Project 5: Team 2.0: closing report

This project is to extend two existing contracts, create two new positions based on new needs and priorities, and allow us to bring in more interns. In short, it’s a team refinement.

General report-back

This project set out to extend or create positions on the Paperight team:

  • Content Manager (Tarryn’s contract extended)
  • Communications Manager (Nick’s contract extended)
  • Office manager/bookkeeper (new position)
  • Outlet development manager (new position, modified from existing outlet relations manager)
  • Interns (new, two per month)

Extending Nick and Tarryn’s contracts has been an unmitigated success. They’ve continued to produce superb work and to lead thinking in the Paperight team.

For our office manager we hired Dezre Little, who within a few months we gave the broader title of financial manager. Dezre is an incredible member of the team, keeping our finances super organised, driving the process of identifying and appying for awards and funding opportunities, and keeping the office ship shape.

The role of outlet development manager went to Yazeed Peters, who’d been on contract as an Outlets Manager for five months previously. Yazeed has gone from strength to strength, leading the development especially of our relationships with the Jetline and Minuteman Press chains, and establishing our model for bulk school purchasing and book sponsorship.

Our internship model has brought us three more amazing team members: Philippa Dewey as a second Content Manager, Oscar Masinyana, now Reading Communities Manager, and Marie-Louise Rouget, now Marketing Coordinator.

Objectives achieved

Our objectives were:

  • new team structure more effective and streamlined
  • continue building on strengths (such as Tarryn’s impressive content-prep systems, and Nick’s fine design and media work)
  • new approaches to outlet development
  • office manager frees up staff, especially Arthur, from admin to focus their energies on their core responsibilities

These objectives were all achieved.

Objectives not achieved

None.

Measures of success

Before: “We expect to see faster, more focused strategic decisions being made regarding outlets (growth of outlets and use of Paperight by existing outlets). Paperwork and admin will be up to date (nothing should lie unattended for more than a week).”

After: This has been achieved.

Before: “We would like to also see a twofold increase in outlet rate of growth and rate of conversion to paid use of Paperight from late September.”

After: The stats below show that we more than exceeded our targets, but it took more than four months (we didn’t set a timeframe for our measures of success). Note: two outliers do affect the figures: the registration of forty Jetline stores as a chain in June 2012 skews the outlet registrations in May to August 2012; and a single large bulk sale of books in March 2013 has a large effect on the average revenue for January to April.

May to August 2012 (before):

  • Sales per month: $12.83
  • Outlet registrations per month: 31.75 (spike when entire Jetline chain registered at once)
  • Number of outlets starting to download paid books: 5 (average 1.25 per month)

September to December 2012 (immediately after):

  • Sales per month: $22.45
  • Outlet registrations per month: 3.25
  • Number of outlets starting to download paid books: 3 (average 0.75 per month)

January to April 2013 (longer after):

  • Sales per month: $78.23
  • Outlet registrations per month: 11
  • Number of outlets starting to download paid books: 13 (average 3.1 per month)

Before: “We would love to see, in addition, that this team can handle all customer support queries that come in.”

After: Achieved easily.

Budget

Original budget: R206500

Actual spend: R200681.87

Returned to pool: R5818.13

Item Budget Actual Return to Pool Comments
Content Manager 48000 48374.34 -374.24 PAYE and UIF
Communications Manager 42000 42374.45 -374.35 PAYE and UIF
Outlet Development Manager 42000 42374.45 -374.35 PAYE and UIF
Office Manager/Bookkeeper 42000 42374.34 -374.24 PAYE and UIF
Job Advertising 1000 0 1000
Laptops for ODM, OMB, Comms Manager 19500 18878.40 621.70
Interns 12000 6306 5694.10
TOTAL 206500 201595.87 5818.13

 

Outputs and deliverables

Pitched Report
A new team structure and core job descriptions will be formalised. Done. Areas of functional authority are kept for each team member on the Paperight wiki. Team members have reporting lines, which are intended to define ‘job coach’ relationships rather than task-based managerial relationships.
IP creation is minimal: contracts, job ads. Done.
Team members will create IP including strategy docs and project plans, internal admin docs, media and PR docs, designs in posters, flyers, website elements, etc. Ongoing. IP created is stored in our shared Dropbox folders, in Google Docs (paperight.com Google Apps accounts), and on our wiki, blog, and social media accounts.

 

Learnings

Paperight’s tightly knit, hard-working and productive team is the result of a careful choice of purpose-driven young people, and a supportive environment. As CEO, Arthur reads voraciously on management, and brings this learning to the team as constant, open experiments in running a team and building a business around that.

Exit/Sustainability/Viability

The team salaries will continue to be supported largely by Foundation funding while we worked towards self-sustainability in early 2015.

Conclusion

We have an excellent team that is continuing to grow in numbers and strength. This team spirit is self-sustaining in the way that a marriage is: as long as its members are willing to put in the work, every member of the team can contribute and be fulfilled doing do.

Next steps

The team is growing, so this is the first of a series of team-building projects at Paperight.

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