Emily Bonnie, Author at Blog Wrike
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Emily Bonnie

Emily Bonnie

Emily is a content marketer at Wrike, where she writes about leadership, collaboration, and productivity. Her brain is stuffed with obscure grammar rules, an embarrassing amount of Star Wars trivia, and her grandmother’s pie recipes.
If You're Not Using OKRs for Quarterly Planning, Stop and Read This
Leadership 10 min read

If You're Not Using OKRs for Quarterly Planning, Stop and Read This

It’s that time again: You're capping off a successful year and reflecting on everything you've accomplished in the past twelve months. But it’s not only a time to look back; it’s a time to look ahead. What do you want to accomplish in the coming year, and what’s the best way to go about it?  Many leading companies tout OKRs for successful annual and quarterly planning; in fact, Google credits the process with fueling their exponential growth and success. Even if you’ve heard of OKRs, you may be curious about the details. This overview explains the basics of the method, shows you how to set OKRs, and covers the details you need to start putting it into practice.  “What are OKRs, anyway?” OKR, which stands for objectives and key results, is a planning and goal-setting technique made famous by Intel and Google. OKRs represent aggressive goals and define the measurable steps you’ll take towards achieving those goals. They're typically used to set quarterly goals, but can also be used for annual planning.  OKRs are set at company, team, and individual levels. Here’s a set of OKR examples:  Company OKR 1:Objective: Become the #1 most-downloaded iOS productivity app— Key Result 1: Conduct a survey to identify the ten most-requested features and launch five of the top most-requested features by Nov 15— Key Result 2: Conduct ten user tests to identify UX issues— Key Result 3: Show at least 50% improvement in satisfaction with UX (via customer survey)— Key Result 4: Earn 200 five-star ratings by Dec 31 Company OKR 2:Objective: Increase brand recognition and awareness— Key Result 1: Increase media engagement by 20%— Key Result 2: Launch customer referral program by September 1— Key Result 3: Extend social media reach and visibility to two new target markets— Key Result 4: Expand thought leadership program by placing guest articles on four industry-related sites with an Alexa ranking of at least 30,000 Marketing Team OKR:Objective: Increase social media engagement by 35%— Key Result 1: Research and identify three most popular social media sites among two new target audiences and develop an engagement strategy by September 1— Key Result 2: Participate in six Twitter chats involving industry leaders— Key Result 3: Respond to new Facebook comments within three hours— Key Result 4: Increase the number of followers on Facebook and Twitter by 20% Individual OKR:Objective: Increase the number of social media connections by 25%— Key Result 1: Increase posting frequency on Twitter to 8x daily and Facebook to 3x daily— Key Result 2: Establish social media presence on two new sites, LinkedIn and Quora— Key Result 3: Join five LinkedIn groups with at least 2,500 members each and leave comments on the ten most popular discussions in each group— Key Result 4: Gain 15 followers on Quora by posting three answers and one question every week As you can see in these marketing OKR examples, company OKRs focus on big-picture goals, team OKRs define priorities for each department, and personal OKRs pinpoint what an individual will be working on. You’ll have multiple OKRs at each level, but no more than five objectives with four key results each. Otherwise, you’ll stretch yourself too thin and won’t be able to make much of an impact on any of them.  Although OKRs are created at these three different levels, they all should connect and support each other. The individual’s goals should reflect team goals, team goals should reflect department goals, and department goals should reflect company goals. That way, every individual effort furthers a collective vision and contributes to what will yield the most significant results for the company.  It’s important to note that OKRs are not meant for annual review purposes or for evaluating employee performance. They’re ambitious targets meant to push employees and the company as a whole forward. If you set an aggressive goal and don't meet it, you aren't punished for it, nor are bonuses given out for meeting or exceeding OKRs. Build a culture where people can be bold and take risks without fearing the consequences and aren't tempted to play it safe for short-term rewards.  OKRs can be useful as references for employees, since they'll always have a concise summary of exactly what they’ve accomplished in the last quarter/year, backed up with hard data, to quantify their contributions to the company.  OKRs must be:  1. Ambitious. If you’re always meeting or exceeding your high-level team or company goals, you’re not reaching far enough. Your OKRs should make you a little uneasy in that you’re not entirely confident you’ll be able to meet them. Remember, these aren’t goals that you’ll be held to for evaluation or promotion purposes, they’re goals that are meant to stretch you and grow the company. So think big. Personal OKRs can be more conservative — include a few lofty goals to push yourself to excel, but ensure most are achievable.  2. Measurable. “Increase the number of registered users by 25%,” not, “Get more users.” Every Key Result needs to have a number attached to it, whether that's a percentage, a dollar amount, or a due date.  3. Public. The entire company should be able to see your OKRs, not just managers or executives. Visibility and accountability promote collaboration between individuals and departments since everyone knows what everyone else is working on and towards. 4. Graded. At the end of the quarter (or year), give yourself a grade for each key result, where 0 is “Didn’t even come close” and 1 is “met or exceeded every aspect.” (Because OKRs are meant to be aggressive goals, a 0.6 or 0.7 is an admirable score. More on grading a bit later.) “Why should I bother with OKRs?” What are the benefits of OKRs? Why choose this technique over other planning methods?  For one, OKRs promote disciplined, focused thinking. Every business decision is made with this question in mind: Will this get us closer to our objective, yes or no? Second, OKRs establish clear standards for measuring progress. Since everything is based on numbers and quantified data, you can accurately measure how far you’ve come towards reaching your goals and how far you have to go in a tangible and exact way.  In addition, the fact that OKRs are public brings improved transparency and more accurate communication because everyone understands the specifics of what others are working on instead of relying on an assumed or incomplete knowledge of another team’s goals.  Finally, efforts are more centralized and collaborative. Everyone knows what the top priorities are, how their work contributes, and how they can align with other teams for powerful joint efforts.  “How do I grade myself?” This is important, so first things first: Grades don’t matter except to indicate whether you should keep pursuing your objectives or need to redirect your efforts. Focus on working towards your OKRs, not on your grades. When it comes to your OKR performance evaluation, stick to the numbers. If your OKR is to “increase the number of users logging in at least 3x a week by 30%” and you managed to increase it by 15%, give yourself a score of 0.5. You can average your key results grades into a total Objective score, and if you like, you can average all of your Objective scores to see your overall grade for the quarter/year.  According to Google, failing to meet your OKR goals is better than overshooting them by a wide margin. If your company or team is always scoring 1s across the board, your high-level OKRs aren't ambitious enough. It's better to set a challenging goal than play it safe! Shoot for the moon, and be satisfied with hitting at least 60-70% of your goal.  A low score isn’t a failure. It’s a sign you need to re-evaluate whether the objective is still worth pursuing or rethink your approach. Should you focus your efforts elsewhere? What have you learned? Can you figure out a different way of doing things? Scores benefit everyone by showing you what not to do, what to do differently, and what to continue doing more of.  “What does the OKR process look like?”  One quality that sets OKRs apart from most other planning strategies is the fact that goals aren’t simply dictated from the executive level down. The OKR process should reflect circular discussions among employees and managers, where at least 60% of the company’s goals are bottom-up.  To reflect this idea, each employee is asked to submit OKRs they think the department should prioritize. A staff meeting is held to collectively develop team objectives and align them with company goals.  Employees then set individual OKRs that reflect and support larger company and team goals, and meet with their managers to discuss what they want to work on in the upcoming quarter and what they believe is the best use of their time. During this discussion, the employee and manager develop and negotiate the specifics of each OKR.  Teams, managers, and employees often hold a mid-quarter check-up meeting to share progress and make any adjustments. Annual OKRs in particular needn’t be set in stone: If you’ve discovered that the assumptions you made last year aren’t accurate, there's no need to stubbornly stick to them.  At the end of the quarter, hold a wrap-up meeting where everyone shares their grades, explains their results, and outlines the adjustments they’re going to make for the next quarter. After reflecting on this quarter’s performance, start setting OKRs for next quarter.  For a comprehensive look at how Google uses OKRs, check out this explanatory video (1:21:49):  Ready to start?  With OKRs, you’re essentially creating a shortlist of what you need to focus on in order to excel at your job. Nebulous responsibilities and performance goals are gone, and instead, you have crystal clear objectives, a specific, agreed-upon roadmap, and measurable progress.  How to use Wrike to set and monitor OKRs If you’re interested in trying out OKR goal setting in your own organization, you'll need the right OKR goals software to set and track your objectives across your entire team. Wrike's OKR template allows you to define the measurable steps you'll take towards achieving quarterly goals — organize company and departmental OKRs with folders, then break key results into tasks and subtasks connected to their overall objectives. Allow your team to build out their individual OKRs with personalized folders and subtasks.  When everything's ready, create custom dashboards to monitor progress and keep critical tasks front and center. At the end of the quarter, use Wrike's dynamic reports to showcase how your team's work impacted the big picture. Start your free Wrike trial today to get up and running fast. Source: Google Ventures' Startup Lab Workshop: How Google Sets Goals

