Milestones and Goals

Yesterday we hit a major milestone at SugarSync.  After almost a year of work we shipped the beta version of SugarSync 2.0.  This version represents a complete redesign of the SugarSync app from the ground up.  For more details on the new version you can read Drew Garcia’s blog post or check out the beta page on the website. SugarSync has always been recognized as having the most powerful and flexible product but we needed to make it easier to use.  Our goal was to make the power of the cloud more accessible to non-technical users and I think we’ve done a good job with that.  Early reviews from tech journalists have been very positive and, most importantly, I look forward to hearing from our users.

Particularly when teams work so hard for a long time on a goal and then accomplish it, it is really important to recognize that accomplishment.  We had a small lunch party at the office yesterday and Friday afternoon will take the team offsite for a real celebration.  It seemed prudent to be in the office “day of” in case of issues and it will be fun to let off steam and celebrate on Friday.  We sent a roundup of the reviews to our investors who of course were happy to see the positive feedback – after all this was a big financial as well as human investment.  I was on the phone with one of the board members yesterday on another topic and he commented, “nice reviews, how are the numbers?”  This reminded me of a great post “The Work Begins when the Milestone Ends”.

After all, the SugarSync 2.0 release is the milestone not the goal.  The goal is happy users and the ultimate goal is to build from those users a growing, sustainable business.  Fortunately, and not by accident, the team understands this as well.  We’ve instrumented the app to understand usage and encourage feedback.  The first wrap-up email from our director of product management to the team at the end of the day was about the feedback and what we should do with that feedback and how to get more feedback and then channel that back into product improvements.

This need to recognize the difference between the milestone and the goal is important in our personal lives as well.   As parents we so often focus on grades as the goal but, I believe, they are the milestone.  Education to enable life skills and character are the goal.  Of course, milestones serve a purpose – there is little chance of meeting the goal without meeting a reasonable percentage of the milestones but both effective parenting and effective business leadership require recognition of which is which and striking the right balance of focus.

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