Podcasts

26. The Future of Work and what you need to work remotely | Peter Coppinger, Co-founder and CEO of Teamwork

Podcast

Peter Coppinger | Co-founder and CEO of Teamwork

PODCAST DESCRIPTION

Today we spend an hour with the Co-founder and CEO of Teamwork, Peter Coppinger. Teamwork is an industry-leading Project Management software that aims to help teams all over the world be efficient, organized, and happy. And they’re pretty good at it.

GUEST BIO

Peter Coppinger with short hair and a black shirt

Peter Coppinger is the Co-founder and CEO of Teamwork. As CEO he leads the company towards its vision: to help teams all over the world be efficient, organized and happy. Since the early days of running his web agency, Peter has been obsessed with helping teams work better together. Today, Teamwork’s business management apps power 24,000 companies worldwide.

One of Peter’s ambitions in life is to help Ireland develop more indigenous SaaS companies and he is involved in a number of startup initiatives that help promote and encourage this.

Peter is a dad to two daughters, he’s an avid reader and loves to travel with his family.

 

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

[00:00:00] – Peter Coppinger
Companies that don’t really embrace digital transformation are going to be left behind, and I think employees as well want to and will increasingly want to work for a company that stands for more than just profit.

[00:00:22] – Doug Foulkes
Welcome to The Future of Work, the podcast that looks at, yes, you’ve guessed it, the future of work. It’s brought to you by WNDYR for their blog, Chaos and Rocketfuel. WNDYR are productivity and human behavior specialists who use technology to help us humans on our digital journey from disruption to transformation. Check them out at WNDYR dot com.

[00:00:45]
That’s WNDYR dot com. I’m Doug Foulkes and along with WNDYR CEO Claire Haidar, we regularly meet up with industry experts and mavericks to get their take on work in the future. Today we spend an hour in the company of co-founder and CEO of Teamwork, Peter Coppinger. Teamwork is industry leading project management software that aims to help teams all over the world be efficient, organized and happy. And they’re pretty good at it, as well as his hands on approach to leading Teamwork, one of Peter’s ambitions is to help Ireland develop more indigenous SaaS companies, and he is involved in a number of startup initiatives to help promote and encourage this. Peter is a dad of two daughters. He’s an avid reader and he loves to travel with his family. Claire, let’s find out how it all started.

[00:01:41] – Claire Haidar
Peter, hi. It is so good to have you here on this podcast with us, I’ve long considered to be a thought leader in this area that we’re both hugely passionate about. I’d like us to kick off with you, just giving us a bit of an insight into the 13 year journey that you’ve been on.

[00:02:02] – Peter Coppinger
Sure. Claire, lovely to be chatting with you and thank you for having me on. So Teamwork today has over 20,000 customers all around the world.

[00:02:12]
We specialize in project management, but we’re actually a full stack. Everything you need to run an agency or consultancy business, we have everything from CRM to get the customer, to Help desk to support the customer and product management at its core, and some collaboration tools as well. If I could take you back 13 years ago, we were a small, small but thriving consultancy. We had more projects than we could manage and we were looking for a better way to run our agency.

[00:02:42]
We tried everything on the market and nothing fit, so we decided to build Teamwork to solve the needs of our agency. So we booked this online. And for the first three years in business, Teamwork was a side project to our consultancy. But it got so successful that we decided to go full time with Teamwork. And since then we’ve been on a journey. We’re still bootstrapped. We’re doing over 30 million annual revenue. We have 250 employees all over the world.

[00:03:07]
Most of our customers are in America, but we have customers in just about every country. And it’s been a really exciting journey.

[00:03:15]
We think we bring a perspective to it because we were a consultancy and we sat in our customer’s shoes. We understand their needs and their concerns and what drives them. We think that’s what makes us different. When we first made Teamwork, we kind of put it on the web and we were appealing to everybody. Since then, we’re kind of laser-focused on agencies, professional services, anybody that does client work is exactly the sweet spot for Teamwork.