15 Books Every Manager Should Read
Leadership 7 min read

15 Books Every Manager Should Read

Our list of 15 management bestsellers that are sure to help you find your leadership style.

Project Risk Assessment (Ultimate Guide to Project Risk, Part 1)
Project Management 5 min read

Project Risk Assessment (Ultimate Guide to Project Risk, Part 1)

BOOM! An asteroid has just collided with Earth. Luckily it was a small asteroid, so we’re all okay. Not so luckily, that lump of space rock landed smack in the middle of your project site. Your new construction, your server warehouse, your team headquarters — your whole project has been flattened to a pancake under a mountain of rubble. What now? Life is full of surprises, and even if you budget every penny and map out each milestone, project risk can sneak up and pull the rug out from under you. You can’t predict the future, but with this Ultimate Guide to Project Risk, you can prepare for it. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about project risk and how to manage risk in a project, including free resources so you can prepare for the next asteroid. Risky business: What is project risk, exactly? Here’s how PMI defines risk: “An uncertain event or condition that has a positive or negative effect on a project’s objectives.” Basically, risk is any unexpected event that can affect your project — for better or for worse. Risk can affect anything: people, processes, technology, and resources. Pay attention to this important distinction: Risks are not the same as issues. There can be positive risks in project management. Not every risk is negative or an issue. Issues are things you know you’ll have to deal with. You may even have an idea of when they'll pop up. (Think scheduled vacations or a spike in product demand just before the holidays.) Conversely, risks are events that might happen, and you may not be able to tell when. (Surprise! A key product component is on backorder and will arrive a week late.) They're slippery, and it takes some serious preparation to manage them. We can break project management risks down into five elements: Risk event: What might happen to affect your project? Risk timeframe: When is it likely to happen? Probability: What are the chances of it happening? Impact: What’s the expected outcome? Factors: What events might forewarn or trigger the risk event? Here's another way to look at it: Every time you back up files on an external drive or in cloud storage like Dropbox, you’re practicing risk management. The collapsible umbrella that lives in your bag rain or shine? That's risk management as well. Start applying that same proactive preparedness to your projects and nothing will shake you. Assessing project risk The first thing you'll want to do is prepare a risk assessment to get a better understanding of the kinds of risks you’re facing and their possible consequences. Here's a step-by-step guide: Step 1: Identify potential risks. Sit down and create a list of every possible risk and opportunity you can think of. If you only focus on the threats, you could miss out on the chance to deliver unexpected value to the customer or client. Ask your team to help you brainstorm during the project planning process since they might see possibilities that you don't.  Step 2: Determine probability. What are the odds a certain risk will occur? It’s a lot more likely that a key team member will be out for a week with the flu than develop total amnesia. Rate each risk with high, medium, or low probability. Step 3: Determine Impact. What would happen if each risk occurred? Would your final delivery date get pushed back? Would you go over budget? Create a business impact analysis to determine the risk of each potential issue and identify which risks have the biggest effect on your project's outcomes, and rate them as high impact. Rate the rest as medium or low-impact risks. TIP: Start using a risk register to log and track risks. (You can create separate registers for threats and opportunities if you wish.) Include risk probability, impact, counter-measures, etc. How Wrike can help assess project risk Wrike has robust risk assessment and management tools to help you identify and plan for project risks. The project risk analysis template allows you to visualize potential risks, prioritize actions to mitigate them, and implement RAID logs into your workflow. Once you've completed your risk analysis, our AI Project Risk Prediction will monitor your projects for risks and assign them a risk level (low, medium, or high). If the AI finds risks, it will flag them in the Project Progress window for you to review and address.  Once you have your risk assessment in place, you're ready to actually start managing the risk, which will be the next installment in this two-part series on the Ultimate Guide to Project Risk. Meanwhile, what are your best risk assessment tips? Share your wisdom in the comments section!

How to Work Effectively: 13 Simple Strategies to Work Smarter
Productivity 7 min read

