders. I asked them if they agreed on the KPIs and if so, what numbers they wanted to hit. I didn’t want the KPIs to be like the Ten Commandments, coming down from high. The Team Leaders needed to help me figure this out and then decide what goals where realistic.
Here are some examples. I’ve xx’d out our actual numbers as I can’t be quite that transparent ;)
- Teaching and Video
- xx videos released per month
- xx video podcasts released per month
- User Growth
- xx new user signups
- xx blog subscribers
- xx signups from blog
- xx YouTube subscribers
- xx YouTube views
- xx signups from YouTube
- xx uniques to site
- xx organic uniques to site
- xx Press Relations articles (xx online hits, xx mainstream)
- xx signups from Press Relations
- xx signups from Treehouse Referral Program
- xx email newsletter signups
- xx% email newsletter conversion rate
- xx% email newsletter open rate
- xx% email newsletter click-through rates
- xx% email newsletter unsubs
- xx% conversion rates for all channels (broken down by channel)
- $xx Cost per Acquisition (CPA)
- xx leads generated
- $xx sales revenue closed
- $xx average Life Time Value (LTV) for each customer
- xx% churn (percentage of uses who cancelled each month)
- xx customers engaging with app. Measured by things like video views, logins, etc.
- xx FB fans
- xx FB group members
- xx Google Plus +1s
- xx Twitter followers
- xx meetups per month
- xx Net Promoter Score
- xx minutes support response time
- Expense budget met
- Board Report created
Now that we’ve clarified all of our key metrics, everyone is aligned on which goals we’re striving towards.
The next challenge was communicating the KPIs easily, and showing how each team is doing. We hired a Data Scientist named Chris to help us build a dashboard that the whole company can see. (He’s also working on a ton of other valuable projects will I’ll try to blog about later). He’s not quite finished with the Dashboard yet but it’s coming along nicely and we’re all excited to see it in action.
The Dashboard will simply state the current month’s KPIs and how each Team is doing compared to them. If they’re behind, the numbers are red. If they’re on target or ahead, they’ll be green. It’s a simple red/green light system that’s meant for easy parsing. If something is Red, then we can dig down into it and try to figure out what’s going wrong.
The key is to have defined KPIs and then have a system/dashboard that displays how the company is doing on those KPIs. It needs to be transparent to everyone so the whole Team knows how they’re doing.
The Dashboard needs to pull data automatically from you’re app so it’s real-time. If you have to manually compile data, then it’s likely you will let other priorities take precendent, which means the KPIs are useless.
- Decide on your KPIs and who’s responsible
- Get buy-in from Team Leaders
- Build the tools to automatically record KPI data and store it in your database from the beginning of your startup.
- Build a simple Dashboard that uses this data and displays it in a simple red/green light format so you can easily spot success or failure
- Hold your Team Leaders accountable to hit KPIs (don’t set and forget)
If you have any lessons you’ve learned that you’d like to share, please comment below!
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