[00:03:38] – Claire Haidar
You kind of very flippantly said it there, but I want to specifically highlight it out, I think one of the biggest achievements that you guys have achieved in this 13 year journey is the fact that you’ve bootstrapped this. It’s not easy to build a company that’s doing 30 million, you know, in annual recurring revenue. And the fact that you guys have been able to do that without any external funding remains one of your biggest achievements, particularly because your competitor space has become very crowded and it continues to become more and more crowded with every passing month.

[00:04:12]
Most of those companies are not only funded, but some of them are significantly funded. So definitely something I want to call out there.

[00:04:20] – Peter Coppinger
It is something we’re very proud of. We want to have a company we’re really proud of. We never really wanted to take investment. And in the early days of software, you didn’t really need to take investment. I mean, Microsoft got a long way before they got investment.

[00:04:35]
But the reality is now that we are up against some seriously funded competitors who don’t really care that much about profitability, which is fascinating in its own way.

[00:04:45]
So, you know, they’re pumping money into things like Google AdWords to acquire customers. And, you know, it really inflates the price of AdWords and the price of different advertising mediums. And being up against that as a bootstrapped company is a really tough challenge. But I’m proud of where we’ve got to. I think probably the biggest challenge for Teamwork is to cut through all the noise.

[00:05:06]
And there’s so much competition out there, spending literally hundreds of millions a year. Forces our self-funded budget, to still be able to take a good chunk of the market, I think is a testament to our product and our support and everything the staff have built. I actually can share with you that we have decided that we are going to take on investment now and we are going to go hell for letter and blow this up because we want to be a full stack end to end service for anyone that does client work.

[00:05:34]
And we want to be the best in the world at that. We’ve always had this billion dollar ambition. I mean, it’s not just about the money, but this huge ambition to really deliver this end to end platform for our customers. And we want to deliver that faster and we want to get the word out there more. So watch this space hopefully we’ll be a fully funded company that will go even faster this time next year.

[00:05:54] – Doug Foulkes
Peter, I’m going to say hello. Nice to meet you. Before I get into my main question, I just wanted to ask you, I was smiling, because when you explain, you’re saying we, you know, we develop Teamwork. Am I right in understanding that actually you coded, you’re a coder as well as the founder and the CEO? Didn’t you sit and write the first version yourself?

[00:06:18] – Peter Coppinger
Yeah, my co-founder and I are both developers and it’s a huge strength and it’s also a weakness because like we always want to go back to the code and we love code and we think we’re pretty good developers. But like when you get to a certain scale, your efforts at programming isn’t what the company needs. The company needs vision and leadership and guidance. And I do every now and again have that primal need to go back to the code.

[00:06:43]
And earlier on today, I spent a few hours coding, helping out with our new website to get it over the line faster, just to accelerate things. One thing I’ve learned as a CEO, it’s not enough to have any one skill set. Doesn’t matter if you have a marketing background or a sales background, you need to know enough about every area of the company, sales, marketing, support, development, everything. If you’re going to have a really efficient organizatitsion. And also it’s not the best product that wins the market. It’s the best product combined with the best marketing and positioning and sales and everything else.

[00:07:14] – Claire Haidar
Just very quickly, out of curiosity, what is your guy’s current technology stack? Because I know you and Dan, I mean, because you are a technologist. You guys have been very much about staying on top of things. You know, you guys, there’s been a few times that you guys have gutted the system and rebuilt it. Where are you guys at right now from that perspective?

[00:07:31] – Peter Coppinger
So we are currently we call modernizing the entire front end of Teamwork.

[00:07:37]
One of the hardest things in technology to do is to, you often have to every couple of years rebuild the front end, or the back end, or both; of your product.

[00:07:46]
And it’s just a vicious cycle and it can actually kill a company if you don’t get it right. We have figured out a way that we can modernize the entire front end of Teamwork, a method that we can rebuild the plane while it’s in flight, essentially. So we’re currently in the middle of this big project where we’re switching the entire front end over to View GS.

[00:08:05]
And before that was it was on a technology called Knockout.js. And before that, it was kind of like a manual hybrid of JavaScript. And it’s just evolved time and time again over the years.

