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Email with typo. Advertising with grammatical errors. Website title in case of mixed title. Blog posts that just don’t make sense. Sales deck with logo from churning customers. All of these everyday errors make your growth team look more like a B-team
When creating a startup, it is easy to write down course equivalent errors. But the truth is these mistakes make you look unprofessional and hurt your growth. These errors mean that your product may be incomplete.
How, then, can you avoid the appearance that you can’t get out of your way, but still grow as fast as you can? Create and implement a review process for your growth team that works and then sticks to it.
Related: 7 key steps in a growth strategy that work immediately
Before you begin: Determine if you even need a process
I must admit that I am not a big fan of the process – it can go as far as it helps. So, of course, my first recommendation is to find out if you actually need a process.
In a growth team, you may need a process if:
The campaign (or ads, emails, etc.) came out with errors.
No one knows when something is ready to go – it seems like you have to take action to get something released.
As an executive or team leader, you have seen something more than once, but your changes are not being implemented.
Do you have any idea what is happening; It all feels like just a giant mess.
My team found all of the above signs earlier this year and I was not a fan. After some trials and errors, we’ve come up with a review process that keeps the work going, even after the team has tripled.
Step 1: Establish a “two sets of eyes” policy
Establishing the policy of “at least two people leave nothing without review” was the first – and most important – step in our new review process. Even if you are good at editing your own work, you will probably make mistakes and then avoid reviewing. In our group, the second set of eyes does not consider who is involved, unless it is someone other than the original author.
Step 2: Set up an executive review process
If the “two sets of eyes” are the baseline, the next part to deal with is setting up a clear, repeatable executive review process.
At first, we simply said, “If this isn’t an ad revision or a blog post, the marketing chief needs to review it before it’s released.” Unfortunately, this led to widespread confusion – my slack was full of things like DM, different channels, and reviews everywhere. The reviews took me a whole lot longer, and at no time did anyone know the status of anything.
Related: Creating a ‘Growth Team’ and other tips this week
We fixed this with the process:
Anything designated for executive review is placed on a slack channel dedicated to review only. We work almost 100% from Slack, but this idea translates to other platforms. Maybe it’s a separate seat board, team channel or new email list. The important thing is to make sure that your executive does most of the work on a daily basis, no matter where the review process is.
The executive (I, in this case) has two specific review days so that one to two hours are blocked in the calendar to complete it. My review time is Tuesday afternoon and Friday morning.
Conversations about the item to be reviewed take place within the threads of the Dedicated Slack Review channel.
When something is ready, or not, the executive marks it with an appropriate emoji to indicate its condition. I use a tick mark when it is approved, a green square if it goes to someone else or if it is not approved I use an X. Have fun with it, but be consistent with your emoji usage. In my review days, I easily figured out where to start my review, as I scrolled back to where the emoji icons ended up on the Slack Channel.
Step 3: Set up an emergency procedure
Of course, not everything fits nicely with the Tuesday / Friday review cycle. Some things need to be reviewed or worked on before the end of the day. To manage these, we set up an emergency process – again in Slack, because we are completely remote and live there.
We’ve set up a separate “Code Red” channel. Something urgent is posted there.
Anyone needed in the process is tagged.
We as a team agree that this channel is for emergency work only, and we leave everything there to handle things.
Step 4: Set up a team process
These first few steps took us a while, but then we discovered that our marketing team was shutting down the channel with a request for a completely non-executive review. We’ve set up a team review channel with the same emoji convention as the executive channel. Each team member reviews but works best for him and we keep the team channel free for questions, conversations and weird memes.
Step 5: Review, remind and tweak
No process is perfect forever (and if it is, I want to hear about it). We review the process when it feels broken, remind the team when one or more of us break the process (I’ll admit it’s usually me!), And make changes if necessary.
Related: 5 Leadership Strategies to Improve Team Performance and Grow Your Small Business
First, determine if your team needs a process. If you’re getting errors, you need one. If you have no errors, you need to write a book and show us all how it is done!
Then, instead of telling the team to go through the process, bring the process into the team. In our case, that means keeping the review flow inside the slack, but your team could actually gather elsewhere.
Keep it clean and consistent. Reviews are their designated review channels, executive or otherwise live, and you will review them at a specific time on a given day.
Finally, assume that there will be fire. We can’t process our way from last minute requests, at least not completely. So make sure you designate an emergency channel and set up a precaution for hot items.
That’s it! Go ahead and process.