An Adorable Story of Growth & Checklists

Two years ago, Jim Remsik & Mark McEahern started Adorable.io, a software consulting business. In just a little over 2 years, they have gone from a team of two vagabonds, squatting in random cafes, to a team with:

  • 2,300 square feet of beautiful office space
  • 15 amazingly talented employees

Adorable utilizes checklists to ensure quality and consistency during these high growth times.

Team Adorable in Madison, Wisconsin

Adorable’s Three Main Checklists

  • Weekly Review
  • Onboarding New Clients
  • Onboarding New Employees

Weekly Review

It’s easy to get caught up in the details of the moment, the demands of client work, or the pressure to find clients. Adorable finds it useful to set aside time every week to reflect as partners and owners on where they were and where they are going. They have missed some weeks, but in a year and a half, this checklist has been used over 50 times. Here is what their Weekly Review Checklist covers:

WEEKLY
□ Review notes
□ Review top risks
□ Review current clients / projects
□ Review potential clients
□ Review outstanding invoices
□ Review cash / credit situation
□ Review potential employees / contractors

Adorable started this checklist based on a phrase from Atul Gawande; what are the “critical killer items that cannot be missed”?

New Client Checklist

In most consulting businesses, the frequency of a new client is relatively low. Adorable has used the new client checklist about a dozen times. There were important lessons learned early on that were embodied in the checklist — e.g., like asking the client, “Is there anything else we need to do in order to process invoices?”

BEFORE CONTRACT
□ Qualify lead
□ Negotiate deposit
□ Create a folder for the client in Google Drive
□ MSA
□ Ensure sufficient flexibility in allocating staff
□ SOW
AFTER CONTRACT
□ Send W9
□ Add tag in Expensify for expenses, if appropriate
□ Ask them “Is there anything else we’ll have to do to process invoices?”
□ Is there a purchase order?
□ Notify them that all payment notifications should go to AR mailbox
SYSTEMS
□ Harvest: Setup client
□ Harvest: Setup project
□ Quickbooks: Add a Class for project

Adorable’s office manager Jen is responsible for running the new client checklist. For her the checklist is a time saver, making it easier to handle client setup for the varieties of contracts in a uniform way.

New Employee Checklist

Adorable has used this checklist just under 20 times. Highlights include:

HR
□ Gather information for Payroll (w-4, etc)
□ Add to 401k census
□ Add to 401k enrollment calendar
□ Create employee file
□ Obtain signed copies of employee agreements
EXTERNAL SERVICES
□ Email
□ GitHub
□ Manifestly
□ Expensify
□ Harvest
□ 1Password vault
INTERNAL SERVICES
□ Add them as a user on the website
□ Have them write a blog post announcing they joined
□ Add to Flowdock flows
□ Add to mailing lists
□ Add to calendar
LOGISTICS / WELCOME
□ Give tour
□ Give key to office
□ Get shirt size and give shirts

Adorable learned that the key to good onboarding is to make new employees feel welcome and to connect them with a buddy who can help them acclimate to the new culture so they understand what’s expected of them, and so they can contribute meaningfully in a reasonable time. They found the checklist helped with that by ensuring everyone had access to all the different systems the company used.

What can you do to help new employees feel welcomed?

Your Checklists

Want to formalize your checklists? Get Started with Manifestly Here.


Adorable Community Service

At Manifestly, we seek out and celebrate the Hero in our customers. Adorable partnered with the YWCA to create the YWeb Career Academy.

YWeb Career Academy (YWebCA) is a training program that targets women and people of color who are underrepresented in technology careers.
Everyone gets a shirt!