How to Work Effectively: 13 Simple Strategies to Work Smarter

Productivity at work is something that ebbs and flows. We all have off days where we feel we could have done more. But the important thing to remember is that productivity is a habit — it's something you can build over time and become better at every day by choosing the methods and tricks that work for you. No matter your job or industry, we all want to learn how to be effective at work and achieve our professional goals. But true productivity is more than simply checking tasks off a to-do list—it’s about doing more of what matters. Luckily, all it takes is a few adjustments to your daily work habits to see an improvement, so start with these simple tips and watch your productivity soar.  13 ways to be more effective at work  Trim your task list  We all know how paralyzing it can be to start a big project or tackle a crazy to-do list. So don’t overwhelm yourself with a massive task list! Give yourself three to five important items you need to accomplish in one day, and focus on those. If you get them done early, you can always add a few more things to your list, but keeping it manageable will keep you productive — instead of just keeping you busy.  Swap your to-do list for a schedule Sit down, look at your available time for the day, and be realistic about what you can get done. Then make a game plan: Schedule specific slots of time for each of your important tasks—and be sure to include breaks. By dedicating time and structuring your day, you can take advantage of the times of day you're naturally more focused and motivated, make tangible progress on important work, and ensure you take the necessary breaks to stay mentally fresh.  Stop while you’re still on a roll One of the biggest reasons we procrastinate is that we simply don’t know where to start. But if you stop working on a task for the day knowing exactly what you need to do next, it’s much easier to get started again. End every task with a defined “next step” to quickly get back in the zone next time.  Stay organized Highly effective people have systems in place to help them find the exact information they need right when they need it. A simple system like David Allen's Getting Things Done method (GTD) can ease the mental burden of storing reminders and ideas and free up brain space for more meaningful and effective work. Get a 20-second overview of the famous GTD method here. Make bad habits more difficult to indulge Constant distractions tank your productivity and IQ, and you can't work effectively if you're not performing at your best. So create some simple barriers to help you focus. If you’re constantly pulling out your phone while you work to text a friend or check social media, for instance, put your phone in a locked desk drawer and keep the key in an upstairs closet, or ask a trusted co-worker to hold on to it until lunch.  Prioritize  A big part of being effective at work is learning to say no. Figure out what really matters — which tasks actually move the needle on your primary goals? Which projects have the biggest impact on your bottom line? Cut the busy work that doesn’t actually amount to anything. Using a data-driven goal-setting technique like OKRs (objectives and key results) is a practical way to focus your daily efforts on clearly-defined, measurable goals that directly contribute to larger business objectives.  Tackle your most important tasks first Your motivation and creativity are at a high point in the morning, So instead of starting your day by checking emails (which can quickly derail your plans, as what you intended to accomplish gets pushed off or lost among incoming requests), wait a few hours to check your inbox and work on a more significant project while your mental energy is still high.  Plan tomorrow tonight While you shouldn't stay up agonizing over all the work waiting for you tomorrow, creating a short list of simple to-dos at night can help you hit the ground running in the morning, establishing a productive momentum that will carry you through the rest of the day. Try to include at least one moderately challenging task in your list — according to Dr. Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi, there's a sweet spot where your brain more easily enters that "flow" state where your brain is humming and you're doing your best work. It happens when the degree of challenge and your abilities intersect at a high point. (If the task isn't challenging enough, you'll get bored, and if it's too high, you'll get anxious and stressed).  Use idle time to knock out admin tasks Waiting in line at the grocery store, bus stop, bank, etc., doesn't have to be wasted time. Bring a book you’ve been meaning to read, clear a few emails, or catch up on status updates. Or simply let your mind wander and observe the world around you. You never know when your next great idea will hit you!  Schedule meetings with yourself Create a distraction-free zone where you can go to focus when necessary. Block time off on your calendar where you won’t be disturbed, turn off your email and message notifications (or better yet, disconnect from the internet entirely), and focus on a single important task for an hour or two.  Change your self-talk  Instead of saying, “I have too much to do today!” and “I’m so stressed out right now!” say, “These are the two things I need to focus on today." A simple shift in perspective can do wonders for your motivation and energy levels. Communicate and clarify  We all have to collaborate with others at some level to do our jobs, so learning how to work effectively with others is an essential part of improving your effectiveness at work. One of the best ways to avoid unnecessary rework and wasted time is to eliminate misunderstandings and miscommunications. Get it right the first time, and you’ll save yourself a ton of time and mental energy revising and redoing tasks.  Find ways to do more of the work you enjoy When you're interested in, challenged by, and good at your work, you're more engaged — and more effective. Consider which aspects of your job you look forward to, which skills you get the most praise for, and which types of projects your colleagues ask you for help with.  While not everything you do at work can be a passion project, with a little creativity, even tedious tasks can be fun or challenging. The next time you have to generate a timesheet or expense report, time yourself and see if you can beat your personal high score. Do your best to learn something new every day, or push yourself to try something you haven't before.  More tips and resources to improve effectiveness at work Whether you work in marketing, project management, software development, or any other field, our collection of tips and tools on productivity and motivation will help you learn how to be more effective at work.  Using a work management system like Wrike can help you take your productivity to the next level by looking after the small tasks so you can concentrate on the big ideas. Features like 400+ app integrations to collaborate across platforms, intuitive automation to free up time spent on admin, and customizable workflows and work views to suit your needs all lead to doing the best work of your life with software that works for you. Try it now with a free two-week trial. 

Ultimate Guide to Team-Building Activities Your Team Will Actually Like
Leadership 10 min read

