Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

17 commandments of work - my VISION for Nozbe team and Nozbe Teams product.


I’m still in the process of writing the #NoOffice book and I’m at 66% done so far. In the meantime I’m preparing next week’s Nozbe Teams productivity webinar in which I’ll be quoting parts of my Nozbe vision which I mentioned in one of the last team productivity vlogs. Today I’d like to show you the draft of the entire vision of Nozbe in very abbreviated form.

Vision for Nozbe - the Nozbe Teams product we’re building and the Nozbe team I’m leading

When in July, before I took my one month sabbatical to write the #NoOffice book I decided to draft a first version of a vision document for Nozbe - both the team I’m leading and the product I’m building. Paraphrasing Simon Sinek:

People don’t buy WHAT you do they buy WHY you do it!

When I was writing the book, I realized it’s all connected and many parts of my vision are now in the book.

The vision for Nozbe resulted in 17 commandments (apparently I’m no Moses and couldn’t get them down to 10) that impact the way we work and the way we design our app. What goes below is just a draft, it’s not a finished thing, so let me know what you think.

17 Commandments of Work by Nozbe

First off, we believe that:

Work is not a place to go, but a thing that you do.

As a small self-funded team we also believe that small teams can achieve great things in the world.

1. Work is in teams

We believe that very rarely you can achieve amazing things alone, that’s why you need to work in a team of people and you need a great, powerful, fast, easy-to-use and affordable tool to do that - like Nozbe Teams.

As Nozbe team, we are helpful to everyone around us, we support each other, we teach one another and share what we’ve learned to keep improving ourselves. We work together hand in hand!

In our product we enable people to create a team easily, we give our tool for free for up to 5 projects and 5 people, and make it really affordable at $29/month for unlimited projects. And as the team is growing, the upgrade process is completely payless.

2. Work is in tasks

We believe in task-based communication. We believe teams should completely ban email internally and just use shared projects and tasks to communicate and get stuff done together.

As Nozbe team we’re determined to ship features to our users as fast as possible. We’re prepared to make mistakes or change our minds but we’re all about getting tasks done and moving things forward.

Tasks in both Nozbe Personal and Nozbe Teams are the main thing. Tasks need to be done. They must be checked off. Getting tasks done and seeing others get tasks done inspires action. Tasks in Nozbe belong to projects, or even project sections, they can have dates, recurrence and tags. Through our apps we teach people the art of task-based communication.

3. Work is flexible

We believe that a project is any type of activity where there are series of tasks to be done! We also believe modern teams from any industry need a great project management tool that is flexible enough to help them move things forward much better than before.

As Nozbe team we embrace change, we try different projects or tasks and we believe that there’s no right or wrong way of doing things as long as things are written and information is exchanged in an actionable way.

In our product a project can mean different things to different people, it can be a typical project with a clear start and end, or a case, a client, a list of loose tasks… anything a team wants or needs to get their tasks done.

4. Work is focused

We believe that everyone in a team is an expert in their field so they should have the time and space to do their work in a focused way.

As a team we contribute first and respond second. We try to make sure that every day is a great day at work and that we’ve moved something meaningful forward. We respect each other’s time to do their work.

In Nozbe Teams you can delegate a task to someone but they choose if it’s their priority or not. You can choose projects or tasks that you follow, choose your favorite views, you set your own reminders. Incoming view is your command center that empowers you to decide what to do next.

5. Work needs feedback

We believe that good feedback is a key to great work and that a good and healthy discussion helps everyone get on the same page and create a highly coordinated effort.

As a team we take the time needed to write a thoughtful comment. We disagree and commit. We discuss an issue, not a person. We also actively ask for feedback from others to be able to improve our own work.

In Nozbe Teams the comments to tasks are really powerful. We promote thoughtful comments, we let people format them, add attachments, pin comments, mention other people or other tasks or projects easily.

6. Work needs information

We believe that you should be able to make informed decisions. We believe that because most documents require action, they should be made actionable.

In our team we try to be as paperless as possible. All digital, all electronic.

In Nozbe Teams you can easily attach any type of document to a task. Moreover, it’s stored completely encrypted on our servers. Once a project is completed, it’s archived so you can refer back to it at any time.

7. Work is transparent

We believe that teams work best when access to information is as unrestricted as possible. We believe that trust comes ahead of control.

Control is good but trust is so much better.

In our team we calculate salaries based on a formula and we’re moving into a completely transparent organization. Most people have access to most if not all of our team projects.

In Nozbe Teams everyone on the team has access to a new project by default. A manager or admin can restrict this access in Nozbe Teams Premium, but everyone has access is the default.

Most project management tools are built to accommodate the managers. What we’re offering works to empower all team members on all levels to work in a better way.

