How MindMate Stays Mindful of Remote Team Success

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By David Zha

It takes a truly noble cause to inspire three graduate students to put dissertations on hold so they can start a company. For the founders of MindMate, that cause was helping people who suffer from dementia.

The University of Glasgow’s Patrick Renner, Rogelio Arellano, and Susanne Mitschke created an app that empowers those with dementia to live as independently as possible. MindMate comes with cognitive stimulation games, reminder tools, and a “Getting to know me” section where people can save personal information.

MindMate started as a side project. All three founders had a personal experience with dementia. Rogelio’s grandfather, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, had died only the year before. Their passions about the disease turned MindMate into something more important than finishing a thesis.

MindMate is now partnered with every dementia society in the UK and was selected for funding by Techstars 2016. They hired 7 people and opened an office in New York. But something MindMate didn’t anticipate was the challenge of remote communication. To keep their incredible pace of progress, MindMate needed to sort out its issues with remote collaboration.

For Susanne Mitschke, CEO of MindMate, I Done This helps her tackle the problems that come with running a growing remote company.

Out of sync teams

Susanne’s main concern was building a better product. When her remote team had trouble coordinating, it was a real barrier to her goal of improving the app. At university, an in-person chat after class would have sufficed to get everyone on the same page. But now that Susanne had to manage across time zones, she couldn’t just tap someone on the shoulder to find out what they were doing.

I Done This keeps remote teams aligned

I Done This allows users to record what they’ve accomplished for the day on a “done list.” The done list can be accessed through email or the browser app, so teams can stay connected no matter where they are in the world. I Done This gave Susanne better access to her remote team’s day-to-day, and gave her remote team an instant avenue to share with her.
Patrick, MindMate’s COO, found the I Done This Slack integration particularly useful for bridging time zones. Integrating with Slack allows users to post dones right into the messaging app with the /done command, making it even easier for remote teams to communicate.

The accountability problem

With so much to accomplish, Susanne had little time to keep tabs on her team to see what work they had actually completed. Before using I Done This, a team member might say they did the same task 3 times with no way of verifying if this was true. Susanne couldn’t tell if someone worked 40 or 10 hours to finish a project. This wasn’t just a problem with remote teammates either — it was true of those working in the office too.

I Done This reports how work is completed

Susanne found great value in I Done This’s reporting feature. Before, she had trouble keeping track of just one of her employee’s days. But with I Done This’ analytics, she could see how her entire team attacked projects and better guide their direction.
She also went a step further with the done list. Susanne asked her team to not only record what they accomplished, but how long each task took as well. She was no longer in the dark as to how her team approached the work.

The challenge of sustained improvement

Susanne wanted to systematically help her team get better. MindMate had achieved a great deal in a short amount of time. But to stay on its successful trajectory, the company needed to continuously improve. Knowing the importance of small sustainable wins, Susanne wanted a structured approach towards team member improvement. But first, she needed a way to gather performance data to better map their growth.

I Done This tracks your progress

The I Done This Calendar stores all of a user’s done lists over time. Susanne used this feature when she set up monthly performance reviews with team members. She could reflect on a team member’s progress over the course of the month, discuss roadblocks to productivity, and figure out unique ways for them to become better at their jobs.
Susanne also said that I Done This created greater transparency overall which motivated people to work harder than before. When people could share achievements and track their own growth, they were more driven to succeed.

Passion is MindMate’s Key to Success

What we learned from speaking with Susanne is that true passion translates into a brilliant work ethic. In less than two years, Susanne and her partners built MindMate from a grad school competition entry into the world’s leading Alzheimer’s platform. That takes an incredible amount of dedication and shrewd prioritizing. We’re happy I Done This made Susanne’s life easier when it came to managing her remote team.

MindMate’s next goal is to raise $2 million in funding and expand. According to Techstars, 90% of the companies it accepts into the accelerator program go on to reach this target. We think they’ve backed the right horse. We’re confident MindMate will continue to succeed in their mission to make dementia a more manageable disease for patients, families, and caretakers.

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