The best places I've worked at actively used the products they create. This process is known as "eating your own dog-food" and it's something I deeply care about.
While there's a balancing act between building a product you personally want to use and one your customers want to use, oftentimes these goals can be accomplished at the same time.
At Friday, we use our own tools everyday and it helps us build a more useful product.
In this post, I want to document precisely what that looks like. Ideally, this gives you a bit of inspiration on how you can use Friday as an individual or with your team. Additionally, this serves as a form of accountability and potential conversation starter for how you can adapt the tool for your needs.
I will work to keep this updated as we change our processes over time.
First, I'll quickly outline the pain that I'm trying to solve with Friday. I've broken the problems into two sections:
Perhaps these pain-points resonate with you too?
I'll share how I use Friday to solve the personal pain points that I experience. I hope this serves as inspiration for your personal rituals. This will continually be a work in progress.
I use the Friday app to establish a regular habit of prioritizing my work by creating a workflow called a "Morning Plan." Every weekday at 7:30am, I receive an email notification that asks me to answer three questions:
The goal is to spend less than five minutes quickly outlining my priorities and thoughts for the day. I may add a question where I can write down what I'm thinking about, but this process is very simple and aims to help me be more proactive about what I'm working on.
I've been doing this cadence since we launched this feature into beta (~3 months ago) and I've only missed a few days. I enjoy looking back and seeing past responses in the feed (screenshot below).
These responses are not visible to the rest of the team, only I can see them.
I'm considering exploring other cadences as well, including:
Now I'll share how we use the tool as a team to make sure everyone stays on the same page.
Every Monday at 11am, we all share what our weekly priorities are. The goal is to be able to capture and document what each person aims to achieve in the upcoming week. This serves as a key building block for our goal of measuring results vs. hours.
I found that the daily standup was too tactical and didn't give enough directional guidance around someone's personal expectations for the week ahead. The information shared here serves as a checkpoint to make sure we are doing what we say.
As you can see in the screenshot above, we also have the opportunity to say "thanks" to coworkers by enabling the kudos power-up.
This information is shared with everyone on the team, so we can improve visibility. We send out prompts via a Slack direct message. Results are pushed into a Slack channel for visibility.
The weekly priorities workflow provides direction, but that doesn't mean we avoid having daily standups. We run our daily huddle asynchronously at 9am based on the person's timezone, as it's difficult to coordinate a time where we all jump on a call.
We answer the following questions:
I like sharing this information daily because it helps you understand what people are working on, but it also provides a sense that everyone is "rowing" in the same direction. At past companies, there have been times where I've felt like I'm the only one working (even though I know that's not true).
This information is shared with everyone as well. We send out prompts via a Slack direct message. Results are pushed into a Slack channel for visibility.
We also send kudos as part of the daily standup as well.
The weekly check-in is one of our most popular features and primarily exists between employees and the leader. For any full-time employee, we run this cadence on Friday afternoons as a way to reflect on the week and discover ways to improve in the upcoming week.
Here's an example of the questions we ask:
This information is only shared with team leaders as some of the responses are more private in nature. I particularly enjoying seeing responses to the emoji question as it's a way to understand sentiment and is interpreted like a real-life facial reaction. This kickstarts meaningful conversations for our Monday meeting (the only synchronous meeting we have internally).
Finally, I also do a bi-weekly company update with my co-founder. In this update, I document:
This makes it really easy to do monthly investor updates, as we've been collecting/sharing the information on a regular basis already. It also helps us keep track of the high-level business metrics that we care about.
Ben Horowitz has a great comment in his post on 1-1 meetings:
Perhaps the CEO’s most important operational responsibility is designing and implementing the communication architecture for her company. The architecture might include the organizational design, meetings, processes, email, yammer and even one-on-one meetings with managers and employees. Absent a well-designed communication architecture, information and ideas will stagnate and your company will degenerate into a bad place to work.
I take this responsibility seriously. When information flows on a regular basis, people feel connected to their work and the people that they work with. Otherwise, your company will become a not-so-great place to work.
If you want to improve the way you work, you need to create habits to the way you work.