Ultimate Guide to Team-Building Activities Your Team Will Actually Like

A team that works well together is more effective, more productive, and more successful — not to mention happier and more fun to work with! But team building at work can be tricky, especially when typical team-building activities tend to induce more eye rolls among teammates than high-fives. Whether you were hired to put together some team-building initiatives or you think your team just needs to get together and do something fun, workplace team-building activities are the way to go. There are even lots of options available for online team-building activities when your team is distributed. Adults can have fun, too! Try Wrike for free Team bonding activities don’t have to be contrived Don't be seen as the Michael Scott of your office, trying to organize team bonding ideas that involve egg and spoon races and hotdog eating contests. Corporate wouldn't stand for that. Your goal for team-building exercises should be to include everyone on the team in an activity that encourages collaboration and builds trust.  A proper team-building activity should build better communication pathways, improve problem-solving skills, and improve company culture. While individuals sometimes feel like these games are annoying or unnecessary, just 30 minutes of team building can boost morale, increase productivity, and improve work output.  This list is going to become your go-to for office team-building and can even be modified as games to play with remote employees. Everything from small team-building activities to problem-solving exercises, we've scoured the internet to create the ultimate list of fun team-building activities for the workplace to laugh, learn, and connect with your team. Team building games and activities for work 1. Zombie Escape For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: 1 rope, 1 key, and 5-10 puzzles or clues, depending on how much time you want to spend on the game Instructions: Gather the team into a conference room or other empty space and "lock" the door. Beforehand, select one team member to play the zombie — dead eyes, arms outstretched, muttering "braaaaiiiinnnnssss" and all. The volunteer zombie will be tied to the rope in the corner of the room, with 1 foot of leeway. Once the team exercise starts, every five minutes, the rope restraining the hungry zombie is let out another foot. Soon, the zombie will be able to reach the living team members, who will need to solve a series of puzzles or clues to find the hidden key that will unlock the door and allow them to escape before it's too late.  2. Battle of the Airbands  For: Team Bonding What you'll need: Speakers, smartphone or mp3 player Instructions: Ever watched Lip Sync Battle? (Tom Holland's is a personal favorite.) Expand the idea to a full battle of the air bands. Split your group up into teams of 3-4 people and let them decide who will be the singers, guitarists, drummers, etc. Give them some time to choose, rehearse, and perform a lip-synced version of whatever work-friendly song they like. If they have a few days, teams can dress up or bring props. After the performances, teams can vote on the winner (with the caveat that no one can vote for their own band). Or, let a neighboring department in on the fun and have them choose the winner.  3. A Shrinking Vessel  For: Creative Problem Solving  What you'll need: A rope, blanket, or tape to mark a space on the floor Instructions: Make a space on the floor and have your whole group (or a set of smaller teams) stand in that space. Then gradually shrink the space, so the team will have to think fast and work together to keep everyone within the shrinking boundaries.  4. Back-to-Back Drawing  For: Communication Skills What you'll need: Paper, pens/markers, printouts of simple line drawings, or basic shapes.  Instructions: Split your group into pairs and have each pair sit back to back. One person gets a picture of a shape or simple image, and the other gets a piece of paper and a pen. The person holding the picture gives verbal instructions to their partner on how to draw the shape or image they've been given (without simply telling them what the shape or image is). After a set amount of time, have each set of partners compare their images and see which team drew the most accurate replica.  5. Office Trivia  For: Team Bonding What you'll need: 20-25 trivia questions about your workplace Instructions: Looking for a quick and easy team-building activity that is also suitable for remote cultures? Come up with a series of questions specific to your workplace and test your team's knowledge. "What color are the kitchen tiles?" "How many people are in the IT department?" "How many windows are there in the entire office?" "What brand are the computer monitors?" "What month of the year is most common for birthdays among our employees?" This is a quick team-building activity that tests how observant your team is and can be done in both a conference room and over Zoom. 6. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti, 1 roll of masking tape, 1 yard of string, and 1 marshmallow for every team.  Instructions: Using just these supplies, which team can build the tallest tower? There's a catch: The marshmallow has to be at the very top of the spaghetti tower, and the whole structure has to stand on its own (that means no hands or other objects supporting it!) for five seconds. 7. Community Service For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers  What you'll need: A few hours out of the workday Instructions: Participate in Adopt-a-Family programs during the holidays, organize a beach clean-up, take on a community beautification project — find an activity that appeals to your team or reflects your company values, get out of the office, and do some good for your community and your team. 8. Salt and Pepper  For: Communication Skills What you'll need: Tape, a pen, a small piece of paper for each employee, and a list of well-known pairs (think peanut butter and jelly, Mario and Luigi, or salt and pepper).  Instructions: Write one half of each pair on the sheets of paper (Mario on one piece, Luigi on another, and so on). Tape one sheet of paper to each person's back, then have everyone mingle and try to figure out the word on their back. The rule: they can only ask each other yes or no questions. Once they figure out their word, they need to find the other half of their pair. When they find each other, have them sit down and find three things they have in common while the rest of the team continues.  9. Masterpiece Murals  For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers What you'll need: Pre-drawn canvases, paints and brushes, a drop cloth or tarp Instructions: Give each member of your team a canvas and brush, and let everyone create a colorful masterpiece on their canvas. Once they're dry, they can be put together and displayed in your office as a mural or placed throughout your workspace. 10. Afternoon at the Races  For: Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: One pinewood derby car kit for each team, chalk for start and finish lines Instructions: Have teams build and race their own mini pinewood cars. If you want, go all out and let teams create mascots and themes, and host a mini-tail gate with snacks and music.  11. Toxic Waste  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: 1 small and 1 large bucket, 1 rope, 1 bungee cord loop, 8 bungee cords, 8 plastic balls or tennis balls Instructions: Use the rope to make an 8-foot circle on the ground that represents a toxic waste radiation zone. (You can make the radiation zone bigger to increase the difficulty.) Put the balls in the bucket and place the bucket in the center of the circle to represent the toxic waste. Place the large bucket about 30 feet away. Teams must use the bungee cords to find a way to transfer the toxic waste balls from the small bucket to the large bucket within a certain amount of time (15-20 minutes). Anyone who crosses the line into the radiation zone will be "injured" (you can blindfold them or make them hold one hand behind their back) or "die" (must sit out for the rest of the game). Dropping toxic waste balls will similarly result in injury, and spilling the entire bucket means everyone on the team is dead.  Solution for referees: Attach the bungee cords to the bungee loop, then have everyone hold and pull on the cords to stretch the loop and guide it over and down around the toxic waste bucket. Loosen the cords to contract the bungee loop so that it grips the bucket. Use the cords to lift the bucket and tip the balls into the large "neutralization" bucket.  12. Company Coat of Arms For: Team Bonding What you'll need: Paper, pens, markers Instructions: Have teams create your company coat of arms. In the first space, draw something that represents a recent achievement. In the second space, draw something that reflects your company values. In the third space, draw something that represents where you see the company going in the future. Post the finished coat of arms in your office.  13. Campfire/Memory Wall For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers What you'll need: Post-It notes or a whiteboard Instructions: Write a few general work-related topics on the whiteboard or on sticky notes posted to the wall: “My first day,” “Teamwork,” “Work travel,” etc. Gather your team together and have everyone choose one of the topics and share a story from their time with your company to laugh and bond over shared experiences. You can also pass out sticky notes and have everyone write down positive memories of working together or special team accomplishments. They can use words or pictures to record these memories. Then have everyone share their memory and post it on the wall, forming a positive memory cloud.  