The Science of Productive Meetings: Quality Over Quantity

The saying “quality over quantity” holds in many facets of life—so why not use this mindset to plan productive meetings? If you read our post on the psychology of routine meetings, you know the difference between meetings that make teams more efficient and ones that aren’t truly essential. In this post, we’ll look at three […]

Psychology of Routine Meetings: Understanding the Cause and Cure

If you view weekly status updates or daily check-ins as a necessary cost of managing a team, this is the post for you. If you regularly multitask or tune out during meetings, this post is for you, too. And if you attend or schedule routine meetings because you’re afraid of missing out on important details, […]

Slack’s Killing Email Excess. Are Mindless Meetings Next?

For generations, employees have endured a peculiar workplace tradition. They spend hours a day deleting, filing, forwarding and searching a form of communication called email. Endless chains are created as people seek to solve problems, get answers, showcase accomplishments, demonstrate progress and keep everyone in the loop. Now Slack is poised to kill these age-old […]

Introducing Jell Reports: The Easy Way to Track Team Progress

One of the most important jobs of a manager is gathering information to better understand what’s happening inside the business. Jell’s been successful at helping teams improve their daily standups, but most companies are still mired in inefficient meetings and email threads — we know there’s a better way. Today we’re taking Jell a giant […]

An Unusual Example of the Power of Positive Feedback from Johnnie Walker

Positive feedback is a powerful thing. It can turn ill-tempered toddlers into angels. It can transform couch potatoes into recreational athletes. It can motivate an underperforming team to achieve lofty goals. But you may be wondering: What does positive feedback really look like? What specific things can you do to keep your staff motivated without […]

How We Jell at Chargify [Interview with Adam Feber]

In our first installment of How We Jell, we talked to Jacob Krall of Fog Creek Software. Today we bring you more communication and collaboration insights from a team leader at another fast-growing company: Chargify… Adam Feber is an inspiration. O.K., so we might be a little biased. We’ve had a relationship with Chargify—first through […]

What the Slack Platform Should Look Like

Slack has an incredible product, mind-blowing growth, and is making big strides to establish itself as a meaningful platform. It’s no surprise to see predictions that $100M+ businesses will be built on the back of the Slack platform this year. I’m confident it’ll happen — I’m a huge fan of the product, and the company […]

The 7 Secrets of Highly Effective Retrospectives

This is a guest post by David Horowitz, CEO of Retrium. He’s going to be running a webinar The Seven Secrets of Highly Effective Retrospectives that will make them more effective for you. It’s on Jan 20th and 11am ET / 2pm PT. Retrospectives. It’s the part of agile and scrum that so many love to hate. […]

3 Slack Tips To Strengthen Team Communication

Gone are the days when you come back to work after a week-long vacation only to find your email’s inbox blown up. Fast forward to now; you log in to your Slack account, and you have dozens of @ mentions, thread replies, and private messages to catch up on. Slack replaced email because of its […]

An Inside Look at Jell’s Branding Design

A long time ago in a startup sort of far away… Jell was grown from a hackday project into an full-blown product with a growing user base. The development team at Formstack was working on it as a side project and piecing together the brand and user experience as they went along. After showing promise, […]

How We Jell at Fog Creek [Interview with Jacob Krall]

If you follow today’s fastest-growing startups, you’ve probably read about Fog Creek Software in coveted media clips like this one from Fast Company. The most impressive part? The company is being featured not only for the success of its software, but also because of the practices and policies behind its development. Fog Creek, where tools […]

How the Wrong Name Cost Our Startup $10,000

We’d launched the minimal viable product about 6 months ago, and after a lot of iteration and hard work, growth was picking up nicely. And then my mom called me: “I had Steve install your app, but he can’t see the team I setup.” Steve had installed the wrong app. And it’d been happening more […]

An Abridged History of Scrum Standups and Agile Project Management

Have you ever wondered where daily scrum standups started? Or why yours are starting to feel more like mindless meetings than productivity-boosters? In this post you’ll get a short history of the daily standup trend—and how to make standups more effective for your team. Today’s standups can be traced back to World War I. Military […]

5 Ways to Improve Work Performance You Haven’t Tried Yet

Do you want to get more done in less time? Are you looking for new ways to improve work performance and reach actionable goals faster? These five unconventional methods may not be the first ideas that come to mind, but they definitely work. 1. Skip the afternoon coffee. And try matcha green tea in its place. […]

How to Set Objectives and Key Results – Free OKR Template

You don’t have to be a billion-dollar company to benefit from OKRs. If you’re new to this strategy and eager to make it work for your team, this is the post for you. We’ll show you how to write objectives and set key results that are smart and actionable. We’ll also give you a cut-and-paste […]

Work Smarter (Not Harder): Help Your Employees with These Simple Tricks

Which would you prefer? An employee who spends 60 hours a week at the office? Or someone who works smarter: accomplishing the same amount of work in just 30 hours? You’d go with the latter, right? When people can achieve goals faster, there’s more time to brainstorm big ideas and go after loftier goals with […]

