August 22, 2019

How validating solutions led us to a HUGE problem

sumshetty

TlDR; We spent 8 months asking people if problems we have is problems they have. Most said no. But gave us other problems. One problem stood out as common, remote employees didn't understand their objectives in context of their companies goals. The founders had a linked issue : their strategy wasn't turning into results. Is that a problem you face in remote teams ?

Hey guys,
I love Indiehackers, its basically one of the few social media channels I frequently visits. I wanted to share our story and would love to hear peoples thoughts on the problem.

8 months back a friend of mine and I, set out on a journey to build a software business in a niche.

As we progresses we built prototypes fro tinyteam.io , meetbox.io. None got strong validation. Built blogs for both of them and added a new project to that list - decisionboard.io.

We invalidated several other ideas we had, either because we didn't find the right market or the problem existed only in our mind. Some of the ideas were too fringe.

Last week, we realised we were wasting too much time doing this and we should just isolate a problem people have, vs obsess on our own problems and find people that have the same problem. I know this is a dangerous path because you won't be the primary user of the application, but we had no choice.

We looked at the information from all our interviews and saw one glaring problem, staring at our face.

Most remote team members had no clue of their objectives and how it connected to their mission. There was a lack of intrinsic motivation. For founders, the problem was that their strategy wasn't turning into results. We thought both these problems are interlinked.

Most task managers focus on the micro, there is nothing that helps remote teams focus on the macro. What is my teams quarterly objective ? How is that linked to other teams ?

As a two person team, we don't face this problem as often, so I'd like to understand more if people at IH face issues in steering a remote team.

We have a landing page up at usehelm.com, would love any and all feedback

  1. 2

    We are doing remote teams, and I'm not sure if a purely dedicated software just for communication, in that sense, would help us, we do a lot of tasks/tickets and they are prioritised of what should be delivered.
    Although I do agree that it's hard to keep people focused, aware of the larger picture, and where they fit into the machinery.
    However I have seen this in on-site teams as well.

    Maybe it all comes down to communication.
    As what works for us is communication, and just try to be as transparent as possible.

    However, we might not be the target for this, and maybe it would work as a communication tool for organisations that are struggling.
    Maybe we will as well in the future :)

    Some feedback regarding the landing page:

    • You refer to a study by Deloitte, under the "Meet Helm", fourth card from the left.
      As you use this as a reference I would like to actually see a link to the study, at least to me it gives you some more credibility.
    • I realise it might not be finished, but I am missing a way to contact you on the landing page, either a contact form, or just an email address.

    Also @producthqio covered a lot of good points so won't repeat them :)

    1. 1

      Yeah fair, it all boils down to communication.

      Do you guys do anything specific to make sure everyone is aware of the larger picture ? And how everyone is pulling together to get there ?

      Thanks a lot for the feedback, will incorporate the changes :) I removed my email temporarily because of some problem with mailservers

      1. 1

        We try to ensure to be as transparent as possible, doing calls, we have one scheduled daily call with the whole team.
        Then we have ad-hoc calls, if necessary, but the team has availability on chat, we currently use slack, to just discuss issues, solve problems, or ask questions.

        We also try to have the team gathered at about the same time, not 8 hours constantly, but some overlapping, so that we can keep some kind of communication, even if we have chat I believe it's beneficial to be available around the same time :)

        Not saying that it's perfect, and we will most likely have to adjust in the future and evolve as we grow.

  2. 2

    Hi, here is some general feedback on the new landing page.

    1. Your logo in the top left is cut off with the M

    2. This seems like it is saying the same thing twice and can be reduced:
      We spoke to 130 remote companies and 32% of them complained about not understanding their objectives. Remote workers weren't sure of what their objective was.

    3. Misspellings within the three sections for designed for remote teams, manual on boarding and ease of use. You need to review and read the text there as I saw a number of words misspelled.

    4. About US link at bottom just does a jump to top - did you mean to have another page? if not, remove it.

    5. I would create a business email [email protected] your domain and update the contact information to use that. It is hard to believe/trust a company using personal email for business.

    6. I think more visuals on what your platform looks like and less text overall would be better to show the solution

    7. A video would be great to bring it home with ideally testimonials from remote employees/.

    1. 1

      Thank you so much for this.

      What did you mean the top left is cut off with the M ?
      Have incorporated most of the feedback. Will put up designs of what we're building.

  3. 2

    We're remote and this is definitely an ongoing issue we have, but we wouldn't want a separate stand-alone software to address it.

    1. 1

      @Laura Thanks for the response. What software do you guys use as part of your workflow ?

      1. 1

        In my opinion, anything that integrates with email is a strong bet.

  4. 2

    Because of the CTA this feels like a consultancy gig? Are you trying to validate a software idea or do you want to move to coaching type business?

    1. 1

      Thanks @LucasH for the feedback. Software idea but we don't have a clear product vision yet.

      Like Laura mentioned above, most people are done adding new software to their stack, so I think we need to figure a way to seamlessly fit into the workflow. We want to do 1-on-1 sessions so that we can really build a product that solves remote teams problem. But clearly it can be misunderstood.

      I've changed the CTA, thanks for the feedback

  5. 1

    I think it's more of a leadership and management problem. Most orgs don't run very efficiently. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if a software/tools solution will help.

    1. 1

      I agree, I do think though giving leaders and team members visibility helps a lot