[00:08:15]
And it’s really difficult to kind of rebuild the core front end of your application and modernize it while also adding features at the same time. We’re actually very excited about that. We figured out a really clever technical solution to this, where we can drop in large pages of the product from the modern stack, and eventually in a few months time, the entire product will be converted over to View GS.

[00:08:35]
We use a lot of Go in the back end. It’s a language from Google called Go. So we do try and get that balance right between scripted languages and like go deep into the technology when you really need something to be multiple threaded and super fast and so on.

[00:08:49] – Doug Foulkes
I’m going to move along because we’ve got a lot that we’d like to cover. I’m going to bring you right up to date. The pandemic has done a lot for work management, the whole sector in the last six months. What can you see within your customer base that’s different this year than in the previous years?

[00:09:07] – Peter Coppinger
We have a lot of agencies, a lot of agencies and professional services using Teamwork. And one-third of them, their business went off a cliff. Another one-third of them were never busier. They actually got a lot of customers out of it. And then the other third, they actually were kind of afraid to spend money and just like batten down the hatches. So we’ve seen that reflected for a couple of months and we felt the impact of that at Teamwork.

[00:09:33]
I mean sales definitely slowed down in April. But what we’ve seen since then, is a few months later, everything’s accelerating again. And I think those people that were kind of sitting on the fence and afraid to spend money on technology are now actually doubling down on technology and really embracing it. And we’re feeling that I mean, Teamwork is perfectly designed to help you run your entire company in a virtual environment. In our company. We weren’t that impacted.

[00:09:59]
It was business as usual for us. The only difference was everybody was working from home. All our tasks, all our work, all our interaction, all exists on the Teamwork platform. And ye things are taking off for us in that sense. I think we’re seeing as well that there’s actually very few companies that are actually using technology in a serious way to run their company.

[00:10:16]
And I think that they’ve been doing this Digital transformation movement for a couple of years now and companies that don’t really embrace digital transformation are going to be left behind. And while we’ve seen the result of Covid and being forced into the great remote work experiment is that companies have been forced to finally buy technology and embrace it and make the change.

[00:10:39]
So we’re trying to help those companies that have never used this sort of software before to get started.

[00:10:45] – Claire Haidar
When you set out I mean, you shared with us at the start of this conversation that you guys were solving your own problem. But when and how did that vision between you and Dan give birth to actually make this a full-service functionality for customers?

[00:11:01] – Peter Coppinger
If you look at our platform, project management and task management and work management is at the core of our platform. And if you think about it, no matter what kind of product you’re using, be it CRM or Help desk. There’s always jobs to be done, work to be done, tasks to be done. So we think it’s a natural core of our suite is the project management part. So what we try and do is we try and get people to, first of all, come onboard for our project management, which we think we do World-Class Project Management, especially around client work.

[00:11:28]
And we help you be really successful at that. And when you’re really successful about that, we nudge you onto our entire stack. So whether you need Help desk next or you need CRM next. We help you with whatever you need. And ultimately, we hope that everybody will end up with our Teamwork one suite where you’ll use all our five applications and manage work in the end. And you also save a lot of money. But data will just flow seamlessly right across getting the customer through to supporting the customer and the knowledge base.

[00:11:55]
Our kind of philosophy is like, whatever your challenge, we will help you solve that challenge and then we hope once we’ve solved that challenge, we can paint a bigger picture of how we can actually help your entire organization be really efficient.

[00:12:06]
That’s one of the things that makes the Teamwork platform different. We actually want your clients to use Teamwork, with you. You know, we designed it like that from the get-go.

[00:12:15]
And that’s why you can customize your colors and pick up your logos and you got a unique portal and so on. We did project management for years and then our customers kept asking us what Help desk integrates really well with Teamwork, and we would love to be able to create tasks from our Help desk and automatically manage the lifecycle.

