Steady as she goes… ⛵️
Lockeroom now serves 9 hockey teams, all within a single club. That equates to about 120+ weekly users, some of whom use it for multiple matches. Not bad going.
However, we want to solve problems for teams everywhere, not just one club in Central London. To do that we need to grow. So our next goal is to get ready for that growth.
Crawl, walk, run 👶
Investing in actual growth now would be painful, because the existing product requires too much human propulsion — we do a lot of manual work to make it run. For every additional user we add, the experience gets too poor to accept. So we’ve stopped actively taking on any more teams for now.
To allow us to take on more users, we need to reduce the dependency on human effort 🚴. So we are working to automate more of the product (i.e. make tech do more of the work 🤖). Some opportunities for automation include:
- We manually contact, demo and sign up new users
- The design is hard to use, creating too many support issues for users
- We manually make adjustments to user accounts e.g. new phone numbers
- We manually provide support through messaging apps
Our belief is that a cleaner user journey and some basic functionality (e.g. Settings screen ⚙️) will reduce the need for human input and create a better user experience. Therefore we have redesigned the existing screens (with the help of an actual designer this time 🎨🙂). These are now rolling out in phases — the first phase includes the login screen, which now looks like this:
As we do this redesign, we have begun work on a component library. This is like creating your own personal set of lego — you can put the components together to create new, different screens. Below are some examples of our button components:
A component library is valuable because it helps us build more quickly, maintain a high standard of user experience and reduces bugs 🐛. We’ll continue to build on it as we go forward, but this is a good first step.
User Learnings 🤔
The time we have spent with users has also returned substantial insights into how users think and behave when engaging with their sport or team. Two major things we didn’t know before…
- Players highly value content about their teammates / clubmates and will invest reasonable effort in order to consume it
- Captains value functionality very highly, as it is the complicated but necessary chores which makes their lives hard.
We will need to balance these two user needs, as they will complement each other and, as both parties are necessary for a team, both are essential for growth. User feedback on other providers in this space show that neglecting one persona’s needs results in that persona not engaging with the product willingly. This undermines the whole product in the long run.
I’ve included some other learnings at the bottom of the post if you’re interested 👨🎓.
Overall, we have managed some good progress in the last few months around jobs and families:
- We’ve built about two thirds of the user account structure;
- We created an email service we can use to contact users for operational purposes;
- We fixed a crucial bug which was preventing some users from logging in;
- We’ve shipped a Reset Password function
However, the velocity challenge remains. The team has faced various significant distractions outside the project which have sapped time, energy and attention. It is very difficult to find the space to deliver good project work.
We believe we need to work quickly in order to turn Lockeroom into a viable business — the faster we test our ideas, the faster we learn. The faster we learn, the more likely it is that we reach product market fit, before entropy sets in ☕️. We hope that if we can answer the growth question in a good way, various paths to a full-time Lockeroom product team open up.
So bring on 2019! Thanks for checking in, hope to see you again soon 👋
Jarryd, Harry & Ollie
- Some users are naturally interested in referring the product to their friends, both other hockey clubs but also to other sports teams (rugby)
- Most users (Players most acutely) really value the vote summaries and miss them when not shared
- Some captains want to export / analyse votes at certain points e.g. christmas meals, end of season meals, etc
- Captains want to set up links before the match, so they don’t have to remember this later / preserve battery power
- Some players who are not currently playing for the team in question will regularly add votes if they can, spoiling the vote result
- The Lockeroom app is missed when not available
- Captains feel too busy to review the match votes themselves
- Captains regularly need to transfer ownership of the team to temporary replacements if they are injured or away
- Captains are dissatisfied with existing team tools, esp. Pitchero. The main painpoint is player engagement — players simply do not enjoy the platform, so captains have to strongly incentivise them to contribute (up to threats of not being allowed to play!)
- Teams currently use a wide range of tools in combination to achieve their organisational goals — whatsapp, email, instagram, doodle
- Some players will refer back to match details regularly before a match
- Some players will check the team’s league position regularly, especially towards the end of the season
Through user interviews we have gathered other general insights from players about how hockey fits into their lives, such as:
- Communication habits — some chat regularly to their teammates, not so much to anyone else. others are too busy.
- Prep habits — hockey kit prep, but not much else
- Planning travel — they don’t so much, prefer to rely on the herd