80 Hour Chaos: Lessons from Our Customers

80 Hour Chaos: Lessons from Our Customers

My role at Opal has changed a lot over the years, from writing code as technical co-founder to overseeing our entire product and the team behind it as our VP of Product. When we were just starting up and finding our place in the world, success came down to how much code I could crank out. Process? Not a chance. Methodology? Never gave it a thought. Strategy? Create more time. Tools? The bare minimum. I was willing Opal into existence through raw execution. A lot of it.

If you’re a marketer and broke into a cold sweat reading that, I apologize. From talking to our customers about their life pre-Opal, I know how commonly the chaos they endured mirrors my experience. I know the 80-hour week cycle that keeps you one small step ahead of disaster. I know the desire to bring on more help while simultaneously dreading bringing another soul into “this mess.”

As our team grew and my role shifted, I was finally able to zoom out and focus on fixing the mess. I couldn’t have fathomed spending time “working on working” when we were smaller, but now I realize the massive impact it has. That work led us to implement the necessary process, adopt a real methodology (Agile Scrum), switch to tools designed for our team size and reinforce our commitment to collaboration and communication.

My immediate concern was that this “overhead,” which could be perceived as extra steps, would slow us down and be painful. The reality was that the quality of our work went up, we started making better decisions, everyone was finally on the same page and — you guessed it — our output went up. The team was simply happier too, which further amplified those benefits. While this is all an ongoing effort, it’s amazing to see what can be accomplished by working efficiently and effectively.

Truth be told, I should have taken a hint from our customers much sooner. They’ve realized that producing world-class work isn’t possible in chaos, which is why they use Opal. We purpose-built Opal to bring marketing teams together, help them achieve alignment and work with enough structure and process to stay sane. After implementing that for our team, we’re thriving just like our customers. No more compensating with 80 hour weeks.