[00:12:32]
We do good integrations with a lot of different Help desks, but integrations between two different vendors can only be so good and can only go so far. And they’re going to be kind of one-sided and they’re going to be a bit brittle and we think there’s a better way. So with Teamwork, the second product we added to the stack was our Help desk product. When a ticket comes in, the agent who’s answering the ticket can there and then create a task that somebody needs to do something and they can close the ticket.

[00:12:57]
Tell the customer we’re working on it, we’ll close the ticket and then the task exists in the Teamwork product, and when the task is completed it automatically reopens the ticket. So you can now tell the customer just to let you know we have that solved for you. That worked really well and our customers loved the Help desk aspect. And from there we’ve expanded out our vision for where we could go as a platform. We want to be able to help you manage everything from getting the customer right through that support and knowledge base on beyond.

[00:13:24] – Claire Haidar
Are you guys anticipating another module, if I could call it that, coming into the Teamwork one solution?

[00:13:30] – Peter Coppinger
I will put two words at the core of our strategy right now and its focus and simplicity. So what we’re trying to do is improved integrations between our products. There’s a lot of really nice things our customers are looking for. We will probably add a, quoting system and proposal system into our CRM product so that our clients can send the proposal or a quote, get approval, automatically, you know, close the deal, automatically create the project.

[00:13:56]
And all the data just flows seamlessly across the platform. Our customers are looking for that.

[00:14:00]
And we think that will be really exciting and it will also really differentiate Teamwork in the market.

[00:14:05]
So the other thing we’re trying to do with Teamwork, I mean, we have so many features in there. We’ve been really responsive to our customers over the years, but we’re trying to actually kind of simplify it for new users so that they can kind of more gradually learn how to use all the powerful features in Teamwork.

[00:14:21] – Doug Foulkes
Peter we’re going to step into the future of work. What do you believe the world is not considering that it should be taking seriously at the moment?

[00:14:28] – Peter Coppinger
I’m not sure that everybody really realizes that thanks to Covid and what I call the great work experiment, the world has been forever changed.

[00:14:38]
So what I mean by that is we were all forced into remote work. Every single company that never had remote work has been forced into it. And we’ve all been forced to put better processes and procedures and software in place. The world isn’t going to go back to normal. I think most companies their eyes have been opened and they are probably, if not fully going to lean into remote work.

[00:15:01]
They’re probably going to be very much more open to remote work. And we certainly are. Our strategy had been to have offices and beautiful offices in multiple cities.

[00:15:09]
It’s an expensive strategy. And we now see that we work really well, remote, and our software is perfectly designed for it. And I think you have to make a lot of effort when you’re embracing remote to have a great culture. And I think that was one of the things we were always worried about. This is an opportunity to double down on our culture. And we do things like every Thursday, like earlier today, we just had a meeting, an all-hands meeting with all our staff, where we share some updates on what’s going on in the company.

[00:15:36]
And we did do a deep dive in some topic. We get different people speaking and then we have a kind of fun, a fun kind of wrap-up quiz at the end. Today, it was on Science and Nature. I actually thought I’d do better in science, in nature, but I was pretty dismal and I didn’t win it.

[00:15:49]
But it’s definitely it’s a bit of fun. And we didn’t do that before. And it’s actually been a kind of like forcing factor for us to take our culture more seriously.

[00:15:58]
The remote people probably didn’t have as good an experience as the people who were office based in the past. But now everybody’s on the same playing field and we think like most companies, we won’t be going back to having everybody working in offices after this and I think that’s true of most companies out there.

[00:16:15] – Doug Foulkes
Moving then from the future of work, in general, to specifically the technology and say you’ve really been completely hands-on from the very, very word go. Is there anything that still limiting the technology from a work perspective?

[00:16:32] – Peter Coppinger
Virtual VR, virtual environment meetings will be amazing in the future, and I don’t know if you’ve seen the Facebook demo, the Oculus demo that was released two years ago, you had Zuckerberg talking to a lot of people in a meeting and drawing up flowcharts. And you look to your left you see a screen, and you look to your right and see a screen. You can see the virtual heads of the other people.

[00:16:50]
I think that technology will be huge in the future, but we’re not there yet. And I think part of the reason we’re not there is the hardware and the accessibility. But when somebody figures that out, it’ll be amazing.

