#197 - Forming

Friday Ship #197 | March 6, 2020

forming

This week we completed our first 2-week sprints with new team members.

In 1965, Dr. Bruce Tuckman proposed a seminal framework for small group dynamics that suggested 4 phases of group development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing. In 1977, he added a fifth stage, named Adjourning. Where once there was a single team at Parabol—Product, now there are 3:

  1. ExCo – which holds the operating functions such as Finance and Legal
  2. Growth – which pursues marketing and sales
  3. Product – which houses design, product development, and DevOps

By default of each team at Parabol runs on a 2-week cadence, punctuated by holding a retrospective on our platform at the end of its work cycle. During these retrospectives, our newest teams flirted with entering the “Storming” stage. Tuckman wrote, “To grow from [the Forming] stage to the next, each member must relinquish the comfort of non-threatening topics and risk the possibility of conflict.”

Our Growth retrospective felt so good—our app and its process made it easy to give ourselves permission to “relinquish the comfort of non-threatening topics,” give each other earnest feedback, and find ways to mesh as a new team. We can’t help but wonder if Parabol helps teams progress through group development stages more quickly. As we enter the next week, we feel ready to embrace the coming storm.

 

Metrics

06-Mar-2020 Parabol Metrics

Top-of-funnel traffic was flat, while gains in usage were up slightly over historical averages. Notable this week is a new record high in the number of meetings ran per week—425!

This week we…

…worked on designs illustrating custom vote settings. For a first version, we want to ship simple controls that allow setting the number of votes per participant and per topic.

Parabol voting design prototype

…conducted product feedback interviews with some of our most engaged users. We also made some significant improvements to our tools for analyzing the usage patterns of company accounts on our platform.

...continued interviewing folks for our open roles.

…kicked off efforts to support folks outside our organization who find themselves working from home due to coronavirus. We’re writing up advice we can share and making plans for other assistance we can provide.

…added videos and screenshots to our G2 profile. We’re planning to ask for reviews and feedback here, and this was one of our first steps.

…shipped v4.24 to production. It’s a week for small improvements, making progress against our backlog, as we are otherwise designing and developing some larger, new features.
…designed an invoicing email list. Some folks have requested the ability to specify email addresses that should receive a copy of the monthly invoice. We’ll be shipping this soon to support those customers.

parabol billing invoice email list prototype

...submitted a very long proposal to the US Government. We hope to share some news about some surprising use cases for Parabol in the near future!

 

Next week we’ll…

kick off Sprint 52 on the product team.

...have a fresh look at integrating video into the product.

put the finishing touches on some new content.


Have feedback? See something that you like or something you think could be better? Leave a public response here, or write to us.

Jordan Husney

Jordan Husney spent 20+ years helping technology serve people. His passion for collaboration, agile development, and remote teams led him to start Parabol, a free online retrospective tool.