Hello lovely design and tech leaders. Either you’re here because we sent you a link or you wandered here of your own accord.
If you have been following along you’ll know that our mission is to help you build an effective skills framework for your team, to help them grow at work. We want to save you a tonne of time and empower your team all at the same time.
If you haven’t done so yet you should check it out and join the waitlist! This post will go into more detail about how this first stage of our launch will work.
We’re aware that some of the below may mean Progression isn’t right for you right now. That’s absolutely fine, but if possible please do still give us feedback via our chat bubble, Twitter or by email so we can learn what you need that you’re not getting.
If you’ve read everything and are ready to go, just let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll set the wheels in motion.
We’ve heard a few of the same questions when talking to people about Progression, the alpha program and how to get involved. Let’s get some of these babies answered!
I’ve been staring at my spreadsheet and dreaming of Gin. Why use Progression?
You’re right. Our research shows that Gin is significantly more fun than spreadsheets. But here’s the point.
Designers are in more demand than ever before, and losing a designer (or engineer, researcher etc.) can cost over 40% of their salary to replace. Your designers, to stay with you, need to feel like they’re valued at the company and growing professionally. You need a way to do that. But we know from experience that setting up and maintaining a progression framework can be pretty soul-destroying.
So what is Progression?
Through personal experience and months of conversations and research, we can see that helping a team to grow requires a couple of things:
- A map: In the form of a well written, objective and granular rubric, to ensure that they don’t need clarification from you to be able to make progress. If they’re left staring at your words wondering ‘what does that really mean?’ they’re not going to be able to make progress autonomously.
- A bike (or scooter, or whatever): A spreadsheet alone isn’t enough. Not even close. Your framework is a product, not a project. The process needs constant love and attention to avoid your hard-won rubric being lost in the sands of Google Drive. That means removing yourself from the process, it means giving people visibility. Otherwise you’re adding to your workload, and none of us need something else on the to-do list.
- Trust: You need to prove, repeatedly, that if people do the things you have asked of them then they will be justly rewarded. Hard to do when some people’s work is more visible than others, and some people are greedy with your time while others never make a fuss. A data layer would help you to be fairer and more systematic with your rewards.
That’s what we want to help you solve.
We want to give you quite literally hundreds of hours back (ever written one of these?) while helping you to empower your team and get them excited about growing at work.
This problem is really hard to solve, but we’re pretty much the only people trying to solve it right now. We would love to have you on the journey with us.
What’s in the Alpha?
As an Alpha team, from day one you’ll have the ability to:
- Use our carefully written content or your own (or a mixture!) to build a detailed interactive progression framework for designers, researchers and content designers. (Non-design team? Keep scrolling)
- Browse our career ladder templates and add them to your team, or build your own from scratch. We can help you decide how many levels you need, or you can recreate your existing spreadsheet of dreams. (we even have some of the well known open source frameworks from progression.fyi set up for you)
- Invite your team, assign them to positions and give them access to the skills they need to grow
- Create public skills to share with the community of teams using the framework.
- Chat to us about the best way to set up your team.
What level of support will I get?
We have a slack channel which we’re on every day. I’m also personally very happy jumping into calls or chats to help set up, and learning is priority number one so we’ll do as much 1–1 as we can. That said, our response times will vary — we don’t have a dedicated support team yet.
How big is the team?
Currently there are two of us working on the product (myself and Neil), with a third (very talented designer and UX instructor Austin) supporting on some offline stuff too. We’re self-funded right now with no immediate plans to raise money, so our focus is on building a product that is really valuable, not growing customers exponentially. With two of us able to ship code and two designers on the team, we should have all bases covered for the short term.
How long is the alpha program?
We think we’ll run this for three months. What that means is we’ll freeze pricing, carefully limit numbers (and even hand-pick teams) and offer a very high-touch service to ensure that you’re succeeding and we’re learning what works and what doesn’t. This timescale may change as we learn.
Can I use it for a non-design team?
Theoretically yes, and if that’s a hard blocker to you using it at all we’ll happily get you going. The library of content is set up best for design disciplines right now though, and we won’t be able to fully support non-design content at this stage so consider that risk.
Can I share my framework publically?
Not at launch, but we have big plans for not only allowing you to share your framework, but use it as a core component of your hiring strategy. We’d love to understand more about what you need, so please do tell us.
I’m on the waitlist but I need this yesterday. Can I jump the queue?
If you’re willing to pay, keen to give good honest feedback and are comfortable using early stage software (with a couple of bugs), then get in touch. For the right teams we’ll happily fast-track you.
Is this an HR tool?
Good question. Short answer: we don’t think so.
Why’s that? Well, when was the last time you enjoyed using an HR tool as a member of a team (not as a manager)? The only way we believe this can work is if everyone is getting value, and typical HR tools are bought with pure efficiency in mind.
Sure the cost may come out of your HR budget and it may be measured on HR-type metrics like retention and satisfaction, but our mission is actually to help designers (and everyone in tech) to grow. Progression should be a positive, empowering tool for everyone in a team, not just something for companies to weaponize. This is heavily reflected in our future roadmap and really excites us.
With that in mind, our perfect customer is whoever runs the design team. If you’re in a ‘people’ team we still like you, but please bring your nearest design leader along with you.
First of all, Brass Tacks.
Pricing for the Progression Alpha is very simple: for the first ten people in your team, we’re charging $39 (£29) per month, total. That’s for every feature and all the support we can provide.
But we’re a big team and it has to be fair!
If you have more than ten on your team, that’s great too. We have pricing plans for larger teams — and several large teams using Progression .
However we don’t want to overwhelm ourselves at this early stage with loads of big teams with complex requirements and we know that your first few days of setting up will be a solo journey anyway. If you love what we’re doing we’ll be only too glad to ramp you up when you’re ready.
Why isn’t it free?
- We can’t afford to not charge — we aren’t raising money and we fully believe in building a business rather than an expensive gamble (for more strong opinions on VC feel free to ask) so starting to charge at this stage is how we can become sustainable.
- Related: We need to know that this is a problem that people want to pay for, and we want to know who those people are. Confusing noise from free users may mean we bark up the wrong proverbial tree!
Will I get grandfathered (keep the same pricing) afterwards?
That’s absolutely the goal — as mentioned above we’re self-funded so we’ll need to ensure that grandfathering is sustainable for us, but regardless, being part of the product this early will offer you lower prices and more access and influence over the roadmap than at any other stage.
Can we cancel if it’s not for us?
Of course. We will try to understand and fix what’s not working for you, but you can leave at any time and we’ll work out a refund if that’s what you want.
We really believe that Progression is the only way to get out from under your spreadsheets and start truly supporting your team’s growth, creating happier more engaged people with better careers. We can’t wait to show you how it works and what we have in store.
That’s it for now! If you have more questions please ask and we’ll give you an answer and add them to this document.