8. Work is progress

We believe that everyone on the team should be able to figure out what’s going on? easily without interrupting others: how projects are progressing, how people are doing, how things are happening, how tasks are getting done.

As a team we make sure to post progress updates on our tasks as comments. As an all-remote team we prefer to over-communicate than stay silent. We actively seek improvement possibilities.

In Nozbe Teams projects can have project sections to communicate progress. The Activity view also shows what’s happening. We’ve got other ideas for additional features that support this.

9. Work is fun

We believe that work shouldn’t feel like a chore. Work should be fun, playful and colorful. It should reflect your team’s culture.

As a team we communicate with colors, emoji, reactions, GIFs. We try to communicate in visual way with sketches and mind maps.

In Nozbe Teams we’ve got reactions to comments and projects can have different colors. We’re working on extending colors to more objects to make the interface reflect your personality and your team’s culture.

10. Work is time-sensitive

We believe that most tasks can get done whenever the person responsible for them chooses to do them. However, we also believe that some tasks need to have a due date and time. We also believe that most tasks can be done without meetings but only thanks to thorough collaboration in tasks’ comments.

In our team we have just few regular meetings, which are optional. If there’s no agenda and documentation prepared before the meeting, we cancel it.

In Nozbe Teams tasks have due dates, they can be set to be recurring and you can set your own reminders for any task in the system.

11. Work is balanced

We believe that every team member is in charge of their work-life balancing act and the team managers are responsible for helping people not overwork.

As Nozbe team we have completely flexible working ours, encourage long vacations and support after-work activities.

In Nozbe Teams we try to keep the system as quiet as possible with as few notifications as only needed. We’ll be adding new settings to calibrate them for everyone individually in the future.

12. Work is from everywhere

We believe that you should be able to add stuff from anywhere to your trusted system. And this process should be as fast and as seamless as possible.

As a team we put all of our actionable items in our Nozbe Teams account as projects and tasks.

In Nozbe Teams you can set up unique email addresses to add tasks from email to the system, a particular project or even a section of a project. There’s also a share sheet on Android and a similar one is coming to the iPhone soon.

13. Work is efficient

We believe that your team’s tools should do lots of heavy lifting for you. All the mundane tasks should be automated.

As a team we seek improvements everywhere. We use tools to automate workflows and repetitive tasks. We’re a small team so the more we can automate the better.

In Nozbe Teams we’re about to introduce integration with Zapier and later down the line with many other tools and services.

14. Work is modern

We believe that teams of 2020 need modern tools to quickly and efficiently get stuff done and that these tools should be available on all the modern platforms.

As a team we don’t use apps that don’t have great mobile apps. We are also geeks and technology enthusiasts through and through. That’s why I’m #iPadOnly and I upgrade my iPhone every year.

Nozbe Teams is available as a modern and slick web app with great iPhone, iPad and Android apps. We already offer a PWA (Progressive Web App) and we’ll support native clients for Mac and Windows soon.

15. Work is remote

We believe that remote working should be a human right! As a fully-remote team we believe that if you’re not needed on the production plant to physically assemble widgets, you should be able to work remotely.

As a team we’re an all-remote company and it reflects in our book - #NoOffice.

Nozbe Teams is designed with remote teams in mind. It’s designed for asynchronous work and to get to all the information on any device. Our mobile apps are as powerful as the main desktop web app.

16. Work is fast

We believe that speed is a product feature and that a tool that the team uses should work as fast as possible on any device with quick access to all the information thanks to great sync with the cloud.

As a team we always optimize for performance and we have a dedicated performance engineer. We constantly tweak our infrastructure and apps to make them feel fast.

Nozbe Teams unlike many competitors, is an offline-first app. So all the information is synced locally and updates when needed with the cloud. This was a big engineering feat but we believe it’s worth it and our customers will appreciate it. You can be productive even when your Internet connection is spotty.

17. Work is inclusive

Work the most efficient way not only with your team, but with outside world as well. We believe that you shouldn’t use email to collaborate with people. Email is good for exchanging handshakes but for collaborating you should be able to use a tool designed for that.

As a team we use tools to collaborate with others. We share projects in Nozbe Personal with our contractors.

In Nozbe Teams we just introduced a great referral program and we are about to launch new features to enable sharing projects with other teams as well.

This is our vision for the team and product!

The vision is long but I felt like it couldn’t be shorter if we are to embrace all aspects of work. I love it how it reflects on all the aspects of our work.

Now that you’ve read it, please email me or tweet me to let me know what you think! Don’t be a stranger!

17 commandments of work - my VISION for Nozbe team and Nozbe Teams product.

Thursday, September 17, 2020 /17c/