About Adam Baechler

I am a Product Manager and Founding Team Member at PayrollHero.com.

EO Vancouver Presents Allison Mooney – Pressing The Right Buttons

 

Adam Baechler and Allison Mooney

Adam Baechler and Allison Mooney

 

On April 9th, 2013 my colleague Bryan Garcia from Ubertor.com and I attended an EO Vancouver event entitled to Pressing the Right Buttons presented by Allison Mooney. Allison is an award winning speaker and the author of Pressing The Right Buttons.

It was a full house at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel. As we eagerly awaited the start of the talk.

 

 

After a nice light breakfast (Thanks EO) we got started.

Breakfast

 

Alllison gave a presentation that was both entertaining and funny but informative using anecdotes from her own life .

Her talk explained the importance of understanding and respecting each others differences is the key developing high performing teams. This allows us to push the right buttons so to speak to motivate individual and our team as a whole.

First thing we did was self identify ourselves as 1 of 4 personality types. I self identified as a  peaceful personality. This type by no means defines my entire personality but it is the one I most identified with.

This personality type is the happy go lucky type of person and it means that I have a tendency to be the diplomat and I try to build cohesiveness in teams. Peaceful personalities are also know for being easy to get along with and listening well.

Unfortunately, we are also know as procrastinators which can annoy most of the other personality types Allison described.

My key take aways from the talk were:

  • Great teams are made from a mix of all personality types.
  • Treat people how they want to be treated to get their best performance.
  • Be aware of my personal personality quirks and how they can affect the motivation of others on my team.

Do you have any leadership tip to help motivate and recharge the people around you?

Fun Times at Zendesk University in Vancouver

This week, Mike and I (Adam) attended an Customer Service education event in Vancouver hosted by Zendesk.

Zendesk is the leading cloud-based customer service software solution. More than 25,000 companies such as Gilt Groupe, Box, and Disney are using Zendesk to lower their support costs, raise productivity, and increase customer satisfaction. Loved by both service teams and their customers for its beautifully simple interface, Zendesk is easy to try, buy, implement, and use.

We have been using Zendesk for over a year now with much success, but we know there is always room for improvement when it comes to communication in customer service and communication within our teams. Our goal was learn more about how to use Zendesk for our customer support and to meet other Zendesk users to share and learn with them.

zenu-room

The event was a full house, with most participants following along on their device of choice: laptop, ipad, smartphone or just plain old eyes and ears! In attendance were companies of all sizes, including start-up tech companies like ours.

Mike, Adam & Bryan with Avandi from Volo

Mike, Adam & Bryan with Avandi from Volo

We met Avandi from Volo, a local start up – they have built software for the Fitness Industry including online scheduling, billing, lead & member management, automated work flows, POS, reporting, and payroll in one system.

Adam and Brandon Knapp (Customer Advocate at zendesk.com and the instructor for the event.)

Adam and Brandon Knapp (Customer Advocate at zendesk.com and the instructor for the event.)

Living in Whistler, we are well-versed in the term “Après” and always enjoy the socializing and networking that comes after an event with other startups and tech companies! Here we are at the Mix and mingle (aka après!) after class. From left to right, Bryan from Ubertor, Jack and Keith from RideBooker.com, Bart and Alex from advisorwebsites.com, J.D. Peterson (Vice President, Product Marketing) at Zendesk.com, Mike and Adam from PayrollHero.com.

Après. As all good events should have!

Après. As all good events should have!

All in all, it was a great use of our time. When you can combine learning, inspiration, and networking with like-minded business-people, it’s been a good day.

Check back to see our follow up posts on Customer Service Analytics, How we are using Zendesk Automations and Triggers to help with our business processes.

GTD for Software Development at PayrollHero.com

We have been practicing different aspects of Getting Things Done (GTD) from David Allen at PayrollHero.com for the past year and in our previous projects at ubertor.com and outsourcingthingsdone.com for the last 10 years. It is a great way to manage all the different items that we have in our minds

I had an opportunity to get a refresher course in the basics from Tim Stringer GTD coach, entrepreneur and founder of technicallysimple.com. We were hosted by the good people at The Office on August 29th, 2012.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed keeping track of all the things you need to do? If you do then you should consider reading Getting Things Done.

My main takeaway from GTD is your brain is great at thinking not at remembering. So you should develop systems that you can trust so that you can get all your ideas, dreams and projects out of your head.

In this article I would like to take you through PayrollHero.com process of GTD. This is our own particular flavour of GTD so feel free to tweak it for your own purposes. As I deal mostly with organizing tasks to be developed by our engineering team I will be drawing many of my examples from there.

The ideal usage of GTD will allow you to maintain your perspective on your goals and control of your tasks. This is done by making decisions on actions and outcomes and regularly reviewing work that you have taken on. We have 5 levels of perspective and do 5 things to do to remain in control of our tasks. Our goal is not do more or less here we want to do what is needed and have a trusted system in place so that we do not lose track of anything and take the appropriate action at the appropriate time.

How We Keep Perspective

  • Level 5 – This is our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (To coin an over used phrase) for PayrollHero. These are the 3 or 4 reasons and goals we hope to accomplish in the end with PayrollHero.com.
  • Level 4 – The major theme within PayrollHero.com. PayrollHero has five major themes Scheduling, Rollcall, Attendance, Payroll, and Human Resources. Here we try to define what the vision is for each of these themes.
  • Level 3 – Features are like a new project that is going to add some functionality to the  system. This is were we determine the overall purpose of the feature.
  • Level 2 – Enhancements are individual tasks that make up the feature
  • Level 1 – Tickets are similar to enhancements but are smaller in scope. These are usually Bugs, Tweaks, and chores.

How We Maintain Control

1) Collection

We collect all ideas into a central repository for task. For this we use a web app called Asana.com and we use Googles Drive to share assets like pictures, mock ups, and drawings.  All these ideas are organized into the perspective levels so they can be evaluated later. Anyone form the team can submit an idea.

2) Processing

All this stuff needs to be processed and evaluated. We set aside a specific chunks of time our different task boards depending on the needed frequency. For example: We process bugs daily but Enhancement, Tweaks and Chore get processed weekly.

3) Organize

We normally do this at the same time that we process new items. This is where we prioritize our Backlog and usually happens right after we have processed all the new tasks.

4) Review

Next we review the other tasks in the list to make sure that we have everything needed so they can be worked on by the appropriate people. This can be done at the same time as you organize all your tasks. This is also made a lot easier if you are able to brake your tasks into chuncks that will only take at most a day to complete.

5) Do

Now that everything is processed, organized, and reviewed the appropriate team member can start to do work. This is our pre-defined work. We have a pretty strict ticketing system so there is very little unplanned work. When it does come up we have to say to ourselves. This is going to distract us from our my main goal today do I have to do it now or can it be deferred until later. 99% of the time it can be deferred until later and gets ticketed. Otherwise it gets incorporated into the ticket that was already being worked on. Lastly it is really important to schedule time into your day and week to define work this is were you can review your tasks

If this looks like work that is because it is, my position is pretty much dedicated to doing this day in and out, but it pays out huge dividends in what we get done and having the trust that we haven’t forgotten anything

Thanks for reading. Do you have any best practices for completing work?