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Coming soon: Groups, to enable cross-functional teams to collaborate faster, at scale

Victor Wu

Groups in Clubhouse

Our team believes that collections of individuals in a company are a critical component of helping a company ship value to customers and advance their business. Tools and processes are important for an organization, but ultimately individuals collaborating together are responsible for innovation and meeting customer needs. Back in June, we blogged about how we were removing the previous Teams concept in Clubhouse, to help make the concept of Workflows even more clear.

We've since removed Teams, and spent a lot of time, speaking with many Clubhouse users, and thought deeply about how we want to make collaboration first-class inside of Clubhouse.

The first iteration of Groups in Clubhouse

We're excited to share that we are working on a new feature called "Groups" to make collaboration even easier in Clubhouse. Similar to other first-class objects in Clubhouse, Groups are scoped to a Workspace. In our first release, you'll be able to @-mention a Group in a Clubhouse comment (using the Group's @-mention name), which will notify all users who belong to that given Group. Individuals will be allowed to belong to multiple Groups.

Our vision for the first iteration of Groups in Clubhouse

Groups throughout Clubhouse

Going forward, we see Groups as a great way to model cross-functional product-development squads in an organization. This should be especially helpful to software-shipping organizations where product squads are an intrinsically effective structure for advancing business goals.

For example, the "Billing Squad" may consist of 4 engineers (2 backend and 2 frontend), one designer, and one product manager. Since the Billing Squad has its own 2-week time-boxed periods of development, they will associate the Billing Squad with their Iterations in that Workspace, i.e. you will be able to assign a Group to an Iteration. Furthermore, since the Billing Squad is responsible for shipping self-contained units of value to customers, they leverage Epics that have been associated with the Billing Squad too.

Additionally, Groups may also be associated with individual Stories. Group filters will thus be added to the various pages throughout Clubhouse (similar to other objects), enabling folks to quickly zoom in on work relevant to a given Group.

Groups throughout Clubhouse will come in 2020, after the initial release.

Departments vs cross-functional squads

We also recognize that not all companies are organized as cross-functional squads. Some companies may scope work along department lines, such as the Engineering department and the Marketing department.

If your organization is a bit larger, it's likely work is split across cross-functional, and product-driven, while others will be department driven. We think that Groups should be flexible also to support these different scenarios and having a Group represent the Design department would make a lot of sense. So for example, Connie would belong to both the Engagement product squad, as well as the Design department, both of which would be represented by two different Groups in the same Workspace.

What about Projects?

Projects have been part of Clubhouse from the beginning, as a way to categorize work within a Workflow.

Over time, a good number of customers naturally gravitate toward using Projects in Clubhouse to represent collections of people, both departments or cross-functional squads. We're focused on leveraging Groups going forward to represent collections of people, especially with their unique functionality of group membership.

We recognize that Projects do have many capabilities that many existing customers find very useful, especially with regard to organizing people. In the coming weeks and months, we'll continue to study Projects more closely, interviewing many of you on how you use them currently and how you want to use them going forward, and steer this feature toward a vision that helps teams collaborate and ship quality software, faster.

Should you change how you are using Projects? No, not at all! We continue to encourage customers to leverage Projects as they see fit within their Organization. Within Clubhouse, we use Projects to categorize Product Components within the Engineering Workflow, and Feature Areas within the Feature Request Workflow. This is the power of Projects - they are a flexible and custom dimension within Clubhouse.

We view Groups as a way to expand upon Clubhouse's multi-dimensionality. As we continue to build out features for Groups, we will listen to your feedback to ensure that the recommended divides and overlap between Projects and Groups are clear.

Let us know how you want to use Groups!

To recap, we're currently working on Groups (and group membership) within a Workspace and the @-mention functionality as a first release. We think this sets up a great foundation for continual improvements to bring the Groups to different parts of Clubhouse.

We would love to get your feedback on our ideas and designs for Groups designs, our take on Projects, or any other related concepts. Please reach out to us at victor@clubhouse.io, tweet @clubhouse / @victorwuky, or join our Slack community.

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