[00:17:01]
The other thing I’ve seen is everybody’s leaning into running online conferences and running online events and webinars and there’s just probably never been more webinars and online events because we’re kind of forced into that world. A lot of people are kind of getting sick of it as well. You know, numbers are probably down on a lot of those things because there’s so many people doing it, which is interesting in itself. But I don’t think there’s any great software yet. For doing these webinars.

[00:17:28]
And what I mean buy I that, we used a bit of software recently for a conference Hopin.to, and it’s a good bit of software and it’s got a nice networking feature at the end, but you can’t really stage-manage what your viewers are seeing. And I think it’s ripe for somebody to create a bit of software that really lets you almost as if you’re in the studio of a TV program to kind of act like the producer and project-up different views and overlays of what the audience has seen. I don’t think anybody’s cracked that yet. I think it’s a huge opportunity and somebody is going to crack it in the next year or so.

[00:18:00] – Claire Haidar
I couldn’t agree more with you, Peter. You know, I’ve continued doing keynotes and quite a bit of speaking at conferences and stuff, and as amazing as it has been to not have to get on a plane and leave the family to go and do that this year, it’s been equally frustrating having to do it, but not actually being able to see the audience because they are not running those conferences in, you know, Zoom meetings where you can actually see people’s faces.

[00:18:25]
It’s literally you looking at a blank screen while you talking. And there’s just, it’s one of the worst things because as a speaker, I actually like to see people’s eyes when I am talking to them.

[00:18:36] – Peter Coppinger
Completely understand Claire. Even when you were addressing staff and you’re talking about something serious and you’re just talking to a dead screen.

[00:18:44]
So one of the things I say to all my staff is, you know, please turn on your cameras. Even if there’s two hundred of us on a call, you know, turn on your camera, it just makes it feel more human. You know, it’s not the same. It’s still not as good and I’d love if there was some bit of software that allowed your staff to really give kind of live interactive feedback, a thumbs up and stuff. Kind of like the live Facebook streams or thumbs up kind of floating up the screen, something like that for a business environment would be great.

[00:19:09] – Doug Foulkes
Just before I hand back over to Claire for a few questions, you’re a father. What are your thoughts about work in the world that your children are going to one day inhabit?

[00:19:18] – Peter Coppinger
Well, my first thought on this is that one of the benefits from working at home is being able to see your kids occasionally throughout the day. Ten minutes here and ten minutes there. And, you know, in the old world, I’d come home at five o’clock, sometimes later, depending. I get caught in things, caught in traffic. I get one hour with the kids before they go to bed. In this New World. I’m meeting the kids here and there throughout today.

[00:19:42]
If it’s a nice day, we might go for a walk. We might spend some time in the garden. So that’s one huge benefit. But to answer your question, what are my thoughts about the world children will one day inhabit? I think most companies today don’t really lean into technology. And I think even your average startup in a few years time will use technology from day one. So they will have a task management system and they will have an internal knowledge base from day one, and that’ll just be the way you have to run your business or you just won’t be able to compete with all the other companies out there.

[00:20:12]
The world probably will continue to lean more and more into remote work. That’s just going to be the way the world operates in the future. And that’s kind of exciting because, you know, frees up the kids to live anywhere they want in the world and to travel and to work their own hours. And I think in a way, we’re being liberated from the office. And something we probably don’t think about is like in our lifetime, the internet came along.

[00:20:36]
We’ve probably gone through the most significant change to mankind over the last 50, 60 years. But nobody kind of appreciates it. You know, somebody told you 20 years ago that you’d have a little bit of glass in your pocket and you be able to pull it out and talk to anybody anywhere in the world. You would have thought that’s, you know, Star Trek stuff. But that’s the world we live in, though I think it’s going to be amazing to see what our children will have in the future, but they certainly won’t be deskbound.

[00:21:02]
I don’t think people will put up with that’s, you know, 20 minute hour, one hour or two-hour commute to the office. That’ll be a thing of the past.

