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…

Growing the team and creating our very first V2MOM documents


Two weeks ago, together with my CTO, we organized a Nozbe developer-team meeting in a beautiful Polish city of Wroclaw. All of our developers drove in, I flew in and for two full days we geeked out. We worked a lot, had a few beers and bonded together again. We normally don’t see each other all that often as all of us work from home so it was a good time to spend some quality time together. In this post I’d like to share with you one aspect of this meeting - we created our very first V2MOM documents. What’s a V2MOM? Glad you ask, let me tell you all about it:

Growing the team and creating our very first V2MOM documents

Before I dig into details, let me get back a little. A few months ago I had a great meeting with a good friend and one of my mentors, Mariusz, who is already running a very successful Internet company (and a lot bigger than mine). We talked about team-building and how to maintain focus and make sure the team feels like “one vehicle driving in one direction” and everyone knows they have a big role to play and depend on each other. He suggested I read the “Behind the Cloud” book by Marc Benioff and implemented the V2MOM system Marc invented. I was like “V2what?” and he explained:

V2MOM stands for Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles and Measures

In short, as Marc Benioff puts it:

The vision helped us define what we wanted to do. The values established what was most important about that vision; it set the principles and beliefs that guided it (in priority). The methods illustrated how we would get the job done by outlining the actions and the steps that everyone needed to take. The obstacles identified the challenges, problems, and issues we would have to overcome to achieve our vision. Finally, the measures specified the actual result we aimed to achieve; often this was defined as a numerical outcome.

Everyone in the company needs a V2MOM

Mariusz said that not only my company needs a V2MOM but also each department in my company needs one and later every employee must have a V2MOM. All V2MOMs have to be created in that order: Company V2MOM, then each department’s V2MOMs that logically are derived from the company’s V2MOM and then each person V2MOMs are derived from the each department’s document. The CEO (that’s me) is responsible for the company’s V2MOM and each department’s head is responsible for their department’s V2MOM and later each person is responsible for their own V2MOM. Easy, right?

Creating a V2MOM takes time

Before the development meeting on Monday, we met with my CTO on Sunday and perfected Nozbe’s V2MOM and later focused on creating his “Developer Team’s V2MOM”. It wasn’t easy at first. We mixed Values with Methods a lot, we didn’t know what to put in Measures and were confused at times… but finally we crafted our documents. Next day when all the developers came for the meeting, we discussed the V2MOM with them, perfected their team’s document and went ahead to create a V2MOM for one of the guys.

Again, creating a “personal V2MOM” for one of the developers wasn’t easy and we were not always sure what to put and where… but it was a great exercise to do together. This way everyone understood the concept of V2MOM a lot better and got the significance of it.

V2MOM is not a corporate policy… or a wishful thinking document

The cool thing about a V2MOM is a fact that at first it might look like this “phoney corporate policy” but in the end it’s not. It’s a document that really states what you want to achieve in the coming months, why you want all that and how you want to get there…

It’s a living document. Mariusz said to create one for 3 months. We initially created V2MOM’s until the end of 2013 with a periodic revision at the end of September. Next year, when we get the hang of it, we’ll adhere to the 3-month cycyles with our V2MOMs.

Finally, V2MOM is not just “wishful thinking” - it’s not a compilation of unrealistic goals you set out to achieve and never actually do. V2MOM is a realistic document presenting the whole thing not only the “what” (Vision) but also the “why” (Values), “why not” (Obstacles) and “how” (Methods), and “how much” (Measures). This is what I like about it :-)

V2MOM should fit on a single piece of paper

This is the tricky part. Especially when I did the V2MOM for our Marketing department, it got big… I mean, 2-pages big. I need to work on it more with my VP of Marketing (who I haven’t hired yet). Anyway, the V2MOM should be short, sweet and to the point.

Everyone on my team is getting a V2MOM

As explained above, everyone on my team will have one. The department heads have done theirs and now they are working with everyone to create their personalized V2MOMs. They have the time until the end of August. We’ll post our V2MOMs inside my company for everyone to see. It’s an additional benefit - nobody will ask anymore “What is this guy actually doing in our company?” - one glance at their V2MOM and they’ll know. Gives a great level of transparency for the team.

So far so good, I’ll report at the end of the year.

I have my mentor Mariusz to thank for the idea of implementing the V2MOM in my company and my other mentor, Wiktor for encouragement as he’s also implementing V2MOM in his company and gave me the much-needed kick in the rear to actually start with V2MOM finally. And most of all, my team, who embraced the idea and so far did a fantastic job creating their V2MOMs - now watch out as Nozbe is going to be making waves this Fall as we want to prove now that our time spent creating V2MOMs wasn’t wasted and these documents will help each and every one of us deliver a fantastic productivity app for you :-)

Question: Have you heard about V2MOM before? Have you tried creating one for yourself or your company?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 /v2mom/