Introducing Key Results

Many clients have asked us about ways to make objectives more fine-grained. Today we’re proud to launch our first cut of key results.

Key results help you to break an objective down into achievable components, and make it easier to know if you’ve met your objective or not. They can assist you to focus on results and not so much on activities. Ideally a key result is clear, specific and measurable and will show you how well you’ve achieved your objective.

Our initial key results release is very focused. It’s a basic list of checkable items, with a progress bar on top. Despite being simple, it’s immediately a lot more engaging and productive to work with objectives. See below:

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Setup

Newly created objective cycles now support key results out of the box. To enable key results on existing cycles, simply tick the checkbox “Include Key Results” when editing the cycle settings.

Create an Objective with Key Results

This is very straightforward. A person creating an objective will see input fields to specify the key results. The same applies for when you edit an objective.

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Future work

There are many possible extensions for this feature. For instance, key results are currently either met or not met. We’re considering to allow “partial” key results, so you can define one key result to be 60% complete, while the other is only 20%.

But we felt that even the ability to define all-or-nothing key results is a huge step forward, and we’d love to hear your feedback! Let us know your thoughts at product@small-improvements.com

New Slack integration

We’re wrapping up the week with yet another great small improvement: we’ve added 2-way Slack integration to Small Improvements.

Why? Messaging apps like Slack and Hipchat have taken the enterprise by storm. Aside from enabling quick chats across rooms (or continents in our case) these apps also help tie in notifications from other business applications. Users then decide what topics or channels to follow and what to ignore.

Receive updates from SI into Slack

This release focuses on integrating the SI Messages and Objectives features with Slack. Once you enable the integration and designate a channel, your Slack users will receive instant notifications for all public SI messages and public objectives in that channel. Your Slack users will also receive direct notifications for any SI messages and objectives they were part of. In addition, managers will receive notifications for their direct report’s changes to objectives too.

Here’s what a public notification can look like:

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Send praise from Slack

In addition, a new “slash-command” becomes available. Type “/praise” and Slack will help you create a public praise that will show up in Small Improvements. The preview shows you how to use the feature, then just keep typing until your praise is complete.

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Send the Slack message, and it will show up both in the current Slack channel and in the SI praise platform, and of course also on the recipient’s SI profile page. Thanks to our recent “Multipraise”-feature you can also praise several people at the same time.

You can learn more about the details on our Slack documentation page.

Future work

We’ve polled our customer base, and there was a large need for HipChat integration as well. We’ll consider that for Q2. Until then, we want to cover a few more Slack use cases. For instance we want to  ensure all nudges a user receives in any module will also show up in Slack.  We’ll also consider notifying admins of important changes to the system setup immediately, for instance when a scheduled import fails, or when a mail bounces.

Beyond that, we’re  happy to listen to your feedback! Simply send a mail to product@small-improvements.com and let us know what usecases you’d like to see covered!

Let’s do some good – an experiment in giving back

What a year! Small Improvements collected $2.9m in license revenues in 2015, that’s an increase of 70% compared to the year before. We’re doing great, and it’s time to give back.

I believe everyone should use their influence, no matter how small, to make the world a better place. We’ve been supporting many non-profits for years by donating free or half-price SI licenses, we’re paying our taxes without looking for odd loopholes, and we’re storing our surplus buffer on an ethical bank — but we felt we can do more. Last year we collectively spent 2% of our annual revenues to charities of our choice. It was so well received by everyone involved that we’ve decided to do it again, donating $60,000 this time!

Personal donation budgets

Our company is all about the team, so we asked each of our 20 employees to individually nominate the charities for their “donation budget” of $3,000. To keep the process simple, everyone could only nominate up to three charities with a minimum donation size of $500. We kept the process anonymous, and our office manager collected the list and removed all names.

