Operating cadence refers to the rhythm and frequency at which a company operates, communicates, and makes decisions. It includes regular Meetings, check-ins, and updates that help keep the team aligned and moving forward towards shared goals. A strong operating cadence helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the company is making progress towards its objectives.
What is an Operating Cadence?
- The Cadence: How to Operate a SaaS StartupDavid proposes implementing an operating cadence for Saa S startups to bring order to the chaos of rapid growth. The cadence synchronizes the major functions of sales, finance, product and marketing on a quarterly cycle. The sales and finance functions work on one calendar while product and marketing work on another, but snapping these two calendars together creates the overall cadence. Key events like Product Launches and quarterly closes spaced apart in the quarter provide structure and milestones for the organization. Following this cadence consistently can transform a chaotic startup into an efficient, high performing company.
Why is an Operating Cadence Important?
- The CEO’s most important operational responsibilityGokul begins by quoting Ben Horowitz: “Perhaps the CEO’s most important operational responsibility is designing and implementing the communication architecture for her company.” A good communication architecture ensures information flows smoothly across the organization, employees understand the company's strategy and priorities, and problems are surfaced efficiently. He outlines several components of a communication architecture that a CEO must make choices around: Organizational Structure, decision frameworks, meeting norms, Retrospectives, 1-on-1s, all-hands Meetings, Performance Reviews, and planning processes. Gokul stresses that a CEO must regularly revisit these choices to ensure the communication architecture remains optimal as the company grows and evolves.
How to Design an Operating Cadence for a Team
- Rethinking Your Operating CadenceTeam operating cadences should solve for accelerating velocity, emphasizing learnings, connecting actions to outcomes, evolving strategy, and personal growth to fuel company growth. The building block of any good team operating cadence is rituals that reinforce these goals. Keya provides details on the common rituals for teams, including WIP workshops, leads forums, show and tells, planning cycles, and personal growth conversations. Successful rituals evolve over time as the organization changes. An organization should over-index on the ritual that best aligns with their cultural values and inefficiencies in order to have the biggest impact.
How to Design an Operating Cadence for a Remote Company
- The Operating Cadence for Remote CompaniesMutiny found that going fully remote led to team isolation and poorer decisions due to lack of context and connection. To solve this, they created a quarterly operating rhythm anchored by an in-person offsite. The offsites focus on setting OK Rs and projects for the quarter, not just brainstorming. Having Board Meetings right after allows them to reduce board prep time. They translate quarterly goals into weekly goals to drive execution. The operating rhythm has helped them gain the benefits of remote work while overcoming the downsides of lost context and connection. An effective operating cadence centered around a drumbeat like an offsite can help any remote company.
Examples of Operating Cadences
- Hashicorp's Operating CadenceHashiCorp's operating cadence consists of annual, quarterly and weekly rhythms to drive the business. Scorecards define objectives at each level, with scorecard reviews as the rituals to track progress. The company goals aim to win practitioners, enable customers and grow the ecosystem. The cadence principles are federated Accountability, reflection over perfection, and finding leverage. The Annual Planning summit uses simulations to discuss executive focuses. Quarterly Business Reviews assess scorecards and WAR tables to identify improvements. The weekly executive meeting reviews corporate reporting packs to ensure metrics stay on track. The operating cadence has matured from initially observing lagging indicators, to identifying leading indicators with leverage, aiming to ultimately design a complex system of positive loops.