ATBA-UK Team Meeting

We had a really good (and long) team meeting to talk about how things have gone over the past year and plan for next year.

Review of 2016

Instructor training has gone well this year, better than expected in fact. Without any real push it has provided enough income to keep the ATBA-UK afloat regardless of any other income. It’s also shown where the target market is so it’s definitely something I’d like to expand on next year.

UK Championship 16 went really well too. Having just one comp was a risk and very much a test of how the community would respond. We didn’t do a great deal of development/improvement work for it so that it would be a blank sheet of paper test, and we’ve done a lot of issue tracking and feedback surveys so that we know what to work on improving for next year.

Planning for 2017

We started planning for the UK Championship 2017, deciding what to spend money on, which priorities to focus on, and who is going to do what. This is just the start but it’s an important part of making the UKC17 as good as it can be.

We also talked about the history of the ATBA-UK and some of the controversy, mistakes made, lessons learned, and how it is that we are where we are today. It made me think that maybe I should try writing it all down.

Week Notes #6

What happened this week…

  • Wrote a presentation for the Heads of Fundraising about why and how we should work more together.
  • Started planning the rollout of Trustpilot reviews for Online Shop customers.
  • Customer Segment Analysis.
  • Designed the first Christmas cards marketing email.
  • The job advert for an Ecommerce Executive went live.
  • Met with the Corporate Team to talk about marketing Christmas cards.
  • Experimented with Slack and Google Calendar integrations to build a marketing plan workflow.

Read this week…

Doing next week…

  • Launching Heartfelt for pre-order.
  • Not presenting to the Heads of Fundraising (the meeting was cancelled).
  • More customer segmentation work.
  • Sending our first Christmas cards marketing email.
  • Reviewing logistics process mapping.
  • Talking about selling Blood Pressure Monitors.
  • Preparing for the next Ecommerce Monthly Management Meeting.

Interesting stat of the week…

  • A year ago the largest age group of customers was 45 – 54 at 27%, but now the largest age group is 35 – 44 at 33%, so we’re getting younger customers.

In the not too distant future….

  • Interviewing for the Ecommerce Executive role.

Recruiting an Ecommerce Executive

Today, the job advert for an Ecommerce Executive at the BHF was posted.

It feels like a big step for the Ecommerce business, and for me. It’s a new role, and quite a broad one to enable us to tailor the work and responsibilities to the skills of the best candidate.

The creation of this new role shows some commitment from the organisation to support the growth of the Ecommerce business, and there’s certainly plenty of work to be done.

It is also a new thing for me. This will be the first time I’ve recruited a direct report and line managed someone in this way.

Another person on the team seems like it should reduce my workload but I know in fact it will increase it. The benefits come from us being able to achieve more quickly our plans for growing the business and delivering projects. It also gives me a lot to do in designing the induction programme, deciding on the approach to managing this person (1-2-1’s Objectives, etc.), and how I integrate them into Ecommerce at the BHF.

It’s going to be an interesting few months.

Week Notes #5

What happened this week…

  • Wrote up last week’s Ecommerce Working Group meeting
  • Cost analysis on data licenses and delivery charges
  • Started working on a Project Prioritisation framework
  • Did some best practice comparison with our work experience student
  • Answered some interesting customer service queries

Read this week…

Doing next week…

  • Doing more setup work for our first steps into multi-channel international selling.
  • Finalising the Heartfelt marketing plan
  • Promoting the new Ecommerce Executive role
  • Preparing for presenting to the Heads of Fundraising
  • Designing lots of emails for Christmas Cards, Heartfelt and Manchester to Brighton Bike Ride.
  • Working with the Corporate Team to promote Christmas Cards to our corporate partners.

Interesting stat of the week…

  • The Donation Place Cards have the highest Average Quantity per Order at 76. Must be a few supporters having autumn weddings.

In the not too distant future….

  • Customer Segment dashboards with combined data from multiple sources

Why the A-team never lost, or how to be a great team and do good work.

My name is Roger… and I have a hero complex.

But what else would you expect of me? I grew up in the eighties watching Airwolf, MacGyver and The A Team.