[00:21:09] – Claire Haidar
It’s actually not going to become about the office that they’re choosing to work in or the company that they choose to work in. But I think the actual technology stack is going to play a major part of that.

[00:21:18] – Peter Coppinger
Companies have been turned inside out in general. So it’s the employees that have the power and the employees will be able to judge, do they want to work with this culture? And I think employees as well want to work and will increasingly want to work for a company that stands for more than just profit. So in the old days, you were happy to have a job. In the new world, you want to work for a company that echoes your values and isn’t just about making the shareholders money.

[00:21:45]
It’s no longer just about delivering shareholder value and making money. It’s about really treating your staff with respect. Your customers respect having an actual mission that the company can get behind. I think all that’s really exciting as well.

[00:21:58] – Claire Haidar
Peter, talk to us a little bit about your customers. Can you share, you know, call it three or so of the most surprising things you’ve learned from them in the last few months?

[00:22:11] – Peter Coppinger
I think the resilience has been amazing. A lot of our customers reached out looking for us to help them save costs during Covid. And we responded and we probably gave 200 customers at least discounts. What I was really impressed with was the amount of them that came back saying, you know, really appreciate that. Thank you so much. But we don’t need that discount anymore. So that was really really nice. And they really really appreciated that, that we went that extra mile for them.

[00:22:37]
We’ve always been incredibly focused on fanatical support and really getting to know our customers. We’ve kept that ethos true from back in the day when it was just Dan and I, programming and doing all the support, to having a, you know, a forty person support organization behind us now.

[00:22:55] – Claire Haidar
Teamwork moving into a fully virtual company. You’ve said that you guys have made that transition. But as you also said, you guys have, as part of your culture to date invested in magnificent offices, that I’ve been in and played in. And I’m specifically using the word, play because you guys have built them like playgrounds, which is just beautiful. Are you going to let those go? What does that future look like for you guys? And where is your thinking around that?

[00:23:21] – Peter Coppinger
We built a beautiful corporate headquarters in our home city Cork, a couple of years ago. Beautiful slides, stunning offices, no straight walls, really interesting features all over the place. And we did that because we’re a self-funded company, Dan and I want to have an environment that we love coming to work every day. We built a really cool games room called Area 51. And, you know, we just have fun with it and we want our staff to have fun with it as well.

[00:23:47]
Recently, we built a stunning office in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and we invested over 600’000 euro into that office. It’s got beautiful rooms like jungle rooms and music rooms and the pink room. And there’s a full bar, like an old fashioned, old Irish kind of bar built into one of the rooms as well.

[00:24:08]
And it’s just really cool. And it’s kind of gutting that it’s just sitting there with maybe one staff member in it every day right now after that investment we made. But that’s the world we live in. The strategy we had was to build stunning offices in cities that would help us attract great staff. And it worked really well for us. But I actually think we’re probably not going to be leaning into that strategy too much more. I mean, we’re going to continue with our probably your best two or three offices and then we’ll look at probably converting the rest to more remote work and leaning more to remote work.

[00:24:45]
But today we are a fully virtual company and I think we’re going to use our corporate headquarters more for things like training, onboarding, staff, occasional meetings, customer events and so on. But we will keep that corporate headquarters. And I think a lot of other companies will as well, like it is nice to have a building with your logo on it, and the kind of place you can identify with, and a place to gather. But we probably won’t be providing, like one of our things is we provided private offices to every single developer in the company, we’re just probably not going to do that anymore. We’re probably going to support people to work wherever they want to in the world going ahead instead.

[00:25:22] – Claire Haidar
Talk to us about why it was so important to provide that singular private office to people.

[00:25:28] – Peter Coppinger
The reason we gave people private offices was completely selfish. It wasn’t about ego or prestige or, you know, about giving them a pat on the back.

[00:25:38]
It was that there’s years of research that shows that knowledge workers who are deep in thought, any interruption, even if somebody just asked them a quick question, destroys their flow. And, you know, there’s loads of books written about flow and how important it is when you’re programming in particular.

