15Five is a performance management platform that was founded in 2011 and offers weekly check-ins, OKRs, monthly/quarterly reviews, and also high fives (recognition) all in one system. Unlike traditional “point solutions”, they cover a variety of facets in the employee engagement equation.
At Friday, we have a lot of respect for 15Five as they have been an early leader in the agile performance management space. Over the past couple years we’ve had the opportunity to speak with former 15Five customers (and potential ones), so we’ve had the unique opportunity to get a deeper understanding of their business from the lens of a user.
With that being said, we believe Friday is a compelling alternative to 15Five. We’d love to explain how we are different and let you make the decision about what solution you prefer. We’re also not going to pretend that we are completely “fair” with our analysis, as we built one of the solutions mentioned in the article.
In our view, this is the most important piece of the puzzle as the weekly check-in is where the rubber meets the road for agile performance management solutions – if you are evaluating a solution that doesn’t offer a weekly check-in, you are missing out on the majority of the value. This is a feature that your entire team (or company) will end up using in some capacity, so it’s important that the check-in is super simple to use.
15Five offers a variety of features for this, including:
- Question-bank (access existing questions vs. thinking up new ones)
- “Pulse check” (a question that asks how you are feeling each week)
- The ability to respond to check-ins in a thread format (i.e. – Facebook-style comments)
- Polls and Trends (Answer questions in a numeric format, so then the results can be charted over time)
Put simply, they offer a robust solution, but there's not a lot of customization offered besides the ability to rotate different questions.
Friday check-ins can be completely customized
In Friday, we offer a similar format, but it's infinitely customizable. Our weekly check-ins offer the ability to respond in an open-ended format and we also offer the ability to chart numeric questions over time (although this feature is included in our base offering).
The difference is that you can customize every aspect of the check-in. Here's a video to illustrate below:
While this may not be a big deal to you now, the reality is that your communication needs change over time. One year, a weekly check-in may make sense. Another year, it may not.
If the tool can't adapt to this reality, you will see usage drop and will eventually need to look for another solution.
15Five offers additional value like OKRs, 1-1 recaps, and semi-annual best-self reviews (analogous to performance reviews).
Friday doesn't do OKRs, but we offer a lightweight goals product
We just launched a new goals tool, but we are not pursuing OKRs at this time. We’ve used them in the past and found that they are extremely difficult to teach inside an organization due to their complexity (just ask employees what the difference is between an objective and a key result).
We think measuring progress on goals is important, but OKRs is a very specific implementation of goals that can take a significant amount of time to teach.
Friday workflows can be anonymous
It’s our view that weekly check-ins should not be anonymous, but there is a time for anonymous feedback (quarterly or semi-annually).
For example, anonymous feedback helps you dive deeper into a particular issue, but it should be used sparingly.
Put simply, you can pair these campaigns and the results will complement the weekly check-in. The weekly check-in is tactical (and actionable), while these campaigns guide strategy. Both these types of feedback are combined in a scorecard view, helping you truly understand your team.
15Five (at the time of writing), doesn’t offer anonymous feedback, which means you aren’t learning as much as you can about your team.
Friday offers a daily standup routine
Unlike 15Five, we offer a daily standup routine, enabling teams to stay in sync on a daily basis. We believe this agile ceremony is critically important in helping everyone understand what's going on inside their team (and where someone might be stuck).
We don't do performance reviews
15Five recently added a performance review tool called the "Best Self" review. If you are looking to manage the performance review process, you should probably check out 15Five. We do not have intentions of build a performance review tool at this time, as each company has very different processes for handling this.
Additionally, the minute you turn a "team tool" into an HR tool, employees become very skeptical and usage drops.
Friday is focused on automating routine communication
We mentioned campaigns in the previous section, but what does that even mean?
It’s very simple. We’ve isolated anonymous feedback from weekly check-ins, and results are presented in their own templates. This aims to reduce clutter and make Friday easier to use. Here’s an example of what that looks like:
Specifically, you can turn these campaigns “on and off”, selecting only the items that are the most important. Don’t want anonymous feedback? That’s fine! We’ve isolated different campaigns to make it as easy as possible to get up and running with your organization.
Only you can make the right decision for your team/organization. If you’re new to agile performance management and want a no-frills solution that’s easy to get up and running, we’d love if you gave Friday a try.
Our pricing starts at $6/mo per employee (15Five starts at $7/mo billed annually), so we’re also cheaper.
One final note – we both offer free trials, so give each solution a try and see what you think. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.