What a year it’s been! No matter where you are in the world, time just seems to fly by and when looking back it can be easy to forget what has actually been achieved. We want to reflect on all that we have learned in 2017, and apply those lessons to what we hope to accomplish in the coming year.
2017 was a year of great growth for Team Sendible, from bringing on more talent to expanding the physical platform. We were able to improve big features such as the Reports Hub, Calendar and the Compose Box, just to name but a few. We went through the year committed to improving the product, customer experience and maintaining a strong foundation to build on for the coming years.
Making strategic changes
Growth doesn’t happen without making a few changes! At the beginning of the year, we decided to separate our strategic business goals into OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). The OKR framework, if you’re unfamiliar, is commonly implemented to focus a team or individual around a goal. We wanted to maintain our agile structure while focusing on a common objective, so this was a natural route to take.
The projects we worked on throughout this year have had a central theme of ‘bringing value to digital agencies’ and we’ve implemented them in groups that include team members from different departments. One of the most visual changes included rebranding our website and making a design update to the Sendible application.
In re-structuring our goals, we recognized a need to gain a deeper understanding of our customers’ pain points. We were met with a challenge; our users were asking for new and improved features, but our development team wasn’t structured in a way to allow for enough speed in rolling them out. It was then that we recognized the need to become faster when releasing new features, which would lead to heightened user success.
So, instead of spending too much time on long-winded projects, we set our sights on making small but effective improvements to the product. To remain focused, we took on the principles of Jobs-To Be-Done, a “framework [that] enables companies to deconstruct a job that customers are trying to get done into specific process steps.” In simple words, it’s evaluating what your customers need to do and how you, as a business, can innovate to help them do it better.
By working with user stories, we operate on a granular, use case level while keeping in mind how each change feeds into the bigger features and functionality of Sendible.
Adopting this framework also lead to our development team switching to the Kanban for all projects, with the help of task management tools such as Atlassian’s JIRA and Asana. Kanban is an agile method which allows development teams to break down small tasks and move them through a workflow state of To Do, Doing, In Code Review and Done. The development team also uses a physical board to see work in progress on a daily basis, and other teams utilize Asana to maintain digital Kanban boards.
We’ve seen a big increase in productivity since putting these processes into motion, and teams have been able to really focus on the ‘WHY’ in every task or project. We have loved this approach throughout 2017 and would recommend it to other growing companies as well.
Releasing things quickly
A big win from implementing new workflows is becoming faster at releasing new features. For example, back in November Twitter increased its tweet character limit to 280 characters and we were able to make this available in Sendible within one day as part of our mini growth hacks (valuable changes that improve product usage quickly).
Our Product Manager, Bella, walked us through the reasons why we released the Twitter 280 character feature so quickly:
As soon as we found out about the changes to Twitter’s API, one of our developers lead the investigation into the changes required on our app. This was a huge change to the core functionality of Twitter, so we decided to release the feature within the same day to delight our customers.
We decided to just go for it with this release and removed any distractions such as Slack channels/emails/meetings to allow the team to focus on the release. Although there are benefits to working this way, it does depend on the type of projects, as things need to be planned and tested. Our biggest goal is to keep our customers happy, so we welcome future growth hacks.
– Bella Jagestedt, Product Manager
Focusing on our users
Growing pains are no joke! We wanted to be sure that growth didn’t stand in the way of our users reaching optimal success, so we introduced our Customer Success Team in June. This team is primarily focused on tuning into customer needs and wants, and driving action out of what is being said.
The Sendible Support Team doubled in 2017, allowing us to offer increased levels of support and provide more resources to ensure users are able to get the most out of Sendible! We also revamped the Support Portal which is home to dozens of useful articles with step-by-step guides on our features and known limitations.
We also developed a training course for marketers to help them get up to speed with our social media tool as quickly as possible. If you are interested in learning more, you can access the course for free at the Sendible Training Lounge.
We’ve had a great year of improving Sendible and connecting with our customers, and we’re excited to see what we’re able to accomplish next year. Our goal is to make continuous improvements, listen deeper to what our users want and identify what really works.
The support and feedback we get from our customers is what keeps us going and we’re grateful for the opportunity to create software that helps marketers create brilliant work and save valuable time. We look forward to reaching great heights in 2018 and bringing our users along for the journey! Have any ideas or suggestions for the new year? Leave a comment below.