For me, TV was all about Airwolf and it’s main character Stringfellow Hawk, the brooding loner Vietnam vet who stole the super-copter from the CIA so they couldn’t use for morally-questionable missions, MacGyver, the a pacifist creative problem who went on secret missions to rescue people who had gotten themselves in trouble, and, best of all, the A Team, four ex-Green Berets who were accused of a crime they didn’t commit and promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground where they survived as soldiers of fortune. If you had a problem, if no one else could help, and if you could find them, maybe you can hire the A Team.

The A team were the best. Every Saturday afternoon they would go up against some drug-smuggling Central American dictator or nasty land-owner who was forcing the people of a nearby town to leave their homes, and every Saturday that team of four friends and comrades-at-arms would win. They never lost.

Now, the cynics among you might stay that they always won because the show was about them, but my hero worship won’t allow for cynicism. I choose to believe that the A Team always won because they had a few special qualities.

The A Team had values, they had a mission. They wanted to help people, to use their special skills in service of the ordinary people who couldn’t fight for themselves. Teams need a mission to get behind, a cause to fight for. They need to have shared ambitions and goals.

The A Team had diversity. Although from not the most politically-correct decade, they had a black guy, a man with mental health issues, and a serial philanderer with commitment issues. But they accepted each other. These different personality types didn’t always get on, but each having their strengths and weaknesses they knew they were better as a team. Every team needs diversity. Diversity of opinion and experience, of approach and of skills are essential for a great team.

They had a strong leader. Colonel John ‘Hannibal’ Smith always had a plan. Hannibal knew his team members strengths and he knew how to get the best from them. The team could always rely on him to get them into trouble, and to guide them to work together to solve whatever problems they faced. He loved it when a plan came together.

Creativity and ingenuity
The A Team had creativity and ingenuity. They could be locked in a shed, surrounded by gun-toting bad guys, but they would always be able to build a tank out of a school bus and flamethrower out of a drain pipe. Being able to be creative, find new ways to solve problems and different ways to do things is important for a team to feel in control of itself.

The A Team had values, diversity, leadership, and creativity. They were a good team. That is why the A team never lost, or, if you apply it to real life, that is what you need in a great team and to do good work.

And yes, everything I know about life I learned from eighties TV.

Running route planner app

An idea for an app for runners: It asks how far you want to run, e.g. A marathon, over how many days, e.g. 30, and then plots a circular route on Google Maps for that distance. And if you miss a run it would spread that missed distance out over the remaining days. It could even allocate the distance to be run each day on a curve so that you start with a smaller distance and go further each day and by the end of the time period you’ve covered the total distance.

Week Notes #4

What happened this week…

  • Getting ready for the launch of Heartfelt.
  • Visited Channel 4 to learn about advertising on TV and VOD.
  • Ecommerce Monthly Management Meeting to prepare for the EWG.
  • Ecommerce Working Group meeting to review project progress and refine the strategy for growth.

Read this week…

Feedback on the Passport Application Service

I needed to renew my passport, so I went to the Passport Application Service website.

Feedback on the Passport Application Service

It wasn’t a great digital experience, but luckily, there were asking for feedback:

  • The first page should be clear that if the user doesn’t send their form within 90 days their application will be cancelled and they won’t receive a refund.
  • The address lookup covers the entire page causing anxiety that the previously entered details will be lost. Perhaps the addresses for selection could be displayed on the right half the page.
  • Phone number wasn’t marked as a required field but when I didn’t put my phone number in, the site then generated a message asking for it. If it’s required, just make it required.
  • Having to press the ‘Recalculate’ button to add or remove a paid-for service is awkward.
  • Having recalculated the total, the success message is in red text which should be reserved for warnings/errors. Use green for success.
  • The captcha verification page asks the user to enter a number in an image, but it doesn’t explain why this is needed, it’s just another step to go through.
  • The last page features a ‘Print declaration’ button, is misleading as it doesn’t actually print, it downloads the blank application form. At least it’s digital enough to have included my personal details on the form rather than asking me to write them on the form.
  • Having created an account as part of the application process and signed me in, the site doesn’t tell me whether I’m logged in or not, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to log out.