When People Come and Go

Project teams often have different workers at different times. And that can create problems.

It’s tough for a team to deliver top performance when members keep coming and going. Constant turnover makes it hard to maintain team spirit—and the continuity of skills and knowledge necessary to get the job done.

But sometimes companies don’t have any choice but to keep shuffling the deck. Teams might need different workers at different stages of a project—designers at the start, for instance, and prototyping experts later on. Likewise, the team members may not all be available at the same time, or employees might constantly come and go because of layoffs or mergers.

Questions to Ask Yourself

1. Are you constantly shuffling people on and off teams in your company, either out of necessity or by design?
2. Do new team members take a long time to get up to speed?
3. Do longstanding team members resent the extra work it takes to get newcomers trained?
4. Do team members who are constantly shuffling from manager to manager complain about a lack of career oversight?
5. Overall, do you find that these unstable groups aren’t performing as well as they should?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to rethink how you set up and manage your teams. You should craft team roles that take little on-the-job training, and make it as easy as possible to slot people in and out. As part of that, you should come up with formalized procedures for employees to follow, making it easier to get newcomers up to speed. Finally, find ways to motivate workers who are always moving among teams, and help them identify with the organization and its goals—such as assigning them to a manager who oversees everyone at the company with similar skills, instead of bouncing them from boss to boss.

Some managers, meanwhile, want to keep team membership unstable on purpose. They may want to rotate employees in and out of groups to give them exposure to different parts of the business, or to cut down on theft or other bad behaviors that can develop when employees work together closely for a long time and turn a blind eye to each other’s misdeeds.

So, how can companies get the most out of teams under unstable conditions? Here’s a look at the most common problems that teams with fluid membership encounter—and the best ways to solve them.


By Gervase R. Bushe

Project teams often have different workers at different times. And that can create problems.


It’s tough for a team to deliver top performance when members keep coming and going. Constant turnover makes it hard to maintain team spirit—and the continuity of skills and knowledge necessary to get the job done.

But sometimes companies don’t have any choice but to keep shuffling the deck. Teams might need different workers at different stages of a project—designers at the start, for instance, and prototyping experts later on. Likewise, the team members may not all be available at the same time, or employees might constantly come and go because of layoffs or mergers.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Are you constantly shuffling people on and off teams in your company, either out of necessity or by design?
  2. Do new team members take a long time to get up to speed?
  3. Do longstanding team members resent the extra work it takes to get newcomers trained?
  4. Do team members who are constantly shuffling from manager to manager complain about a lack of career oversight?
  5. Overall, do you find that these unstable groups aren’t performing as well as they should?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to rethink how you set up and manage your teams. You should craft team roles that take little on-the-job training, and make it as easy as possible to slot people in and out. As part of that, you should come up with formalized procedures for employees to follow, making it easier to get newcomers up to speed. Finally, find ways to motivate workers who are always moving among teams, and help them identify with the organization and its goals—such as assigning them to a manager who oversees everyone at the company with similar skills, instead of bouncing them from boss to boss.

Some managers, meanwhile, want to keep team membership unstable on purpose. They may want to rotate employees in and out of groups to give them exposure to different parts of the business, or to cut down on theft or other bad behaviors that can develop when employees work together closely for a long time and turn a blind eye to each other’s misdeeds.

So, how can companies get the most out of teams under unstable conditions? Here’s a look at the most common problems that teams with fluid membership encounter—and the best ways to solve them. Leer más “When People Come and Go”

Moderation – Mandatory for Crowdsourcing Success

Out at the GROW2010 conference in Vancouver (not to be confused with grow events of the horticulture variety), we got to hear from Lane Becker, Co-founder and VP Strategy of Get Satisfaction talked about “well that didn’t work – startup lessons learned.”

He talked about Adaptive Path, MeasureMap (acquired by Google … Inspired GoogleAnalytics), and Get Satisfaction all with cheery cynicism.

Get Satisfaction is a peer to us – as Lane described they offer “Customer service communities online – getting customers to engage with and support each other.” Chaordix has a different focus on innovation and insight communities. Our members through crowdsourcing are collaborating with each other, but also with the company personally and via our moderation team. We generate innovation and insight for companies, where Get Satisfaction offloads work from companies, reducing customer support costs.


Claudia Moore

Chaordix at Grow  2010

Out at the GROW2010 conference in Vancouver (not to be confused with grow events of the horticulture variety), we got to hear from Lane Becker, Co-founder and VP Strategy of Get Satisfaction talked about “well that didn’t work – startup lessons learned.”

He talked about Adaptive Path, MeasureMap (acquired by Google … Inspired GoogleAnalytics), and Get Satisfaction all with cheery cynicism.

