In this section, we are going to share how our company is organised at different levels. We will talk about how we organise the workload based on our goals, what types of meetings we have in order to coordinate our workflow and how we organise a specific project.
At mendesaltaren, our work is goal-oriented. We have four different kinds of goals, based on their size: yearly, quarterly and weekly.
We define these goals based on the S.M.A.R.T. principles, that is to say, they must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Notice that we use a different variant of what George T. Doran established, as we replace “attainable” with “assignable” and “relevant” with “realistic” because, for us, it’s crucial that these goals are feasible and have an impact on the project in general. It’s essential that all goals meet these criteria as this forces us to push aside overly aspirational goals and keeps any sense of self-deception or self-indulgence under control.
Each time we define or redefine our objectives, we share them with all relevant members involved. This allows us to be on the same page and share the studio’s vision.
Lastly, it’s very clear to us that we live in a time that is full of change. Therefore, each trimester we review our yearly goals to see whether we have lost focus and to update them in accordance with any new needs that may have come up. This allows us to adapt more quickly when facing a change and means our yearly goals do not lose their meaning or purpose as the project progresses.
Our yearly goals are ambitious. We use them to define where we want to be within a year. These goals are related to our performance, our value proposition, our strategy and our competitive position.
We establish our target with these yearly goals, but we don’t outline the exact way of getting there. That’s because every quarter we review and specify these goals by creating smaller and more measurable tasks.
Every three months we have a meeting to set our goals and relevant KPIs for the next trimester. In this meeting, we reflect on our progress in the previous trimester, we analyse the current state of the company and we update our yearly goals accordingly. This way we can see what we need to focus on in order to improve. Thanks to our KPIs we can closely follow our growth and the attainment of our goals.
We set monthly goals to simplify our quarterly goals. These monthly goals are actions we can carry out in the short-term, which help us reach our broader targets. At the start of each month, we hold a meeting to organise the workload, define the goals, and establish our priorities. Monthly rather than weekly scheduling gives us the chance to see everything with a broader perspective and means we can avoid future problems.
In our day-to-day life at the studio, we work with weekly goals, which incorporate needs, interests and teams. In order to organise and juggle different teams and projects, we use the Scrum methodology and apply it throughout our work. We plan, review and manage each project in this way.
When it comes to calling a meeting, we are inspired by Agile methodology. We pursue pragmatism, empathy and respect towards our clients and colleagues’ time. We always avoid calling purposeless meetings - we don’t want people to waste their time.
We establish clear and straightforward goals for each meeting and we always avoid large open-forum meetings. Having a few small casual encounters of two or three people is much more effective than trying to establish an assembly dynamic which, in the majority of cases, won’t lead anywhere conclusive. We understand that having too many opinions in the room can often lead to deadlock. It’s much more dynamic for a small team to come up with a solution that will be reviewed, and then build from there. The people who make up this small team must be broadly knowledgeable of the topic and have a good overview of all the different angles.
Working remotely with your teammates or your client doesn’t necessarily imply limitations. You can provide yourself with tools that will make communication much more fluid. We already know how to have a video call (Slack, Hangouts, Skype) in which you can share your screen, but there are other tools that can assist you further depending on the requirement:
A weekly meeting in which the current state of the project is analysed: we set which goals we need to achieve and what tasks need to be completed.
This meeting happens on a Monday and all team members are present. In this team planning, we have a look at the current state of ongoing projects. The analysis includes:
Each project head has a meeting with the other members of the project. In this meeting, they establish which backlog activities they are going to complete in the upcoming Sprint, moving those tasks from Backlog onto a Sprint Backlog.
This daily is completed everyday by all team members. It’s a way of recapping what was decided the day before, the goals for the current day, and possible issues that might have come up.
For these meetings, we use a bot on Slack:
In order to make sure that everyone in the team has caught up and knows what they are working on, we must read all the team members’ dailies. To check a colleague’s daily as read, we react with a "✅" on the Geekbot-generated message in the #daily channel.
To answer these questions we use the template you can find below so as to unify all team members’ answers.
What did you do yesterday?
Project 1 name
Project number 2 name
What are you going to do today?
Project 1 name
Project number 2 name
When will it be ready?
Because this is a daily, all tasks that are scheduled should be completed on that same day. However, there may be tasks that require more time. This question gives us the opportunity to set a deadline so that the project doesn’t stall.
Do you need help from a teammate?
Mention those people who you need support from.