Well, not exactly. Maybe into a siding for a few months. With full time jobs, families and other projects starting up, Upstart has been a bit on the back burner for all of us. Part of it perhaps has been procrastination, being a bit too proud, being a bit too much perfectionist.
“Long projects zap morale. The longer it takes to develop, the less likely it is to launch. Make the call, make progress and get something out now – while you’ve got the motivation and momentum to do so.”
J. Fried & D.H. Hansson – Rework
Momentum is one of those things that is critical to any kind of business; bit/small/funded or bootstrapped. It helps you sail over small obstacles with ease. The combined energy of the team has a life of its own. So how do you create and maintain momentum ?
Looking back over the last few months, I thought it might be neat to try and measure momentum by looking at our group communications, in this case email, which I am just using as an indicator, since the sum of our communications includes a number of online and real world channels. The graph below shows the number of emails per fortnight relevant to UpStart. As you can see we had a good deal of momentum early on, but then started to peter off in the end.
We work in a pretty lean, flexible way, seeking out our next MVP without imposing too many rigid milestone goals on ourselves. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could track the momentum of our Startup, as a motivator (at an individual and team level) to help us keep pushing hard ? Counting emails is a little fuzzy, so we’ve decided to track effort in terms of Pomodoros. The Pomodoro Technique is great as it is a work system, not just a dry record of passing time.
“The aim of the Pomodoro Technique is to use time as a valuable ally in accomplishing what we want to do in the way we want to do it, and to enable us to continually improve the way we work or study.”
It’s great for Startups, particularly Lean Startups, where you are are frequently searching for direction from customers, pivoting, weighing options, dealing with uncertainty and trying to find product-market fit. It gives a greater sense of purpose (followed by a sense of achievement) in a given work session and has a motivational/competitive aspect in a team environment.
As an experiment, we’re going to record our individual Pomodoros completed and plot these as a group effort over time. Pretty soon, we hope that customers will be
providing most of our motivation, but Pomodoro will still we an important part of our approach to work.
Let’s see how it goes !