So how do we stay on track with completing that billable work? We have written before on our autonomous team structure and how we rely on the teams to be responsible for managing their own projects. Over the years we’ve evolved how the teams work, and one critical thing we’ve learned is that we can’t make this autonomous model financially sustainable without equipping everyone on the team with the information to make good decisions. In order to do that, we have evolved a few key rituals around sharing financial information.
When we hold our quarterly State of P’unk meetings, we set aside time to focus on the big picture financials. As part of this, everyone on the team sits down to look closely at the answers to the following questions:
We have been evolving the metrics that we track and present to the team, always trying to keep the right balance of detail and accessibility. We use QuickBooks Online to manage invoicing and track financials, a massive Google Docs spreadsheet that helps us estimate revenues for active and upcoming projects, and Numbers and Keynote to pull everything together and make the data digestible and clear.
The answers to these questions serve to paint a picture of the coming months and help us set and communicate financial goals for the teams to work towards.
The majority of the projects that we work on at P’unk Ave are for a flat fee. In these cases, we get paid when we reach certain milestones in the process: receiving design approval for a set of templates, training a client team on the CMS, launching a website, etc. First, our teams set the schedules for the projects they are responsible for. Then, we build our revenue projections for the overall company by mapping all project milestones and their associated fees out over time. When things go as planned, the total projected fees for the work we all expect to complete in a given month should meet or exceed our total monthly expenses.
We know things are really firing on all cylinders when the total amount that we invoice in a month actually meets what we had projected for it. To stay on track with that, we started sending out a monthly message to the team that summarizes what we are expecting to complete that month and shares the financial implications: “Here are the milestones we are targeting for this month. Here is the total amount we hope to invoice by completing these milestones.” This ritual is an opportunity for the teams to strengthen their commitment to the work they are responsible for and helps each person understand how his or her individual productivity directly impacts the cash flow of the company.
Why go to such trouble to design a system around sharing this information with the entire company? One of the core values of P’unk Avenue is autonomy. We believe that in the right environment, and equipped with the right information, it is the individuals on the teams that have the best ability to make important decisions about their projects and their own time management. These decisions include:
Sharing the financial pulse of P’unk Avenue with our team members makes it possible for them to have this autonomy without losing sight of the bottom line.