14. Frostbite  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: 1 packet of construction materials (like card stock, toothpicks, rubber bands, and sticky notes) for each team, an electric fan Instructions: Your teams of 4-5 are no longer sitting in your office — they're Arctic explorers trekking across the frozen tundra! Have each team elect a leader to guide their expedition. When a sudden storm hits, the team must erect an emergency shelter to survive. However, both of the team leader's hands have frostbite, so s/he can't physically help construct the shelter, and the rest of the team has snow blindness and is unable to see. Give each team a set of construction materials and start the timer. When time runs out, turn on the electric fan's arctic winds and see who successfully built a shelter that will keep them safe. Adjust the difficulty with sturdier construction materials (provide popsicle sticks instead of toothpicks, etc.), change the fan's settings, or have the fan running while the team constructs their shelters.  15. Minefield  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: An empty room or hallway, and a collection of common office items Instructions: Use boxes, office chairs, water bottles, etc., to create an obstacle course of "mines" within your empty space. Divide the group into pairs, where one partner is blindfolded. The other must guide that person from one end of the course to another without setting off any mines. The person guiding their partner cannot enter the course and must only use verbal instructions to get their partner through. Depending on the number of people you have and how difficult you want this activity to be, you can vary the number of pairs trying to complete the course at the same time so that pairs have to work harder to listen to each other and communicate clearly.  16. Egg Drop  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: A carton of eggs; basic construction materials like newspapers, straws, tape, plastic wrap, balloons, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, etc.; tarp or drop cloth, parking lot, or some other place you don't mind getting messy! Instructions: Divide the group into teams and give each one 20-30 minutes to construct a carrier that will keep an egg safe from a two-story drop (or however high you choose). If you end up with a tie, gradually increase the height of the drop until you're left with a winner.  17. Scavenger Hunt  For: Collaboration Skills & Team Bonding What you’ll need: Pen and paper Instructions: A classic team bonding game that we did ourselves! Split everyone into groups and make a list of fun things to find or do outside your office. Make it each team's mission to find and photograph everything on that list within a certain time limit. The first team to complete each item on the list wins!  18. Plane Crash  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Skills What you'll need: 20-30 minutes Instructions: Imagine this: the plane carrying your team has crashed on a desert island. Have your group work with 12 items from around the office that they think would be most useful in their survival, ranking each item in order of importance. Alternatively, have individuals make their selections first and then have the group discuss and come to a consensus. This game focuses on communication and negotiation skill-building. 19. Spider Web  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What You'll Need: String and tape Instructions: Tape two pieces of string across a doorway, one at about three-and-a-half feet and the other around five feet. This string is the poisonous spider web. Teams must get all their members through the opening between the strings without touching them. Increase the difficulty by taping more pieces of string across the doorway. 20. Paper Plane Contest  For: Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: A long hallway, tape to mark the launch line, measuring stick, card stock Instructions: This game can be played either indoors or outdoors. Each team gets a piece of card stock to construct a paper plane. Show them a variety of airplane designs and let them work together to construct one they think will fly the farthest. Add to the fun by decorating the planes before launch. The team whose plane flies farthest wins all the glory! 21. Dare Jenga For: Team Bonding & Ice Breaking What you'll need: A Jenga set (preferably with large blocks) Instructions: This one is a fun team-building icebreaker for work that will get your team to test their limits. Write a dare on the surface of each block. Make them fun dares around the office, such as: doing 15 pushups, singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" out loud, or wearing the oversized sombrero for the rest of the workday (yes, we have an office sombrero). When all the blocks have dares on them, stack them up like in Jenga. When people pull a block out, they have to perform the dare that's written on it. 22. Crystal Challenge For: Team bonding, problem solving, and communication What you'll need: A set of physical or mental challenges, timer, small "crystals" or tokens as rewards Instructions: Divide your team into smaller groups and create physical or mental challenges that require teamwork, problem-solving, and communication. Assign a time limit and award "crystals" or tokens to groups that successfully complete the tasks. Encourage friendly competition and celebrate the successes of each team. 23. Human Knot For: Team bonding, communication, and cooperation What you'll need: A group of 8-16 people, open space Instructions: The team should stand in a circle, shoulder-to-shoulder, and each person grabs the hand of another team member with their other hand. The goal is to untangle themselves without letting go of each other's hands, forming single or multiple smaller circles. This activity requires effective communication, cooperation, and problem-solving to succeed. 24. Football (Soccer) Tournament For: Team bonding, physical activity, and friendly competition What you'll need: A football (soccer ball), open space or a field, goal markers Instructions: Organize a round-robin or knockout-style tournament to encourage friendly competition and teamwork. Focus on having fun and building relationships, not just winning.   Try Wrike for free Team-building activities for remote teams Team-building activities are not just for staff in the office. Whether your team is fully remote or operates a hybrid model, involving everyone in team-building activities is crucial for building team morale. Check out these virtual team-building games that can be played by staff working remotely, so you can try them out wherever you're based.  1. Whose Office Is It, Anyway?  For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers What you'll need: Internet connection, file sharing tool Instructions: Have your team members send a photo of their home offices, and then have everyone guess whose workspace is whose. Keep the game going with photos of everyone's coffee mugs, desktop backgrounds, or the view outside their window.  2. Conference Call Trivia  For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers What you'll need: Internet connection Instructions: Divide into teams and play trivia. You can find good trivia questions and answers online or pull out some Trivial Pursuit cards. It's a great way to learn about people's non-work interests and personalities. 3. Online Multiplayer Games For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: Internet connection Instructions: Pick a game that will let your team work together to strategize and problem-solve, like Travian, or browse the many free and paid co-op games on Steam. Use your computer's built-in microphone and speakers to chat, or use headsets.  4. Charades or Catchphrase via Video Hangout or Skype For: Collaboration Exercise & Team Bonding What you'll need: Internet connection, video chat app Instructions: Divide your group into two teams, and play classic party games like Charades or Catchphrase via video call. You can send everyone the link to an online Charades or Catchphrase ideas generator that will provide word prompts for you.  5. Online Karaoke Party For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers What you'll need: Internet connection Instructions: Let loose with an online karaoke party! Use your computers' built-in microphones and speakers to challenge teammates to a karaoke battle, compare high scores, or just have fun showing off your singing skills.  6. Virtual Scavenger Hunt For: Team Bonding & Collaboration  What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing app Instructions: Make a list of items that team members have to find in their homes or on the internet and set a time limit. There are some great online scavenger hunt generators or you can create your own list. Make sure the items are varied and challenging enough to require a little bit of a search.  In order to account for each individual potentially missing an item or two in their list, you can set a time limit to see who finds the most items, or you can declare a winner once someone finds a certain number of items from the list. 7. Virtual Escape Room For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration  What you'll need: Internet connection, virtual escape room platform Instructions: Engage your team in a virtual escape room challenge, where the team will have to work together to solve puzzles and riddles to escape the virtual room.  