Reddit, the popular social content site and community, has become one of the biggest and most important websites in the world. It has done that by handing power to the people to decide what news deserves to be read. Likewise, Reddit is structured to empower the team to work autonomously to get stuff done, and they use iDoneThis to make that happen.
Lightweight and simple for people who wear many hats
Much like the site itself, the Reddit team of 20 people is structured as a loose confederation of people spread across San Francisco, New York, and in between who wear a lot of different hats and work independently to get stuff done.
Project management tools often don't work for those kinds of teams because they're designed only to suit one particular way to work. For a tool to work for such a team, it must be incredibly lightweight, flexible, and not add more management overhead to the team's work.
They've found their solution in iDoneThis as a simple way to keep track of what they have done and what hat they wore that day. “I like how lightweight it is. It’s simple and flexible,” comments Erik Martin, general manager at Reddit.
It’s nice to see what you’ve accomplished especially when a lot of the work we do is vague.
What’s especially useful for the Reddit team is the ability to see real progress and share it with the team. “It’s nice to see what you’ve accomplished especially when a lot of the work we do is vague. It’s not like building something with your hands where you see the progress, so it’s nice to look back and see what you’ve done and what other people have been working on.”
At Reddit, iDoneThis isn't a tool for management to check in on people in an oppressive way, nor is submitting entries mandatory. “I don’t want people to wake up and go, oh, I forgot to do my thing, that’s not the point," Erik told us.
Erik explains, “All of us do a bunch of different things, so it’s hard for us to jump around. It’s nice to be able to track how that’s going, maybe not what we’re spending time on as much but what we accomplish on any given day.”
Build a record of real progress
Before iDoneThis, Erik’s team used to have a weekly email thread to keep an eye on people’s progress but it’s difficult to remember what you did yesterday much less for an entire week gone by. What you miss is not only that information about what got done but you also lose the powerful psychological motivator of perceived progress and the team cohesion that's built around making shared progress toward a meaningful goal.
It's that personal 'this is what I concretely accomplished today' that makes iDoneThis such a satisfying tool.
What Erik learned is that having a daily progress record actually had a tremendously powerful effect of building positivity among the team. He put it to us this way: "I've always thought it would be awesome to work on a farm 'cause at least at the end of the day you can look back and say 'I picked that many lemons or olives or whatever.' Too often the work we are doing can be nebulous and constantly shifting, that it's nice to be able to chronicle what you did at the end of the day. The team features and the memories from the past are great as well, but it's that personal 'this is what I concretely accomplished today' that makes iDoneThis such a satisfying tool. Feels like looking at harvest bushels in the setting sun."