Why we wanted to create a better way of working?
written by Yana Vlatchkova
Why did we want to create a better way of working?
We are a team of geeks, people, who can't stand still and always seek problems to solve. But we are kind of slow - we rework everything tens of times, then ten more times. It's never too good or sufficient. We geek out on research and spent hours quarreling over the small things. We're way too optimistic for our own resources, energy, and abilities. We're stubborn as f*** and take little notice of authority or sensible advice.
But we do things with a heart and care and that's why when we told people that we'll create a better way of working and they told us we're crazy, we didn't give up. So I guess that's classical - your weaknesses are your biggest strengths.
Why bother creating a new way of working?
Since 2013 we've been working in the industry of helping others help themselves do better, aka the productivity category of software. We created Swipes, a wildly popular task manager, that brought a new philosophy to the market and simplified people's daily planning. Everything was going great. But...
"In mid-2015 one thing started to draw our attention - there was a common deep dissatisfaction with the way we work."
Regardless of position or industry, people felt micromanaged, overwhelmed, confused and neglected in their jobs. Tools were not enhancing the good experience of teamwork but provoking their own set of bad habits. The notion of happy teams doing their best work was a mere illusion. Everyone was trying to save their own selves and boost their own productivity with personal tricks and hacks. Many of our users were rewriting work tasks from company tools inside our Swipes app to get their space and clarity on what to do next.
In this moment, we were also experiencing the same set of problems. Our small team of 3 had grown to 10 people. Everyone had their own way of doing things - some were using Swipes but things were not visible or coordinated with others. The development team was using Github and Trello, working in isolation from the rest of us. We, the marketers, were using Asana, but only one person came back to it and checked off things. The designer was jumping between tools, trying to collect tasks, cross-check information and get feedback. We all had Slack and Evernote , Dropbox , Dropbox Paper, Google Drive...We had it all and more. But our days were getting darker and darker. It took us some time to realize that with Swipes personal we were not really solving the problem we started out to solve - laying a good foundation for all of us to do our work well, helping us and others to create a shared way of working. We were a makeup to a broken system. A good and pretty but still a makeup.
"It hit us like a storm, there was no way back. We couldn't keep doing what we did before. We had to find a better way of working!"
So we went on and spent the next 2 years peeling the onion to discover what this way is. How if I do my part well, and you do your part well, cumulatively we can do great. We talked to over 4000 people, in-depth interviewed 100+ individuals working in sports, schools, big corporations, cake shops, wineries, tech startups...and many small and big exciting businesses. We got back to basics and discovered that the same 4 questions we cared about when we started our company in 2013, were THE questions others struggled to answer as well:
- What do we aim to achieve?
- What are all the things to do to get there?
- Who will do what?
- And ultimately, where to start from? Each and every day.
What did we end up creating?
Swipes Workspace The work of your team. United.Stay on the same page, exchange constructive feedback and take joy in work.
This is the tangible product of everything we learned about a better way of working for teams, people who come together on a shared mission, excel at their own part, share their vast knowledge and experience with one another so cumulatively they can create their best work.
It is a single place to work from that unites everyone's efforts into a common goal. It brings together team's actions, notes, files and communication, all revolving around the work we do. It preserves our precious attention and focus and minimizes context-switching and app juggling to the minimum. The Workspace is designed to teams foster better habits and built company cultures around purpose, appreciation, and connectivity. It is a new better way of working.
And we are so proud to share it with you.