[00:25:57]
I think programming and writing are actually very similar. When you’re programming or you’re writing, you’ve got all these characters and plot twists and variables and elements in your head.

[00:26:05]
Any interruption to that flow kicks you out of it. And you may never get back into that flow or it might be another week before you get back into that flow. So the reason we give people in private offices with a door you could close is that you could fully get into the zone and do their best work. Now, in a world where people are working from home, something that’s really important to us is that every staff member employee has a really good home working environment.

[00:26:32]
And that’s not true for a lot of people. A lot of people have an office they can go to and close the door, but there’s a lot of people that are, you know, in a shared accommodation and, you know, who just don’t have an office. So what we’re trying to do at Teamwork is figure out what can we do to support our staff? You know, can we give you a stipend to help you buy some furniture to get that office up and going and it’s important to us as well to check in with everyone to make sure that they have that support and that they have a good Eco-System. Part of that as well, is allowing people to work whatever hours work for them. Every single team, in the company, has a 90-minute meeting every week at different times.

[00:27:13]
It’s really important to turn up for that. Other than that, just do your best work and make sure you’re available to your colleagues. There’s a lot of people that love getting into the flow and being left alone and do their best work, but it doesn’t suit everybody. So, for example, onboarding new staff, where they could learn by osmosis in the past, like somebody new in sales, could sit there and learn off the other salespeople and pick up those bits that are undocumented and pick up those kind of tips and tricks.

[00:27:40]
I think it would a virtual environment. You’ve got to be a lot more deliberate with that and you’ve got to sign them a virtual body who will check in with them and answer their questions that they’re afraid to ask and so on. In our Teamwork Desks software, you can now draft the response, we call it. It’s a feature we call training wheels, where new staff can write their response to a customer, send it, but then it goes into a buffer where somebody will kind of give it a quick thumbs up before it goes out to the customer.

[00:28:07]
It works really really well in a remote environment. It’s even useful if you’re sitting in the office. But there’s more features like that that we will probably be adding to the stack where we will help with remote work. But the other thing I was going to say, is there’s a challenge in that if everybody’s sitting on chat every day and it’s their only connection to other people in the office, I think you really have to tell people that it’s OK to turn on, do not disturb every now and again so that you can really hunker down and get some work done.

[00:28:36] – Claire Haidar
Because we’ve built the company virtual app from day one, you know, and Teamwork was at the core of our stack right at the beginning. Onboarding is actually one of the things that we’ve really had to iterate on. It’s almost something that we’ve had to perfect more than anything because now it’s the norm. But up until just a few months ago, we were very much an outsider company and we realized that we had to really transition staff very, very carefully into that.

[00:29:03]
So we’ve invested a lot into our onboarding. So fully agree with all your thoughts on that, love what you’re talking about, you know, like on the support apps and things like that, I can definitely see that that’s something that we would love and our team would actually use. Naturally, the other thing there is that knowledge base. You’ve got to have the knowledge base that people can refer back to, you know, but it’s that balance between what I would turn that static knowledge that sits inside a knowledge base. And then there’s the real-time conversational knowledge that you have to make up for.

[00:29:34] – Peter Coppinger
I think as well, most companies probably don’t have a handbook that really outlines their values, what they stand for and so on. Or don’t have an operations manual. And I think I think you’re kind of forced to really get your processes and documentation together and I recommend that every company does that.

[00:29:52] – Doug Foulkes
Peter we’ve got maybe time for a couple of questions before I handover to Claire to finish off. I’m going to ask you to just tell us a little bit about any values or guiding principles that you refer to help guide the engineering team on at Teamwork.

[00:30:06] – Peter Coppinger
Yes. So not just the engineering team. We have something in Teamwork that is in our handbook that we call the golden rule.

[00:30:12]
And the golden rule is that you should never, ever, ever, ever, say, argue or say anything that could be construed as negative over any sort of chat medium.

[00:30:23]
So what I mean by that is, you know, something will annoy you or you might have a strong opinion to something or you might want to dig into why did we do something? It’s so important that you get on a call, you pick up the phone, you have that video call rather than saying something negative over text or, you know, you might not even mean it to be negative, but it might be just perceived as negative.

