The last months of 2018 we’ve been busy building more functionalities for teams & their mentors in Dispatch; our tool for helping you pick the right focus for testing your business ideas. Let me quickly tell you more about it!

The Progress overview in a nutshell

In the Progress overview mentors and their teams can track the progress the team is making, note down agreements made on priorities and next steps, and see how the team progressed on those. It creates a paper trail of a team’s actions and creates accountability.

This wasn’t the first time we built a feature like this: in VenturePulse, a tool we used for managing innovation programs, mentors could also write progress reports for teams in their program. And it proved useful! And something previous VenturePulse users kept asking for in Dispatch. So we decided to bring it back again, but of course using all the feedback we got to make it even better.

How the progress overview works

Tracking your team’s current progress

If you open Dispatch you might notice there’s now a new menu item on the left called Progress. If you click on it you’ll end up in the Progress overview, where you can see the assumptions the team is currently focussing on, and any additional focus points they have.

At the bottom you can see all the progress reports that were submitted for the team, and start writing a new one.

This is what it looks like the first time you open it:

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And this is what it looks like after having filled out a progress report already. As you can see the contents of the last progress report are set as the current focus of the team:

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Writing a new progress report

The progress overview is for both team members and mentors, but writing progress reports is meant for anyone coaching the team, to be done after for example a check-in during which progress was discussed.

You can file a new progress report in Dispatch by clicking on the “New progress report” button. If you do so you’ll be asked what assumptions the team is currently focussing on, and any additional activities they are planning on doing. At the bottom of the progress report you can add any meeting notes, additional items you want to mention.

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If you already wrote a progress report before it will show you the focus set in the last progress report, so you can tick off any items that were completed or moved out of focus, and add new priorities.

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Why the emphasis on assumptions?

You might wonder: Why did we make “assumptions currently being tested” so prominent in the progress overview?

It’s to help you make sure your ideas are tested in the real world, and your business model is grounded in reality. It’s too easy to assume one’s beliefs are true. By drawing the attention back to these we remind users of the need to keep testing their business model and take care of important blind spots they have in their understanding.

What’s next for mentors in Dispatch?

Of course this is only the start! We have many more plans for optimising Dispatch more for use in innovation programs. Here are some ideas we have for 2019:

Giving more insight into a team’s performance

By focussing on important statistics that indicate a team’s speed of learning. Here we want to make sure to focus on the statistics that matter, by tracking not just the number of experiments they run but also how much they learn from it.

Progress on testing assumptions is key: How many assumptions did they (in)validate over the last week? And how well is the team covering the Business Model Canvas? Are there important areas they’re neglecting?

Having an activity log

So mentors can see the latest actions taken by a team, and can quickly get up to date on what it has been working on. This will include assumptions being added to the board, experiments that started running, focus items that were being ticked off, etc.

Want to see how Dispatch can help you improve your team’s performance?

Are you a mentor of an innovation team and do you want to find out how Dispatch could help you improve your team’s performance? Then head over to dispatch.firmhouse.com and get started on a 1-month free trial!

Any feedback & suggestions are more than welcome; just leave them in the Intercom messenger or send us a mail at team@firmhouse.com :)