Over the last few monthly gatherings, we have been talking about several things, while the last one was Limit WIP. So before jumping ahead and thinking what we are gonna change next, I think it’s worth reviewing on our recent plans and ensure we conclude it first.
The state is certainly better, but not yet fully complete. Some of the reviews are still missing, and we should ensure that retrospectives in general, and from a DevOps point of view, are done regularly. For new projects or old ones having issues, these should be done at least bi-weekly until all problems are solved or we are 100% sure they are outside of control and scope of influence, which is actually less frequent than one might think. If we do root cause analysis (5 Why’s), we frequently find at least something that we can do to improve our odds.
Improving on craftsmanship is mostly a problem of organizational change, and a particularly hard one because it requires a orchestrated effort of our team to gradually raise the bar in a sensible manner. This requires not only knowing where to raise the bar to at each point, but most of all persuade the people around us to get there. Repeat.
At this point, I think our bottleneck for progress is more on the non-technical side of things. To address this, first I think everyone should be more mindful of these and the compromises associated in the future when arguing if this is good enough. Meanwhile, I’ll be dedicating a bit more of my time to help people grow in terms of wisdom, influence.
Last month the number of projects acquired with a value equal or above 20k€ was zero of the 1 we wanted to acquire. On the other side, we have a few interesting proposals being made, with the potential to recover this goal this month. But let’s not “just hope”, and do what we need to do to overdeliver on those proposals. This month of May we want to acquire 2 of this kind.
Our billables were 63k€ - quite below the month’s revenue goal of 72k€. We expected at least 69k€ at the beginning of the month, but clearly, we didn’t estimate it well. The biggest factor here was that to bill some projects that we were expecting, we had to finish them, which didn’t happen yet.
Due to our ambitious goal for the trimester of 200k€ of revenue, and since we have only 1 month left for billing, this will make it quite difficult for us to reach it - the gap is too big for us to try to compensate in May. (Remember, invoicing of the trimester - Apr, May, Jun - corresponds to the work done on Mar, Apr and May). But let’s not just cross our arms and continue growing as much as we can.
In April we failed to accomplish the goal we set: get to 1500€ MRR. We identified the main reasons for this:
- It still takes too long for us to get a final answer sometimes. We had a couple deals in the pipeline that we couldn't close quick enough. They aren't lost, just not closed. We're still trying to figure out the best way to overcome this;
- Even though we expanded the area of acquisition (literally, we started looking for clients in Lisbon and Porto, outside Coimbra), the time it takes from the first contact to close the deal is still considerable. At best we make a meeting in the week next to first contact (especially if outside Coimbra, where we're based), and even if we close on that meeting, we don't' always have the chance to list requirements for that installation.
- Related to the last point, an increase in sales effort also resulted in a bit less organisation, and as entropy increased we had to deal with that, but it took time to find out how we could improve our internal process.
- We had a big single client installation, the first of this kind (50+ sensors, 4 restaurants), and we underestimated a bit the effort we'd have to make preparing and doing it.
So having this all in consideration, the goal we set for May is close the 700€ we had in the pipeline.
As you may recall from the last episode of “Monthly Gathering”, Unplugg engaged search mode to answer “What do we need to change so forecasting can bring high value to our potential clients" and validate some of our ideas. The key metric to guide us was pretty simple: sell a license or product data-related in the energy field.
We failed. We were expecting that if we could find a new source of leads and follow-up again all the leads from the Utility Week we could reach the value we've established.
We started by doing follow-ups with Utility Week leads, however, there was a small detail that probably undermined our ability to schedule calls. We were able to talk with 6 companies during this month and, through the new source of leads we’ve addressed 35 Utilities in the UK.
Those conversations gave us interesting clues, but we still don’t have enough data to draw any conclusions. The main lesson here, we need more information, and we need to look at it in our network. A clear flaw here was our capacity to hustle and maintain a good flow of leads. This is a problem we must solve and integrate Unplugg's hustling into Whitesmith hustling process to be more seamless, otherwise, we will not be able to keep up.
For the next month, we’ve decided to keep hustling and keep the objective: close a deal for data consultancy services on energy.
In April our goals were:
- 4 blog posts;
- 2 contacts through inbound;
- 1 reply to the newsletter.
We achieved the first two, 4 blog posts written and 3 contacts through inbound but we still have to improve our newsletter to increase the engagement.
May will not be a lot of different in terms of goals but we want to try different things:
- 6 blog posts: we start a mixed reality column and we will share more code-focused content.
- 3 contacts through inbound;
- 2 replies to the newsletter.
In May we will organise our first meetup "Digital meets Physical"! As you probably know, at Whitesmith we aim to develop products that connect the physical and digital worlds together, not only for our clients but also our own (like Qold and Unplugg). So, we decided to gather product and tech enthusiasts with a bias for IoT, AR, VR or Data and share the best we have in these worlds.
The first edition will be in Coimbra but the next ones will be in other Portuguese cities, Lisbon and Porto. Don't worry if you are not in Portugal because we will do a live stream of the event.
We also see these events as an opportunity to increase our brand awareness and to be seen more as a company that connects the digital and physical worlds.
Finally, if you will be at Landing Jobs Festival, don't forget to pay us a visit!
SEE YOU IN JUNE
2017 is running and so many things are happening. We would love to have your feedback about the different things that we are sharing with, you can contact us through email or twitter.