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whitesmith.co

November Monthly Gathering

Rafael Jegundo

Overview

Over the previous weeks, we felt a bit of overload here and there, which made us revisit the importance of balance and trade-offs. We have ambitious goals and now teams are more independently focused on pursuing them.

These teams are quite autonomous due to our effort of distributing responsibility. However, this easily gives rise to conflict goals between teams, where they compete for time and attention of the people involved to achieve their mission.

If done sensibly, this model mimics market economics to optimize the distribution of resources, but things never flow that easily, especially when we are still adjusting and improving our way to operate. As a result, there were some people and teams that were a bit overloaded, stretched by trying to contribute to several goals and teams.

From a more wider perspective, this also creates an incentive to sacrifice some goals relatively to others, which needs to be done carefully. It's not a good deal to kick the ball out of the park on one front if that leaves everything else on fire.

Even if it's not ideal, it's much better as a team to fall short equally in our main goals, at a level that's better than previous and leaves energy to continue to improve. Objectively, this means we failed all three goals but is much more prone to build a strong and sustainable improvement path through balanced effort.

This is something we want to improve on the coming months, by finding better ways to provide visibility throughout the month about how each goal is progressing and balancing them to ensure we have a healthy pace and keep growing on all fronts.
Investment Time

October was a quieter month compared to September, and that is actually part of our plan: we had some extra people during the Summer, and that naturally increased our output, but also entropy, which we are now trying to decrease.

Objectively, in October we had our Product Cycle running (deats.me) and General IT. Here's a wrap up on how things are going:

  • deats.me: our Product Cycle has a name and a [webpage](www.deats.me) (check it out and help develop the product!) but the road has been bumpy. October had several setbacks in terms of team availability we couldn't control and that slowed it down. Because of that, the team had to adjust their course and they're now working hard to validate the product with their users, so they can strengthen their value proposition. If they can do that they have better chances of doing a 2nd Cycle and apply all the knowledge acquired talking to their users.
  • General IT: @PITE (our secret team that oversees everything under the IT umbrella) has been working on some measures to promote a more effective and efficient use of IT. On @PITE's side, there is the need of a more structured approach, so @PITE now meets every week to discuss what went well/not that well in the previous week and plan the next one. @PITE asks people every month for their IT goal and how they're going to achieve it, and that is used to help guide everyone through the month. On the people's side, @PITE is now scheduling some mentorship days for when several Whitesmithians want to learn something. For example, we have 3 Whitesmithians looking to kickoff their React skills, so @PITE talked to one of our most experienced member in React so he can have a full day helping those 3 kick off the learning, overcoming the typical "lazy beginning syndrome".

So we expect November to be a month for solidifying new habits that will help prepare future measures, to be rolled out as we go.

Consulting

Last month of October we achieved 71k€ of billables compared with the goal of 80k€ we traced. Our estimates at the beginning of the month were 79k€, but in part due to the need to balance our billables with the Product Cycle, and in part due to we're being still a bit too optimists when making billable's projections, the number decreased throughout the month (something we have been improving considerably though).

We had 9 qualified deals of the 12 we traced as a goal. This was a nice increase compared to past months (for example, in October we had 6). Nonetheless, only a few came from direct Outbound - the rest of the deals came from referrals (previous and current clients, and our network) - this means that the biggest impact on leads had come from things as business development, our good performance on projects, and marketing. Even though we have been finding some nice new patterns, we still have to keep working to make Outbound sales predictable, And this is where London comes in: we now have a full-time presence in London, and we have some indicators that this has been paying off.

Still, about October, we closed 3 new deals and achieved the trimester goal. Nonetheless, we will surely be working hard for closing new ones, to keep growing and getting new interesting projects.

For November we will aim for 85k€ of revenue, the goal for qualified deals maintains at 12, and we will want to close a new deal with our newest rates. Focusing on increasing rates seem like not like a big deal at first when compared to the "20k€ projects" goal we had last trimester, but the truth is that this has been having a bigger impact in the company, which is great.

Marketing

As we mentioned last month, the marketing team was fully booked working on a marketing project for one of our clients. That leads us to guarantee the minimal services publishing some blog posts, updating our social networks and preparing the events of the next months. Unfortunately, we were not able to prepare a new edition of Digital meets Physical in Lisbon but we will be doing it in December.

So, during October we published 4 blog posts, two of them related to our Product Cycles, the usual about our monthly gatherings and another one about how to make outsourcing good for both parts. In case you missed them, don’t forget to visit our blog.
Last month, we also had three inbound contacts, one from Pixels Camp, other from one of the platforms we have been trying for a few months and another from one of our colleagues. We hope this continuing happening every month :muscle:

For November, we will be preparing the last meetup of the year in Lisbon. So, pay attention to Digital meets Physical website because we will have news soon!
On 20th of November, Rafael, our CEO, will also be present at FEUP Talks, an informal gathering to discuss the similarities and differences between startups and corporates.
We also want to do some changes on our blog, in order to make easier to find the different types of blog posts we have.

See you next month

We would love to know your thoughts about our monthly reports. What else would you like us to cover? Or what can we share that would be helpful for you? Feel free to share any thoughts or questions on twitter!

Check out the posts of the past months:
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January part 1 & 2
November part 1 & 2


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