What Got You Out of Bed This Morning?

This morning, around 4am, a chirping woke me from sleep. It was coming from the hallway and it sounded like the smoke detector. We have five of them on that level of the house, and any one could’ve been the culprit. I got up, stood in the hallway, and listened.

It sounded like the one in the hallway, so I replaced that battery, but then it chirped again. I had to run to the store and get a bunch of batteries, then I went through all of them, replacing and resetting. Eventually, all the kids were up and as annoyed as I was about the chirping. I googled and discovered that the low battery chirp signal can sometimes get stuck in the system, so you need to do a full reset by unplugging them from the power supply, holding down the reset button and then reconnecting them. In the midst of that process, I realized that the sound wasn’t coming from any of the smoke detectors.

It was the carbon monoxide detector.

The process of discovery this morning was long, a little bit painful, and a whole lot frustrating. I didn’t have the full picture when I began, which decreased my ability to efficiently change a battery. The infrequent chirping of the alarm was a constant reminder that something needed my attention, but I was looking in the wrong place.

You might not have a low battery in your carbon monoxide detector in the office, but I’m willing to bet there are all sorts of hiccups in the efficiency of your day. I know because my days are similar.

There is a lot of information out there about how to help your team be productive. Technology has brought us light years ahead of where we were even ten years ago. Here’s a look at three areas where my team uses technology to increase our speed and accuracy:

Team Communication: Slack

Since our inception, my team has used Slack to communicate with one another. If you’ve never checked it out before, here’s a video that explains it really well.

We used to talk with customers in Slack channels too, but that turned out to be a really inefficient way to make sure things were getting done because there were too many points of communication and our Project Managers couldn’t keep tabs on all of it.

So we pushed all of that communication into our help desk software to make sure our customer service was fully transparent to our Project Managers, and for better collaboration.

Customer Communication: Help Scout

This is our help desk software. Whenever someone reaches out to our support@mineralinteractive.com email address, our entire team can see it, both through Help Scout and through a Slack channel that is integrated with Help Scout. We can assign the issue to the right person, respond quickly, and see analytics on who’s exceeding our clients’ expectations (It’s almost always Zakeila. She’s a customer service speed demon.).

Project Management: Teamwork

It took us a while to land on just the right project management software. We tried Trello for a long time and loved the kanban style, but found we needed something more sophisticated. We switched to Mavenlink for a very short amount of time and could not get the hang of it. It was cumbersome and wasn’t flexible enough for us to love it. Then we implemented Teamwork, and it really is making our dream work.

Each of these technologies help us move through our days more efficiently.

  • Through Teamwork, I can go back and review any of the nearly 13,000 tasks my team has accomplished.
  • In Help Scout, I can track how quickly my team responds and if they are able to move the project to completion on the first reply.
  • Slack lets me watch all of the parts moving through the process each day as the team collaborates and builds rapport with one another.

I am incredibly proud of my team for all they are accomplishing, but we’ve been missing out on celebrating our failures and successes together. In the wake of all the work, we have not been as strategic about how to structure our work lives.

As I was processing this idea, a tweet came across my feed that may change the way we work here forever. We’re in the middle of figuring out the best way to implement this change. I’ll tell you all about it and give you a peek into how it’s changing our workflows soon.

Have a great week,

Jud