Teamly sets out to create realtime staff performance streams for business

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Roaming the Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt I came across Teamly, a new web app designed to help businesses manage their employees better. Yes, I know that sounds familiar, but what I liked about it was that this was a super, super simple app compared to a lot of the feature-crammed companies out there in this space.

The issue here is that a lot of corporate systems for managing people are really not designed for small businesses. They are just too complex, being packed full of to-do’s, tasks and projects. So Teamly is out to try and makes all that performance monitoring way easier.

Founder Scott Allison, a former MD of telecoms provider abica, developed it based on the experience he had growing his last business quite quickly. The question he asked was, how is it possible to make sure staff are productive and effective and keep on top of deadlines without having to micro-managing them, as many managers end up doing? This tends to lead to a cycle of unhappy staff who feel like they are being watched over their shoulder, and managers who spend too much time managing and not building the business.

So in Teamly’s realtime stream you can see both priorities and goal setting for the individual in the maner of a kind of “real-time appraisal”.

There is already a model for this: U.S. based SuccessFactors has sales $200m in the enterprise space, so Teamly is attacking the mass smaller business market.

In addition Teamly has some similarities with an internal Google tool they use with their staff called Snippets.

Teamly is also poised to open a Bay Area office.

Introduction to Teamly from Teamly on Vimeo.

  • Etrigan

    So instead of micromanaging people in person, you now micromanage them remotely. That is ten times as worse, because now you don’t even have to look them in the eye while you’re sapping the last vestige of happiness out of their lives.

    Creating tasks and monitoring their completion? Jesus, I pity the poor sod who has to keep this tool updated so his boss can monitor his every move. Absolute waste of everybody’s time that could actually be spent working. The only people who would like this are control freaks and God help those that they manage.

    • Sockmoney


      • JoshK

        I’ve been using HiTask ( to do almost exactly what Teamly is proposing, for about a week now. I have 2 artists working for me in my marketing/product team, and generally, they have many small tasks as opposed to one big one, so this helps me keep track of all the tasks and give them quick feedback. It makes it easy for me to see when they’re running out of important projects to work on, and when they’re blocked waiting for my feedback to move on. I also use it for my own task management.

        Good to see some competition in this space! Hopefully that means better products all around.

      • Etrigan

        Dude, no way to sugarcoat this: you are a control freak. Those 2 artists hate working for you. Anybody would hate working for you.

        ‘Waiting for my feedback to move on’. In short, you are a bottleneck slowing them down and restricting their creativity and job satisfaction.

        Guess what. They’d be ten times more productive- and happier- if you just didn’t show up at work for a month.

        They’re adults. They’re capable. They know what their job is, and they want to do it well. Get out of the way, trust and empower them, and you’ll be amazed at the results.

    • Chris

      Etrigan & Sockmonkey – spoken like two people who haven’t had to manage people or priorities before. At some point, the sheer number of things that need to get done are too numerous to keep straight. Not to mention if someone gets sick or quits unexpectedly. Then there’s the problem of, once you’ve got all the priorities laid out, a new batch come in and everything needs to be re-jigged again.

      Working in isolation is easier for the individual but it puts the entire team/organization at risk.

      I’ve been looking for something that is a good balance of providing the necessary information at a glance but isn’t so time-consuming for the individual. I’ll give teamly a try.

      • Sockmoney

        You missed the point. The article states the product allows you to manage your employees without having to micro-manage them.

        This product IS the definition of micro-management.

      • Etrigan


        Micromanagers just don’t get it. No point explaining to them. They just see the world through the lens of their own mistrust of their subordinates and their need to control everything.

        As if the people who work for them are criminals, children and zombies who need to be monitored, directed and controlled for anything to work. The irony is, this kind of behavior is a self-fulfilling prophecy: people who are micromanaged stop thinking, stop showing initiative and stop problem-solving.

    • Chris

      Mike – in the second to last paragraph, you mention a tool called Snippets (a Google product)? I can’t find any info on it… any more details on that?

      • Scott Allison

        Snippets is an internal tool. It’s not a web app, you use it by email. That’s all I know about it!

    • Scott Allison

      Let me try and convince you! First of all, in Teamly only you, the individual, can enter your priorities. No one can assign stuff to you. You are in control. It’s a tool to help you identify what’s important, commit to them and share it. If you get that stuff done you bask in a warm glow of achievement. It’s so much better than working off a never-ending to do list.

      There are discussions and meetings all the time in a company, this is just a way to record stuff and share it. It’s useful for both employee and manager, if for no other reason that quarterly or annual reviews can now be based on some facts.

      Scott, CEO, Teamly

      • Etrigan

        “You are in control. It’s a tool to help you identify what’s important, commit to them and share it. If you get that stuff done you bask in a warm glow of achievement. It’s so much better than working off a never-ending to do list.”

        Condescend much? Every micromanaging boss I ever worked with sounded exactly like you. They think they can tell ME the best way to do my own job or how best to work. Dude. Newsflash: people are different, and everybody knows the workstyle that suits THEM. Don’t tell me what makes me productive or happy. I happen to like to do lists.

        And so what if I put in the tasks myself? I’m just giving my boss something to monitor, which makes me feel pressured because I know I’m being watched 24/7.

        Management best practice is to leave people alone to manage themselves and evaluate them on results, not monitor their tasks. That being said, there are unfortunately many people who will buy your product, so don’t be alarmed: there’s no shortage of soul-crushing, micromanaging control freaks in the world of business. You have a huge market.

