Another Y Combinator startup, ididwork, announced its launch yesterday. In short, the web-based service lets employees keep record of work they have completed. Employees can then submit a weekly or monthly report to their manager in the form of a chart, graph, or simple summary, and receive feedback through the system. The service is designed to drive performance reviews, eliminating the need for status meetings, and allowing employees to be evaluated based on concrete information rather than a manager’s impressions.
What differentiates the service from the many performance monitoring platforms out there is that the managers don’t have to participate. It is designed to be useful solely from the employee’s perspective, letting them track their own progress and analyze trends over time. The service does not have to serve the enterprise, but rather can spread amongst individual users. Employees can decide to forward performance breakdowns to managers, who then have the option of joining the network. There is clearly a viral aspect to the service that could make it work, but it is dependent on how necessary employees find it to record their own progress, and how informative it can really be.
The idea seems simple but it tackles a big problem: it is difficult to judge productivity in big companies. In employee reviews managers often have very little idea of what an employee has done, which leads them to make judgments based on behavior that seems productive; like staying late everyday, or sending out company wide emails at three in morning. It also gives employees an idea of what their associates are working on with a news feed, eliminating the need for status meetings.
As far as competition goes, there are many similar services but not many that follow the same model. There are work logging services, but they focus on billable hours, and there are many performance review platforms, but these target HR departments rather than individual employees. 37 Signals‘ BackPack has some similarities, but it is more suited for coordinating operations within a group rather than tracking individual performance.
The founders plan on eventually charging employers after the service takes off, allowing early adopters to continue using it free of charge. To expand, the service plans on integrating desktop widgets and customizing performance breakdown charts in the distant future.
The founders of ididwork previously started Expensr, which was bought by MyStrands. Prior to that, they worked in large consulting companies where they derived the idea for their newest project.