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Archive Cycle – clean up your Cycle Management

If you’ve used SI for a while, you probably ended up with a lot of historic cycles on your cycle management page. Historic cycles are automatically filed in “completed” but sometimes you may wish to differentiate between “important” and “less important” old cycles. However, you also don’t actually want to delete cycles, so here’s where our new “archive cycle” feature comes in!

To mark a cycle as archived, you can use the “Actions” button and select the “Archive Cycle” option:

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The cycle will then move to a new “Archived” category that’s typically collapsed – You can open it, of course.

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Once archived, you are still able to unarchive the cycle again. Basically archiving a cycle gives you the ability to remove the clutter on your cycle management page without deleting it.

It is important to note that this has no behavioral change to the cycle in other areas of the application – It only tidies up your cycle management list. Furthermore, any cycles that are archived are not listed anymore in the cycle picker on the company overview pages, which again removes the clutter.

We hope that this little addition comes in handy for you to keep your cycle management tidy.

Configurable exports

We’re proud to announce our completely rewritten exporting engine. Click “export” on one of the overview screens for 360s, reviews or objectives, and you’ll be greeted by a new and shiny overlay that displays your options.

Here’s what the 360s overlay looks like:

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First, you decide what kind of export you want. Then, select your desired output format at the bottom (Excel or CSV).

In addition, you may now also configure exactly what columns you’d like to export:

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We’ll store your preferences so you don’t have to tick the boxes over and over again when conducting exports of multiple cycles.

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback. Please drop us a line at support@small-improvements.com!

Praise multiple people at once

We are excited to have implemented one of our longest-standing feature requests: It’s now possible to praise two or more people at the same time.

Our original thinking was that a praise or a badge should be very personal, and to make it count you’d only assign one recipient. But of course there are plenty of good reasons to praise multiple people for a team effort. Even here at SI we felt that feature was missing. Last week we finally had some time to spend, and we hope you’ll enjoy “multi-praise” as well.

While we were at it, we also improved the way messages look and feel. The content is now clearly separated from metadata such as date and visibility, making messages more readable.

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Replies now properly animate when you expand them and a different background color clearly shows you individual replies to the original message. The font used for the body of each message was also a little bit too large, so we adjusted the size for better legibility.

What’s next?

Multiple recipient support and the restyling are just two small steps of many towards a better user experience. We’re working on some serious improvements to the user profile and to the main dashboard right now, while also considering a major, longer term, design overhaul for the entirety of Small Improvements.

If you’re up for it, we’d love to share our roadmap with you in more detail and hear your thoughts. Just drop us a mail at product@small-improvements.com!

Calendar integration: Never miss important deadlines again

Have you ever missed an important event? Do you manage SI review- or objective-cycles? Then our new calendar integration is for you.

You – the HR person – can now easily subscribe to SI events and then your preferred calendar can remind you of vital SI cycle milestones.

Why is this important? Imagine you (or your coworker) have set up an review cycle for the most recent quarter. Say you scheduled the lockdown for a few weeks out but a major company event delays everyone’s ability to wrap up reviews on time. Usually not really a big deal, you can extend the review deadline easily. However, if you forget to extend it, then lots of people will find the system locked down too early.

By subscribing to SI, your calendar solution (Google Apps, Apple Calendar, etc) can notify you about all important events. The setup just takes a minute, and the payoff is immediate.  You’ll see milestones about all cycles you have access to, so even if the cycle was set up by a coworker who is now on vacation, you’ll find out in time. Direct links to browse the cycle or to edit dates are provided right from the calendar event.

How to use it?

There’s a yellow notification on the right hand side of the dashboard that advertises the feature. If you closed the notification already, you can access the calendar subscription URL on your “user settings” screen.  The documentation for the feature lives over here.

What’s next?

This is our first step towards a comprehensive calendar integration. We’ve only dipped our toes in the water – what should we focus on next? Do you want to see your or your team’s objective deadlines for instance? Would you rather receive reminders to provide ongoing feedback? Is 1:1 scheduling your challenge? We’d love to know!

If you have some time to discuss ideas, please drop us a mail to product@small-improvements.com