[00:30:46]
Text is a really dangerous medium. You know, if you don’t include that smiley face at the end of a sentence, it could be construed entirely differently. So that’s something we really try and instill in everybody at Teamwork. We’ve learned over the years where myself and my co-founder Dan used to tear strips off each other in the early days, you know, arguing over the color of a link or something silly, like if we actually just picked up the phone or if we just sat down and talked about it, we’d have things resolved in seconds.

[00:31:12]
I would recommend that every company puts that at their core. And actually it’s a firing offense in Teamwork. If we find people, you know, arguing over text, just bloody talk to each other, it solves so many challenges.

[00:31:26] – Claire Haidar
So we’ve got a combination of two things. We have what we call our no bullshit guide. And it’s a set of behaviors. That we genuinely embrace as a company, and we actually review that no bullshit guide every single year because as the company is growing and going through different phases, there’s different behaviors that are critical to that growth phase.

[00:31:48] – Peter Coppinger
There’s one other thing we do. It’s related to values, values, it’s so important to write them down, but to review them every now and again, but to hire and fire by the values. But also, I think with something like values, it’s not enough to just write them down and let them sit there and people read them once and forget about them. We revisit our values with all our stuff every single quarter, every single quarter. We go through our values again and we try and point out some examples of where people have lived, the values.

[00:32:15]
We have something called Coffee with Founders. Now, it’s a Virtual Coffee with Founders. But every time we have five or more new staff, we get them onboard for our virtual sit down with the founders. And as founders, we talk about the type of company we want to be and we go through the values top to bottom. And we think that really drives home what they’re about and what we’re about.

[00:32:35] – Claire Haidar
I’d like to turn the focus very sharply back to you and Dan and your expansion plans. Where are you growing next? I know you’ve said that it’s very much about focus and about really enabling that simplistic experience for the customer. But where are you guys thinking of growing and what are some of the numbers that you guys are looking to hit in the coming years?

[00:32:58] – Peter Coppinger
Our goal, the Teamwork, is to double our business in two years. So that’s a pretty ambitious goal. And we’ll probably use some of the funding to do that and hopefully go even faster. We think really strong platform. We think it’s really appealing to anyone that does client work. We recently did a pivot as well where we allow your customers to go free in Teamwork.

[00:33:22]
We think we’re the only guys in the market doing that. And I think we just need to get the word out there that, if you’re doing any sort of work for clients be it you’re an accountant or you’re a marketing agency or you’re a web development agency or anything like that, any sort of client work, Teamwork is the best platform for you. And that’s what’s really going to help us scale. And we’re doubling down on what that means. And that might mean we’re not perfect for some other sort of industry, but that’s Ok, because we can’t be all things to everybody. But we want to be the best in the world for client based work.

[00:33:54] – Claire Haidar
Peter, thank you so much for your time today. I’ve, as always, in every conversation with you, I learn a lot and I come away inspired to keep working in this world that we do. So thank you for taking the time. And I know that our audience is going to benefit a lot from this conversation with you today.

[00:34:11] – Peter Coppinger
Thank you. I appreciate that. And when I get over to Texas, whenever that is, let’s grab a beer.

[00:34:18] – Doug Foulkes
From my side also Peter, thank you. Very nice to meet you over the last hour.

[00:34:21] – Peter Coppinger
Well, guys, thanks very much. It’s been a pleasure.

[00:34:23] – Doug Foulkes
Ladies and gentlemen, Peter Coppinger, a business thought leader with a stack of wisdom and experience. We hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast if you have. We look forward to inviting you back sometime soon. Just a reminder, for more information about WNDYR and the integration services that they supply, you can visit their website.

[00:34:44]
That’s WNDYR dot com. And so from me, Doug Foulkes and Chaos and Rocketfuel until the next time. Stay safe and we’ll see you soon.

Similar posts

Get notified on new Chaos & Rocketfuel episodes

Be the first to learn about WNDYR’s latest work and productivity insights to drive a successful enterprise digital transformation