How Startups Use Shortcut to Drive Results
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Product Development

How Startups Use Shortcut to Drive Results

Dana Brown
Sr. Growth & Product Marketing Manager
February 16, 2024

Thousands of startups and teams of all sizes use Shortcut to manage their product development work, so we're always connecting with them to learn what problems they're trying to solve and how we can help. Our conversations with them revealed a need for better strategic planning, leading us to introduce Objectives in Shortcut to connect company goals to work.

We recently talked to Kareem Mayan, Co-Founder of Savio, about how his growing company uses Shortcut to collaborate and drive outcomes. Here's what Kareem had to say:

Tell us about Savio and how it came to be?

Savio is a product management platform for sales-led B2B SaaS companies. We help those teams centralize and prioritize commercially viable feature requests using revenue metrics. We were self-funded for a few years and then raised a seed round from Tiny Seed. This is the third company my business parter, Ryan Stocker, and I co-founded. As product managers at prior jobs - Ryan worked at Microsoft and I worked at ESPN and MySpace - we both experienced the same problem: we needed to triage and prioritize product feedback with an understanding of what features to build that would drive the business forward. We didn't see anyone solving for this problem, so we started Savio in 2019 and all of our teams have been using Shortcut since day 1.

How did Savio find Shortcut and what problem were you looking to solve?

I first found Shortcut before Savio, it was back in 2014 or 2015. I was a CTO for a startup, leading a team that had 8-9 developers but didn't have a dev tool to manage work. In my prior role at ESPN, I brought in a dev tool as a frontline employee, so I really understood the value. At the time Shortcut was very new, but I was impressed immediately with its speed, UX, and usability. I brought Shortcut to Savio and all of our teams use Shortcut to track and manage the work they do.

What was your initial impression of Shortcut and how has that changed over time?

I immediately liked that Shortcut has sensible opinions as a product development tool. Jira, conversely, is a bag of bolts. You can do whatever you want with it, but you have to hammer and duct tape and bend it to your will. We weren't looking for that and we aren't looking for that today. I wanted a dev tool made for development teams, not a general purpose solution like Trello or Asana that you can use as a dev tool. It's highly valuable to have workflows around developing software and the fact that Shortcut had these workflows was a huge factor. 

We're a dev team, so we have to build features. We branch based upon feature name. We write code. We push our code to GitHub. We open up a pull request and the pull request gets merged. Shortcut understands those workflows, so it's perfect for software development teams and has really nice integrations to make issues move forward through the dev workflow automatically. This saves us time, keeps communication up-to-date, and updates the state without having to do a lot of manual work.

You mentioned Shortcut's integrations save you time and reduce manual work, what integrations does your org use?

Shortcut's integrations keeps things updated across all of our tools. The VCS integration with GitHub helps the team be more productive because it makes issues move seamlessly though the dev workflow automatically, based upon a pull request being opened and merged. We also use the Zapier integration and Webhooks, enabling workflows in other tools that are important to us. 

Savio also has our own integration with Shortcut. If we want to know if something was added to a developer's roadmap, we can look in Savio and it's updated. Shortcut updates the status of feature requests inside of Savio as issues get worked on in Shortcut, keeping things updated across all of our tools.

How has your team benefitted from using Shortcut?

Shortcut helps drive alignment around priorities. We like the Kanban view to stack rank work. Most importantly, Shortcut keeps us on the same page about what's important. We're fully remote, so we do a lot of work asynchronously. And we're also not a Slack company, so Shortcut is our source of truth for our project management communications. We would be sunk without it. We try to keep things out of email and into Shortcut to drive the conversations.

Even our non-technical teams use Shortcut. We run marketing projects in Shortcut and because of how easy it is to use, the onboarding process is very straight-forward and they can get up and running quickly.

As a leader in your org, what's the first thing you look at in Shortcut each day?

I don't do individual contributor work as a developer anymore, I'm usually editing other people's work or reviewing, so my #1 priority is making sure I'm not a blocker. First thing I do each day is look for any updates that have questions directed towards me, anywhere I have been mentioned or asked a question. Our development teams move at a very fast pace to ship quickly, so I don't want to be a blocker for anyone.

Our research showed that a lot of our customers already use OKRs to track outcomes. How does your team track objectives today?

That's really one of the things we have been struggling with. Now that our team is growing and we've added some other teams, like marketing, zooming our Epics and the associated Stories all the way up to company-level objectives with Shortcut is extremely valuable. Being able to understand if the work that we're doing is having an impact on top level objectives, like growing traffic, improving conversion rates, or growing revenue will be really useful to help give visibility into whether we're focusing on the right things.

It's insights like these that really drove us to build this new Objectives feature in Shortcut - helping leaders, like Kareem, see how his team's work ties back to their larger company goals. Shortcut empowers teams to execute at a higher level, move faster, and build products that drive better results. Try Shortcut today!

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