There are tons of different virtual escape room platforms available online, such as Escapely, which offer different themes and difficulty levels. This activity is great for promoting creative problem solving and teamwork. Since there are so many options, you should be able to keep virtual escape rooms in your team-building activity roster without it feeling too repetitive. 8. Virtual Coffee or Lunch Break For: Team Bonding & Socialization What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing app Instructions: Set up a virtual coffee or lunch break where team members can connect and chat about non-work-related topics. This activity is a great way to promote socialization and build relationships among team members.  You can even organize a virtual potluck where everyone shares a favorite recipe and enjoys their meals together. Do note, however, that this may be more difficult to implement across global teams than with those on similar time zones. 9. Remote Book Club For: Team Bonding & Personal Development What you'll need: Internet connection, e-book or physical books, video conferencing app Instructions: Choose a book that everyone on the team can read and discuss it during virtual meetings. This will encourage more introverted team members to participate, as they can connect with others on a shared interest rather than engaging in mindless small talk. While remote book clubs are best for small groups, they can also work with well-organized larger groups. Remote book clubs are particularly beneficial when you nurture the individual skills and preferences of each team member. Consider assigning roles, such as discussion leader or note-taker, to different team members for each meeting to foster a better sense of collaboration. 10. Mindfulness and Wellness Challenge For: Team Bonding & Health and Wellness What you'll need: Internet connection, mindfulness app Instructions: Mindfulness and wellness challenges are a novel way to reduce work stress. Team members can participate in daily activities aimed at promoting mental and physical wellness. These activities include guided meditations, yoga, gratitude journaling, or even taking breaks throughout the workday to stretch or go for a walk.  You can also encourage team members to lead certain activities in areas where they have knowledge or a particular interest. Set daily or weekly goals and milestones for the challenge and offer rewards for participation. 11. Virtual Movie Night For: Team bonding and relaxation What you'll need: Internet connection, video streaming platform, group chat app Instructions:  Choose a movie or documentary relevant to your team's interests and industry. Schedule a virtual movie night with a group chat app to share thoughts and reactions. Host a follow-up discussion to discuss the movie and its themes. 12. Online Custom Puzzle For: Team bonding and problem solving What you'll need: Internet connection, custom online jigsaw puzzle maker, video conferencing platform Instructions: Create a custom online jigsaw puzzle using a team photo or image relevant to the team's work and share the link with team members to collaborate in real time. 13. Virtual Coffee Breaks For: relationship building and casual conversation What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform Instructions: Schedule regular virtual coffee breaks to encourage team members to discuss non-work topics, share hobbies, or discuss their favorite books, movies, or TV shows. 14. Remote Team Vision Board For: Team bonding and goal setting What you'll need: Internet connection, shared digital whiteboard or cloud storage Instructions: Team members should create and share images, quotes, and symbols to represent their goals or collective objectives. The goals should be shown on a shared digital whiteboard or cloud storage folder and discussed in a virtual meeting to align them with the team's vision. 15. Online Storytelling For: Team bonding and creativity What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, shared document Instructions: Start a story with one sentence and have each team member contribute one sentence at a time. Share the completed story during a virtual meeting to discuss the team's creative process and how the story evolved.  Try Wrike for free Team-building activities for hybrid teams Team building activities for hybrid teams should be inclusive, engaging, and accessible to both remote and in-person team members. Here are ten team-building activities that can help bridge the gap between remote and on-site employees and foster strong working relationships: 1. Hybrid Idea Jam For: Creativity and problem solving What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, shared digital whiteboard Instructions: Team members divide into smaller groups and collaborate on ideas and solutions, using a shared digital whiteboard. After a set time, each group presents their ideas to the whole team, with the best ideas being voted on or combined. 2. Picture Scavenger Hunt For: Team bonding and fun What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, messaging app Instructions: Divide the team into pairs or small groups and create a list of picture prompts. Teams work together to find or recreate each prompt and share their pictures in the messaging app. The first team to complete the list wins. 3. Hybrid Pictionary For: Team bonding and icebreakers What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, shared digital whiteboard Instructions: Divide your team into two groups and have one member draw on the shared digital whiteboard while the rest guess the word or phrase being drawn. Keep score and the group with the most points wins. 4. Hybrid Office Olympics For: Team bonding and friendly competition What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, list of challenges Instructions: Organize a series of challenges that can be completed both in-person and remotely. Participants can compete individually or in teams, with scores recorded on a shared leaderboard. Celebrate the winners with a virtual or hybrid awards ceremony. 5. World tour presentations For: Cultural awareness and team bonding What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, presentation software Instructions: Assign each team member a country and research it, creating a short presentation highlighting facts, customs, and landmarks. Schedule a virtual meeting to share presentations and learn about different cultures. 6. Hybrid Charades For: Team bonding and icebreakers What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, list of charades prompts Instructions: Divide the team into two groups and have one member act out a word or phrase on camera while the rest guess what they're acting out. Keep score and the group with the most points wins. 7. Remote and In-Person Cooking Challenge For: Team bonding and creativity What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, shared ingredient list Instructions: Choose a theme or specific dish and divide the team into smaller groups. Each group has a set time to create their dish and can share their creations and recipes through pictures, videos, or live demonstrations. 8. Strengths and Skills Swap For: Skill sharing and professional development What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, shared document or spreadsheet Instructions: Team members should list their top three strengths or skills, pair or group them based on complementary skills or areas of interest, and schedule virtual meetings to share expertise and learn from one another. This ensures a mix of remote and in-person participants. 9. Virtual Time Capsule For: Team bonding and reflection What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, cloud storage, or shared drive Instructions: As a team, decide on a theme for their virtual time capsule and each team member contributes an item related to the theme. Collect all items in a cloud storage folder or shared drive and schedule a virtual meeting to discuss and reflect on the contributions. Set a date to "reopen" the time capsule and see how the team has evolved. Try Wrike for free How Wrike can bring the collaborative spirit to your team Team-building activities are a great way to build morale and team spirit in your organization. But for this to carry over into your everyday work, you need to ensure your employees have the tools they need to collaborate seamlessly. Wrike's versatile collaboration software allows teams to work as one, fostering an environment of accountability, productivity, and growth for every person, regardless of where they're based. Features like collaborative workspaces, custom-field request forms, customized workflows, real-time updates and approvals, and powerful reporting tools all help teams to do the best work of their lives from anywhere. Try it now with a free two-week trial.  Try Wrike for free Additional team-building resources for work The Escape Game — Offers a wide range of adventures for your team to explore outside the office Gamestorming blog — Browse a collection of group brainstorming activities Gamestorming facilitator resources UC Berkeley HR Team Building Kit — Tips for people planning and facilitating team building activities, lists of activities, and additional resources, including recommended books and online resources Ohio State University Team Building Resources — Recommended games and icebreakers GoSkills Employee Engagement Ideas — 11 of the best employee engagement ideas for building a strong corporate culture Sources: RoomEscapeAdventures.com Escapely.com TeachThought.com InsiderMonkey.com RefreshLeadership.com Wilderdom.com LeadershipCenter.osu.edu Gamestorming.com Vorkspace.com InnovativeTeamBuilding.co.uk Pridestaff.com Teampedia.net KaraokeParty.com

