New Activity Stream

Features & Updates Per Fragemann

Today we’re proud to announce another important evolutionary step of Small Improvements. We’re starting to display a proper Activity Stream on the dashboard and on User Profile pages, thus enabling much better ongoing communication, knowledge-sharing and engagement across teams and the whole company.

It will allow users, especially Managers, to get a great overview of what is happening in their team and company. This initial release focuses on the updates to Objectives, Messages, and User Management. We’ll phase in activity updates to Reviews and 360s in October.

Objectives

Our Objectives feature has become really deep and thorough, and the introduction of Key Results in particular has increased it’s usage. One key ingredient was missing, however:  A good overview of what changes. As a manager you’d get an update via mail if your direct report made a change, but there was no convenient place where you could spot updates across the team, or even the company, in realtime.

Enter the activity stream! It makes it really easy to notice when a coworker creates a new objective or ticks off a key result, when your manager changes the completion status of your objective, or when someone comments on your objective. Of course, everyone only gets to see what they are allowed to see —  if a company uses only private objectives then the stream will look sparse.

A company with transparent objectives will see an immediate update in interest in what the team is working on — in fact the new AS will hopefully encourage companies to use objectives more publicly.

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Messages

We already have a dedicated messages page that displays the top level message or note, and allows you to reply and expand existing replies. The challenge with that screen is that new replies are not immediately visible, so it was quite easy to miss a crucial comment. Thanks to the AS the messages don’t feel as separate anymore, and replies are shown better so you can react and/or keep a discussion going.

 

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User Management

The activity stream also showcases updates to users. This is particularly useful if there is more than just one HR admin. You’ll now easily notice when your peer HR admin invites or deactivates users. Naturally this information is only visible to other admins.

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Other changes

To streamline the dashboard we’re removing the messages list from the top-right screen. Given that open todo-items and some admin-dates will appear at the top for admin users on their screen, they will have to scroll a few inches to see the stream itself. Most regular users will see the top of the admin screen immediately.

Outlook and next steps

There are still a few enhancements on our todo-list. We’ll introduce activity items for reviews and 360s in October or November, we’ll make the stream more interactive (“inline replies”, “instant liking”), and we’ll make it easier to follow a custom set of users (“your direct reports, 5 of your peers, plus the CEO and CFO”). Also, we’re currently overhauling the navigation and we’ll soon launch a dedicated “team screen”, where the activity stream will display right in the center.
While there are next steps planned, the new stream has dramatically improved our own internal usage of Small Improvements, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy it too. Also, we feel the dashboard looks a lot more balanced and welcoming with the sidebar-messages removed.

But as always we’d love to hear your feedback! What do you like about the stream, what do you think is missing? Let us know at product@small-improvements.com!