Meeting Cost: The Financial Value of Productive Meetings

Do you want to make your team more efficient and run productive meetings? Are you looking for easy ways to generate more revenue for your business? Have you evaluated your team meeting cost yet? Making the best of the time people spend in meetings is one of the most important things you can do to […]

Want to Increase Productivity at Work? Here’s What Science Says

Let’s talk about how to increase productivity. Specifically, what science says about it. We were curious to see what research has revealed about the constant quest to get more done and decided to do a little digging. Turns out, we humans are hardwired to develop certain habits that can quietly sabotage our own brains’ productivity […]

The Secret to Running Successful Meetings

Are you worried that your meetings suck? Are you trying to cut back on the amount of time your team spends conversing when they could be producing? Do you want to do better at running successful meetings? Meetings have their place and can be a cornerstone of collaboration. So why do we spend so much time […]

Managing Remote Employees Is Easier when You Quit These Old Habits

Managing remote employees is challenging. Really challenging. You’re often working across different time zones with people you rarely see in work settings that you have very little (if any) control over. There are also countless benefits to be reaped from remote workforces. For example: Remote employees are 20% more productive and almost twice as likely […]

You Know Your Meetings Suck If…

Not a fan of meetings? We know how you feel. Frustrated. Unproductive. Bored. We’ve all been there. Since introducing Jell, things have gotten better around here. Online standups now help get everyone in sync on day-to-day activities. So when we do schedule meetings, it’s to discuss the important issues that will help grow the business […]

How to Work Effectively with Daily Standups

Do you ever feel like everyone’s flying solo? One team member announces she’s launching into Project C while everyone else is still fine-tuning Project A. No one really knows what John is up to and Pete is still finalizing the reports you were anticipating three weeks ago. Make Daily Standups Effective If you spend more […]

How to Use Slack Integrations to Replace Mindless Meetings

Businesses everywhere are working toward eliminating “unproductivity tools” and outdated methods of communication. Endless email chains and mindless meetings are out. All-in-one apps are in. For many growing companies and remote teams, that means two-year-old Slack is playing a major role in day-to-day communications and collaborations. This group chat app has become essential to many […]

Managing Remote Teams: The Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Remember when Microsoft painted this terrifying picture of the future of remote work?  It sent shivers down my spine, especially picturing myself at my own funeral, clutching a Microsoft Surface Pro while my cold, lifeless body lies in state. Joking aside, it’s not a healthy depiction of remote work and in our experience at Jell, […]

The Power of Positive Feedback to Build A Happy Productive Team

What makes for a happy, productive team? Before we answer that, let’s take it back a couple of decades. In the early 1990s, psychologist John Gottman wrote a book based on years of research that definitively answered an elusive question: What is the number one behavioral predictor of a successful marriage? The answer: positive feedback. […]

Are Online Daily Standups Right for Your Team?

I once worked at a company that desperately wanted to be on the cutting edge of creative culture. The strategy for getting everyone on board involved a regular cadence of mandatory meetings. There were meetings to see who could come up with the next “big idea,” lunch meetings to swap “in-the-field” stories and “super fun […]

Concrete Tips for Getting Started with OKRs

By now, you’ve likely heard a lot about OKRs—how Google uses them, how other startups are growing because of them—and are ready to use this goal-setting method at your company. Setting aspirational “objectives” and measuring success with specific “key results” can be a very effective way, especially for startups, to open the channels of communication […]

Don’t Let Remote Work Kill Your Culture Of Camaraderie

Camaraderie in the workplace is impossible to achieve without a fully developed company culture.  True company culture—the kind that’s studied, scrutinized, and shaped into clearly-communicated core values—is what separates a business that stays afloat from one that rides the waves of success. Culture is what divides the Kip Tindells and Shake Shacks of the world […]

Remote Work Stats: 10 Statistics That’ll Change the Way You Think About Working Remotely

If the thought of remote work conjures up images of pajama-clad employees with piles of pizza boxes in the background, it’s time to think again. Studies continue to show that the typical telecommuter is highly experienced and exceptionally engaged—and often more productive than the average in-office employee. Companies committed to remote work share two common […]

Leadership Team Development: How to Get Your Team Back on Track

Leadership team development is hard. When I first started leading the team at Formstack, there was no question as to where we’d all be working: In the office. Every weekday. All day. Then, one week we decided to crack the door of our completely office-based environment and peer into the hallways of remote work. If […]

Committing to Remote Work

In 2008 I had graduated college and accepted a full time role at Gray Matter Technologies*, where I’d become the first remote employee. I had interned with Gray Matter my entire senior year, we had built up enough trust that they were willing to let me continue working for them when I moved 4 hours […]

Making Daily Mtg SMART

My daily mtg were terrible. The format was generally the same — we’d go around the room, with each person telling me what they were working on. Bodie* would rattle off about a dozen things each time, no task too small to describe in detail. Wallace would find creative ways to mention the same task […]

Why Jell?

We launched Jell to the public a couple months ago, and are thrilled by the usage and feedback we’ve received so far. As we look forward to the future of the product, it’s important for us to start by answering a simple question: Why? Jell was created by a small team within Formstack, and we […]