Get Satisfaction is a peer to us – as Lane described they offer “Customer service communities online – getting customers to engage with and support each other.” Chaordix has a different focus on innovation and insight communities. Our members through crowdsourcing are collaborating with each other, but also with the company personally and via our moderation team. We generate innovation and insight for companies, where Get Satisfaction offloads work from companies, reducing customer support costs. Leer más “Moderation – Mandatory for Crowdsourcing Success”

Craft An Irresistible Price By Focusing On Your Users

Price influences behavior. In order to craft an excellent user experience, the price — and how your users interact with that price — must be central to the development of the product, especially applications. No user will welcome an application if the cost is prohibitive. This makes price every bit as important as design, information architecture and wireframing, and it goes deeper than just getting people to click “Buy.” By focusing on users in setting and maintaining a price, you will increase revenue, lower overhead and, most importantly, significantly improve the user’s (read customer’s) experience.


Price influences behavior. In order to craft an excellent user experience, the price — and how your users interact with that price — must be central to the development of the product, especially applications. No user will welcome an application if the cost is prohibitive. This makes price every bit as important as design, information architecture and wireframing, and it goes deeper than just getting people to click “Buy.” By focusing on users in setting and maintaining a price, you will increase revenue, lower overhead and, most importantly, significantly improve the user’s (read customer’s) experience.

For just about a year now, between designing and developing client’s websites, I have been running a little app that I created with co-workers. In that time, we have launched, added features, raised the price, added more features and just now begun the early stages of marketing the product. So far, we have done all of this without borrowing a cent, and we have managed to at least cover our costs, if not generate some modest profit. I have no doubt that this success comes from our choices of model and price point.

This article is not about “How to price your app.” There are plenty of good resources for learning how to find the right number. Pricing for use is a framework for continually adjusting your price, when needed, to suit your profit goals and the experience of your users.

Nail2 in Craft An Irresistible Price By Focusing On Your Users
Your price is the nail from which you hang your masterpiece. Image source

[Offtopic: by the way, did you know that there is a Smashing eBook Series? Book #1 is Professional Web Design, 242 pages for just $9,90.]

Me First

In any pricing endeavor, think of yourself first. Many people think that apps have no overhead. They basically believe that “selling an app is free money, pure profit!” (ahem, Mr. Anderson). As a professional who has been running a application for just under a year now, I can tell you, this is patently untrue.

Digital goods and services have a very tangible overhead: time — time to innovate over competitors, time for customer support and time to cultivate your unique point of view. Each of these requires constant effort if you want to succeed. If you cannot afford this time, you will sacrifice your product, and possibly your livelihood.

Keeping the app running is the only imperative in pricing, so first make sure that your price covers your costs. After that, pricing is really a matter of how much you can gain — and not just in profit, although that will affect your bottom line.

User-Centric Pricing

Matt Linderman of 37signals said it best: “Pricing can be usable, too.” I would only add that pricing not only can be but should be usable. Predict (or just ask) what price point would feel reasonable to your target users, and when they will want to pay for your product. You already agonize over how users interact with your product; why not agonize about how they interact with you at so sensitive a time as when money is involved?

With so much being offered for free these days, paying for an app can be considered an annoyance. Ease this pain as much as possible by making it simple for customers to work payment into the flow of their lives. This could be as basic as setting up an automatic payment system, or it could require a complete re-evaluation of your pricing model.

An Attractive Price

Somewhere between covering overhead and your zeal for profit (Go on, admit it), there is a sweet spot of what you can realistically charge for your product. This is where it gets dangerous — and where many tend to undervalue. Set your price too low and you leave money behind that could be used for growth and reinvestment. Too high a price could be an insurmountable barrier to potential customers.

Ask yourself, “Does this price feel right?” Feel plays a major role here, and intuition is the perfect barrier to push against. If the price feels right, the product will feel right. In Human Action, Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises writes that prices are social phenomena. According to him, “the ultimate source of the determination of prices is the value judgment of the consumers.” So, what would a reasonable customer pay for your product? Leer más “Craft An Irresistible Price By Focusing On Your Users”

How to Connect with Your Customers / VIP article, read ;)

Why is that engaging? By providing collaborative filtering, it directs the Rider (our rational side), while it motivates the Elephant (our emotional side) [see more about the metaphor]. The company that integrates both components while it shapes the Path gets the desired action.


This morning, I’m the keynote presenter at the J. Boye Conference in Philadelphia for the online communication track. We’re talking about how to connect with your customers. Not just reach, connect. It’s a different ballgame, one that needs to integrate what used to be — and still are — many company silos.

Imagine this scenario. A customer walks up to you asking to locate a technical support rep. Because you’re curious, while you find out the name and look around to see where that person is, you ask how you can help. The customer proceeds to give you a list of problems that need addressing. He looks and sounds really upset. Leer más “How to Connect with Your Customers / VIP article, read ;)”