      • Adam Helweh


        I think Scott should shift from focusing on “control” to the word “communication”. When communication is open and easy to manage it makes everyone’s life easier.

        I’m sorry that you seem to have had a string of control freaks for bosses, but I don’t think that is what this tool is for and what Scott was trying to elude to although I felt his comment was a bit overplayed.

        Depending on the project and the relationship the manager has with his team (are they newly hired contractors? Long time employees? etc) there can be a need to make sure that clear expectations communicated and shared in a place that can anyone can refer back to them and understand what to focus on. If you want to layer your own system on top of that then that is fine.

        I have been on both ends of this equation and it is unfair to say that any manager who wants to understand where his team is on a project between milestones is a micromanaging control freak. Either extreme is not ideal.

      • http://none Jeff

        You sound lazy.

      • JoshK

        @Scott Allison: Glad to see you participating in this thread. Some feedback from a power-user of To Do Lists, as both a manager and for my own task management:

        1. I was using ToodleDo for a year, and just recently switched to HiTask, for the sole reason that I can assign tasks. In the 10-person company where I work as a marketing director, where there are many small tasks to work on in a day (one brochure here, an update to a web graphic there), tasks were flying back and forth in e-mails, meetings, and face-to-face chats. Now if a task gets dropped by one of my employees, and it’s because I didn’t enter it into HiTask, I have no one to blame but myself.

        2. As mentioned in an earlier comment to this post, this tool lets me create a really simple feedback loop: assign a task, task gets done (re-assigned to me), I take a look at the final product and either approve, or send the task back with comments. It’s a super fast feedback loop.

        3. As compared with some of the other team management software, this was stupid-easy to set up. Over the course of one business day I signed up for a monthly subscription, and I and two people who report to me got productive with the tool. For such a small team, any more investment of time or cost would have been unwarranted.

        Hope this helps, and best of luck!

      • Scott Allison

        Definitely useful, thanks for sharing your experience with those products.

  • Steven Livingstone

    “We” are currently using an excellent Agile tool to capture this kind of thing but often thought something a bit higher level would use useful across the team. Sometimes you just want a list of priorities to know where things are (esp in startup life).

    I like the idea – will sign up. Only thing I’d add is that if if were free for two or three users it would demonstrate the collaboration capabilities more and as the team grows you’d start to pay.

    Trying it out now!

  • Jay

    Why not use basecamp? go for it. Explain.

    • Steven Livingstone

      I know a startup team that used basecamp (internally and with external teams) and not a single person really stuck with it – wasn’t flexible enough for what they needed to do. I haven’t used Basecamp in anger (they have) so going on friends feedback.

      Simple tools for simple tasks.

    • Adam Helweh

      Jay just like Steven said, Basecamp is not flexible enough. We have been using Basecamp for at least 3 years and tried to avoid using the to-dos until recently. One of the features they added over the last year was a way to apply a due date on a to-do. Hard to believe they did not have that before. There is still too much rigidity to the Basecamp to-dos which makes it less than ideal for project managers and teams to fully embrace without the feeling of missing something. Not sure Teamly is the answer though as well.

    • Scott Allison

      Basecamp is great at managing projects, and you can share files, real-time chat, etc.

      Teamly is not designed to do any of that. It’s designed to manage people and their priorities, help create focus, and a record of achievements.

      I think the two could work together.

      Scott, CEO, Teamly

      • Adam Helweh

        Scott I see them as directly related. All of our projects are worked on by people, our team. I am clear that Teamly does not include the file sharing and messaging. Basecamp could use something similar to what your offering. You might try and plug into the Basecamp API and pull projects into Teamly from projects.

      • Scott Allison

        We’ll definitely take a look at the Basecamp API, thanks for mentioning it. Scott

  • Ben Betts

    Cool, I was looking for something along these lines for both my personal use and to help keep track of what’s been accomplished by others. Will certainly sign-up.

    1 question and 1 further comment…

    Got an app in the works? I’d love this on my phone.

    And, have you thought about potentially adding a gaming element to this? Bringing in points for completions, awards/rewards etc… Obviously its open to gaming the system, but within the team environment you might spur some positive competitive behaviour, especially if you were addressing a sales/marketing team who need to complete a number of small and relatively routine tasks each day…

    • Etrigan

      “within the team environment you might spur some positive competitive behaviour”

      Sigh. Google ‘tournament theory’ and read how they make the workplace a miserable place where people compete with their teammates for rewards instead of focusing on excellence. I can’t think of a worse management strategy.

      • Ben Betts

        I didn’t suggest it was a zero-sum game. In order to use and keep using the tool you’re going to need a pull, and a recognition system built from a points / awards basis could spur this. It’s hardly a management strategy unto itself.

    • Scott Allison

      Future plans definitely include mobile. Once we’ve got the core of the web app to a stage we’re happy with we’re going to build out access on other platforms, such as mobile, google apps, outlook plug in and salesforce.

      Gaming… yes, we have thought about it, but no plans at the moment.

      Scott, CEO, Teamly

  • Ethan Herdrick

    I really like this. It’s project visibility without the management. Perfect. I’m going to be recommending it to some managers this week.

  • Francesco Masia

    Well done Scott! I’ll try teamly now :)

  • vile

    vile software

  • Teamly, the performance management tool, exits beta with 100,000 “priorities” logged

    […] where you can see both priorities and goal setting for the individual in the manner of a kind of “real-time appraisal”. To-date, 6,000 individuals in “hundreds of companies world-wide” are using the […]

  • Admin

    Teamly ? He did great work

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