10 Reasons Projects Fail: Lessons from the Death Star
Project Management 10 min read

10 Reasons Projects Fail: Lessons from the Death Star

Here I am. Sitting in a dingy cantina on some dusty backwater planet, the remnants of the Empire scattered to the far corners of the galaxy while some rebel scum occupies the capital on Coruscant. Where did it all go wrong? If you ask me, it comes down to the Death Star projects. I had friends on those Death Stars — I only barely got off the first one alive myself — and I've put a lot of thought into this. I've scrutinized every detail to pinpoint the fatal errors. These are the 10 key mistakes that led to the failure of the Death Stars, and ultimately, the collapse of the Empire. Death Star I 1. Insufficient project requirements The Death Star was meant to be the ultimate weapon, and in that sense it succeeded: a super laser capable of destroying a planet with a single blast, plus 15,000 laser, ion, and turbolaser batteries. It fulfilled every requirement. But the plans only considered offensive measures, and failed to imagine the need for real defense. And as we all know, the defenses weren't tight enough to prevent individual starfighters from infiltrating and causing catastrophic damage. Don't make the same mistake: It's not enough to just plan for risks and challenges that could affect your project as you're working on it. You need to carefully consider how your completed project is going to function in the real world when writing your requirements. What situations or events could create problems, or cause your finished product to break down/fail? 2. Failure to recognize risk General Tagge: “Until this station is operational, we are vulnerable. The Rebel Alliance is too well equipped. They’re more dangerous than you realize.”Admiral Motti: "Dangerous to your starfleet commander, not to this battle station."Video clip  Invulnerable projects do not exist, as Motti and every other Imperial officer on board learned the hard way when the first Death Star disintegrated. If your project has a susceptible thermal exhaust port, you need to know about it — even if it is only two meters wide. If I hadn't been reassigned to a transport ship as punishment for getting ambushed by Solo and Skywalker, I'd be a sprinkle of space dust right now. Don't make the same mistake: No project is too big to fail, and no project is too small to skirt risk. Conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential threats and opportunities. 3. No risk management strategy "Any attack made by the rebels against this station would be a useless gesture, no matter what technical data they've obtained. This station is now the ultimate power in the universe."— Admiral MottiVideo clip Against all odds, the Rebels got their hands on the Death Star plans and found a weakness. But the Empire didn't do anything to mitigate the threat: no contingency plans, evacuations, or deploying a patrol of TIE fighter squadrons for defense. Instead, Tarkin shrugged it off — so certain in the Death Star's invincibility that he didn't even bother to get off once it was under attack. RIP, Grand Moff Tarkin. Don't make the same mistake: Identifying risk and keeping a wary eye isn't enough. Have a project contingency plan in place, so your team is clear on what to do if an identified risk becomes reality. Be proactive in dealing with potential problems, respond quickly if they occur, and do what you can to keep them from happening in the first place. 4. Managers lack necessary skills to aid collaboration & project success Have you ever worked under an unreasonable manager? Imagine reporting to Vader or Tarkin. Not exactly approachable. And they certainly didn't encourage us to work together or offer new ideas. I heard one guy suggest new stormtrooper helmets (so we could actually see to shoot), and he got Force-choked and tossed into the reactor core. Yeesh. Don't make the same mistake: Make yourself available to help out with questions and hangups. Offer advice and tools to support collaboration. And encourage your team to share suggestions or new ideas, instead of just following your orders to a T. Be glad you don't report to these guys.  5. Choosing a pet idea without considering all the options "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."— Senator Leia Organa, AKA Prisoner of Detention Cell 2187 As Tarkin himself said, the Death Star's purpose was to keep local systems in line through fear. But wouldn't Super Star Destroyers stationed in key systems do the trick just fine? Or a few garrisons of stormtroopers? No, the Death Star was a vanity project to show off the Empire's technological might and mercilessness. But instead of intimidating local planets into submission, it inspired more star systems to join the rebellion. Talk about backfiring. Don't make the same mistake: Consider all the possible solutions to your problem, and only then decide on the best approach. Don't jump on the first idea you have, or just follow the easiest path. Death Star II 6. Failure to reflect & learn from past mistakes This one's truly a head-scratcher. After the first Death Star was destroyed, the Emperor insisted on pushing full steam ahead on the second Death Star's construction. Although he made sure the thermal exhaust port weakness was fixed, he repeated many of the same mistakes: believing that a bigger Death Star with more firepower would ensure victory. Don't make the same mistake: Hold a retrospective after each project. What worked well? What could be improved? Then take that knowledge and apply it to future projects. That way your process is always getting better instead of growing stale with repetitive, fruitless, or counterproductive projects. 7. A stakeholder insists on unrealistic commitments The Emperor was dead set on getting the second Death Star fully operational ASAP, insisting on an unreasonable timeline that Jerjerrod's team just wasn't equipped to meet. The only possible result was sloppy work or missed deadlines. And sure enough, without the protection of Endor's energy shield, the Death Star's vulnerabilities made it easy pickings for the Rebel fleet. Don't make the same mistake: Managing an unreasonable stakeholder is very possible (provided you don't work for a Dark Lord who gets his kicks electrocuting or choking subordinates). When faced with an unrealistic demand, present several feasible alternatives and let the stakeholder choose which approach is preferable. Or, let them know what resources you'll need to make their request doable. 8. Insufficient resources Jerjerrod: "But the Emperor asks the impossible! I need more men.”Vader: "Then perhaps you can tell him when he arrives. He is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress." Bottom line: Commander Jerjerrod didn't have the men he needed to get the Death Star operational on time. He asked repeatedly for additional resources, but Vader and Palpatine shrugged him off. We all know what happened as a result.... Bartender! Another drink in honor of my fallen comrades. Don't make the same mistake: Completed projects don't materialize out of sheer willpower, and you can't expect your team to fulfill requirements if they don't have the necessary resources. Ask them what they need, and then do your best to provide it — or create a plan that doesn't require those resources. 9. Leadership undermines team morale and success "Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them."— Vader Vader thought that people whose very survival hinged on their job performance would meet every expectation. Far from it! By killing every admiral and captain who slipped up, all he accomplished was constant turnover of leadership — and stalled progress as a result. Don't make the same mistake: Did you know people are actually more productive when they're in a good mood? (Safe to say the Empire missed that memo.) Cultivate confidence and a happy work environment and watch your progress soar. 10. Side projects distract from your main goal When Vader wasn't killing key officers or terrorizing underlings, he was busy searching for the Skywalker kid. He was so distracted, it's no wonder project work was disorganized, behind schedule, and prone to mistakes! Don't make the same mistake: Stay focused on the work at hand. Multitasking is a sure-fire productivity killer — don't let distractions kill your entire project, too. BONUS: Starkiller Base With the Galactic Empire in ruins, a new military junta sprang up in its place: The First Order. Building on the empire’s research into dark energy translations and hyperspace tunneling, the First Order built an unofficial third Death Star known as Starkiller Base. For a while, it seemed that all the major lessons were learned from the first Death Star’s failures: Better use of resources: Without access to all of the empire’s resources, the Starkiller Base project was scaled back in all the right ways to do more with less. Instead of a highly mobile floating space station, it’s built from a hollowed out, moon-sized planet. This cuts down on the costs and complexity of shipping materials and building in space. Destructive power, however, remains uncompromised. The base is able to take down multiple planets at once, giving the First Order more bang for their buck (pun intended). Better QA: The First Order learned some lessons from the security vulnerabilities and bugs of the Death Star I and II. Starkiller Base was protected by multiple systems including a planetary shield, Stormtrooper garrisons, and squadrons of TIE fighters. But there was one major con that ultimately led to its failure... Failure to use a cloud-based system to manage the project. Unfortunately for Kylo Ren, Snoke, Hux, and the rest of the First Order, the shield control was localized on the base. In the event of a malfunction or sabotage, the planet would be left completely unprotected until technicians could be brought on site to fix the problem. This vulnerability was exploited by the Resistance, causing the entire project to implode… literally. Don’t make the same mistake: Cloud-based project management solutions offer the simplicity and reliability essential to success. It’s critical that your team has the ability to access and edit projects wherever they are. If you’re not using a cloud-based system, you’re vulnerable to far less than an attack by the Resistance. A natural disaster, theft, or even spilled coffee could destroy your data and leave your work in smoldering ruins. Ay... Just thinking about these mistakes makes my head hurt. I need another Ebla beer. Your turn! You've heard the rumors. Share your thoughts on the Death Star fiasco, or other projects you've seen implode.   

6 Reasons Home Alone's Kevin McAllister is a Project Management Genius
Project Management 5 min read

6 Reasons Home Alone's Kevin McAllister is a Project Management Genius

It’s the time of the year: everyone’s humming carols, organizing cookie swaps, and re-watching their favorite classic Christmas movies. During a screening of Home Alone here at Wrike HQ, we couldn’t help but notice the young protagonist's stellar project management skills, and started taking notes.

The Ultimate List of Legal Resources for Startups
Leadership 5 min read

The Ultimate List of Legal Resources for Startups

Intellectual property rights, patent law, incorporation, equity distribution.... Navigating the legalities of starting a business can seem like an impossible feat, especially when one misstep could spell major trouble down the line. With an abundance of questions and limited resources, startups can’t afford to keep top legal minds on retainer for whenever an issue pops up. Time and money are vital to a fledgling company's success, so save both with this list of legal resources especially for entrepreneurs. Note: This list is a collection, not a ranking.  Articles & Advice Choose Your Business Structure How to Work with Lawyers at a Startup An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Wrangling and Hog-Tying a Lawyer Online Legal Services: Are They Effective for Startups? Venture Beat's Ask An Attorney 10 Questions Co-Founders Should Ask Each Other 5 Biggest Legal Mistakes Startups Make 3 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Patent Law Reform 5 Ways Not to Respond to a Cease-and-Desist Letter 10 Big Legal Mistakes Made by Startups Blogs A View from the Valley by veteran startup lawyer Matt Bartus Counselor @ Law by speaker, writer, and public policy activist William Carleton Gust.com by a group of experienced startup founders and investors The High-touch Legal Services Blog for Startups by startup lawyer Dana Shultz Likelihood of Confusion on internet trademark and copyright infringement by lawyer Ron Coleman Mashtag Blawg by Bottom Line Law Group, a firm specializing in lean startups and business growth Startup Law 101 series of tutorials for founders and entrepreneurs Startup Law Blog by prominent startup and corporate transactions attorney Joe Wallin Technology & Marketing Law Blog, award-winning blog on internet law, intellectual property, and advertising law by law professor Eric Goldman Walker Corporate Law Blog by a boutique firm that specializes in representing entrepreneurs Websites Entrepreneur's Legal Basics for Startups, a collection of expert articles and videos from Entrepreneur magazine Startup Company Lawyer answers hundreds of specific questions, from incorporation to stock options Startup Lawyer has articles on topics like incorporation and equity, plus a helpful glossary of terms Quora Term Sheet is a collection of legal resources for entrepreneurs and investors hosted on Quora Upcounsel is a service that matches entrepreneurs to legal professionals based on their specific needs Small Business and the SEC is the official SEC guide to complying with federal securities laws while raising capital Rocket Lawyer has a collection of sample documents and a group of on-call attorneys to answer your legal questions Start-Up Launchpad holds educational materials, checklists, and sample legal documents Templates Docracy is an open collection of legal contracts. Document templates are free to download, customize, store, and e-sign, including a retainer agreement template for consulting services FormSwift Customize, sign, and download common business, legal, and personal forms, including a retainer proposal Series Seed Financing Documents Free, open-source legal documents for seed financing in MS Word (.DOC) format National Venture Capital Association's model legal documents A set of legal templates and terms GitHub repository Templates of Series Seed documents Y Combinator Financing Documents Sample forms for raising equity rounds with angel investors Orrick Term Sheet Creator Create drafts of startup and venture financing documents based on your responses to a series of interactive questions Orrick Start-Up Forms Library Key legal forms for starting and growing your company Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Term Sheet Generator Generate a venture financing term sheet based on your responses to an online questionnaire Tools Founders Workbench Access useful tools such as: capital calculator, financing terms dictionary, service tax on professional fees consideration, intellectual property laws, and more Markify Searchable trademark database Viewabill View all billable activity by your lawyer: accruals, hours, and average rate Google Patent Search Use Google to search for existing patents US Patent & Trademark Office File a patent, register a trademark, and review intellectual property laws Finding a Lawyer LawKick Find a lawyer based on price, reviews, and qualifications LawTrades Get matched with a lawyer at your budget, plus free consultation, price quote, client reviews, and law office profiles LawGives Choose from a selection of flat-fee legal services packages FINRA BrokerCheck Research brokers, firms, investment adviser representatives and investment adviser firms ShouldISign.com Post a request and receive fixed-fee proposals from vetted attorneys, and check out their bank of free legal forms Checklists Start-Up Legal and Licensing To-Do List for Small Businesses Legal Checklist for Startups The Legal Checklist Every Startup Should Read What would you add to this list? Once you've set up your legal framework, find the tools you need to launch your business: 25 Tools to Run Your Startup.

Online Marketing 101 (Infographic)
Marketing 3 min read

Online Marketing 101 (Infographic)

“Welcome to the team! Have you met John and Rita in SEM & SEO? You’ll be working closely with them. Oh, and make sure you connect with Nancy, she’s in charge of lead scoring and nurturing. The email and mobile marketing teams are in these rooms. How much experience do you have with marketing automation, again?” Woah. Who knew there were so many pieces to the digital marketing puzzle? If you’re new to the world of online marketing, don’t fret. We’re here to help you fit the pieces together — and figure out exactly where you fit in.  Check out our new infographic cheat sheet on the basics of major online marketing approaches: Like this infographic? Embed it on your site with this code:  Wrike Social Project Management Software Related Reads:6 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 20157 Steps to Developing an Agile Marketing Team (FREE eBook)

Stock Your Break Room for Better Productivity (Infographic)
Productivity 3 min read

Stock Your Break Room for Better Productivity (Infographic)

You probably think that you encourage your employees to take breaks (90% of employers do) — but in reality, more than 25% of your workers don’t take a single break during the day other than to grab lunch.  Breaks are proven to improve happiness, health, focus, productivity, and mental performance. So how can you help your team step away from their work for a breather? Give them a comfortable break room!  Stocking the Perfect Office Break Room To reduce stress, offer chamomile tea, oatmeal, oranges, nuts, and milk. To boost productivity, provide berries, seeds and nuts, avocados, yogurt, dark chocolate, and green tea. Avoid candy, baked goods, processed foods, soda, and energy drinks. Use the right colors: blues and greys are calming, slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure. Don't forget the java! Coffee improves alertness, mental performance and concentration, makes us more supportive of one another in social situations, and prevents cognitive decline.  When you don’t provide coffee, 22% of your employees will leave the office to grab a cup, leading to an average $15,000 in lost productivity each year. See the complete infographic below for more details on the health benefits of work breaks, plus ideas to help your team take short breaks throughout the day while still getting things done.  Source: Quill.com Want more team productivity tips?  Check out our collection of resources, strategies, and techniques to fight procrastination, find your motivation, and be more productive. 

How to Throw a Killer Office Holiday Party Your Team Will Love
Collaboration 5 min read

How to Throw a Killer Office Holiday Party Your Team Will Love

Holding an office holiday party? You don’t need a huge budget or lavish event to make your team feel special! All you need are a few creative ideas. Here are our tips for throwing a holiday bash your team will rave about all year long.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Agile Workflow in Wrike
Wrike Tips 5 min read

The Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Agile Workflow in Wrike

Agile teams are more productive, more satisfied with how their teams manage work, and can deliver results faster. But just because Agile is flexible, doesn't mean it's a free-for-all. In order to embrace the adaptability and speed of Agile, you need the right processes and an organized framework. And you need a work management tool that will bring structure to your work, while allowing for the kind of customization needed to support your team's chosen Agile approach.  In this article, we'll show you how to set up a Scrum process in Wrike, create an Agile work breakdown structure, and determine what a project dashboard should contain. How to Create a Scrum Dashboard in Wrike  This approach requires the custom status feature, so you'll need either the Business or Enterprise subscription plan. If you're not already using Business or Enterprise, start a free trial. You’ll also need to have admin privileges to set up your Scrum workflow in Wrike.  1. Here's how to build the workflow:  Select “Account Management” under your account profile, then click the Workflow tab.  Click on “+ Create New Workflow” and give your new workflow a name.  Hover your mouse over each section and add statuses. Include statuses for Accepted, In Progress, Ready for Review, Changes Needed, Completed, On Hold, and Cancelled. (Your workflow may vary slightly, especially when it comes to your particular review and approval process.) Once you’re finished, click “Save.”  2. Once you have your Scrum workflow, you’ll need to set up your folders:   Create three new folders, and be sure they’re shared with your team: a Backlog folder, a Scrum folder, and an Archive folder. Incoming work will be funneled into your Backlog folder, accepted or active tasks will be moved into your Scrum folder, and completed tasks will be added to the Archive folder at the end of each Scrum period, or sprint.  3. Since the first step in Scrum is to organize and prioritize incoming work, you’ll need to create a Request Form for people to submit new tasks and projects to your team:    Go to your profile and select Account Management, then click the Request forms tab.  Create a new Request form and make sure to include all the fields you’ll need to complete the work: i.e. requirements, due dates, goals, urgency, and business value. It’s also a good idea to include a field for a link to the task where the work will be done. (Once in Scrum, the Request task will act as a placeholder — think of it like a sticky note you move across a whiteboard — it’s not where the actual work will be done.)  4. Create a Dashboard from your Scrum folder.  Create a new Dashboard and name it.  In folder view, click the Filter icon and select the first step of your custom Scrum workflow. Then click the three-dot menu and select Add to Dashboard.  Do this with each step of your custom workflow to complete your Scrum Dashboard.   Note: Remember that tasks must be included in the Scrum folder in order to appear on the Dashboard. Also note that dragging tasks between widgets will automatically update their status—except if you drag items back into Requests, since this is a different folder than the rest of your widgets. In this instance, you'll need to click into the task and update the status. At the end of each sprint, create a subfolder within your Archive folder to house the tasks you completed and easily generate reports based on each sprint.  Need More Help Setting Up Your Agile Workspace?  If you're looking for more instructions on how to customize your Wrike workspace, implement Kanban scheduling, create custom workflows, or set up project Dashboards, check out the Wrike Help Center. You’ll find a searchable knowledge base, tutorials, live webinars, and a community of fellow Wrike users. Browse the community forums to ask questions and find out how other people are using Wrike with Agile, or learn new tips and best practices. Want more personalized help? You can always contact Wrike Support at support (at) team.wrike.com. 

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