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Sunday, May 6, 2012


I continue to be impressed with  The simple daily interaction takes seconds and inspires me to over-perform.

Each morning at 9AM, Beeminder sends me an email showing me recent updates.  I reply with the first line looking like '5 256 "Any comment I want to make"'.  Within a few minutes, Beeminder sends me a second mail with a link to an updated chart.  Although I am obese, I am very proud of the 18 pounds I've lost in the last couple of months.  Here is my current chart.  

My Current Beeminder Weight-loss Chart

Shortly after my first Beeminder post, Daniel Reeves from reached out and we have been corresponding about a couple of things:

1.  I should explain Beeminder's financial commitment model; and
2.  How can we leverage this awesome tool to motivate a project team to commit?

I'm going to wimp out on explaining the commitment device (What happens when you go off track in the "Wrong" direction.  Daniel suggested that as the next post, but I'll just quote Daniel and then paste in the description from Beeminder:

Alan, thank you so much! You didn't talk about the best part though: what happens if you go off track... :) That's my vote for your next post! But lots of stuff to say about using Beeminder as a productivity tool, too. Thanks again for the awesome testimonial!
 Danny of Beeminder
Here is a link to the page that describes the Beeminder's "Sting."

In short, if you go off the road on the "Wrong" side and don't get back in a day - your chart is frozen and you have to pay to resume.  I have not had to pay because I've been over-achieving since day one.  If I go off once - $5.00.  The prices grow quickly though - the idea is to give a strong incentive to stay on course.

How can we leverage this tool for our project teams?  I would like to dedicate a post to this one.  I would also like to run a trial with one of my ongoing projects.  But let me hint at my current thoughts.  What if we put some beer money into a pool, and tied it to a burn-down chart for a scrum team.  If we go off the road, the cash goes to Beeminder.  If we stay on the road - success and a beer blast.

Daniel, I would love to get your first take on this!



  1. Wow, thanks again for this awesome plug! More than a plug, in fact. Speaking of which, congrats on the weight loss!

    I'm excited about your idea of putting beer money in a pool. This is untested waters for Beeminder so far -- it's been strictly a tool for individual goals -- but let's definitely keep talking about this.

    My biggest concern is that if the beer money went down the drain it may feel ... unsatisfactory. (Surprisingly that's not the case for individual goals -- for the kind of people who find Beeminder appealing in the first place, that is.) Put another way, Beeminder works best when you have total control over the thing you're beeminding. In a group setting no one person has that control. Maybe that's not an issue for a sufficiently cohesive team...

    That's my first take! Still thinking about this...

    1. You and your team deserve a plug - and I want my circle to know about this tool.

      Regarding the incentive - I'm not thinking of having the team pony up any cash - instead, I want the company to set aside some incentive money for this test. From the project team member's perspective - it is win or don't win. We want to provide the team with one more incentive to win.

      I realize that most of us are driven more by internal than external motivations, but every little bit helps. Also, The great charts will do a great job of reinforcing the team;s goal and showing us where we are in relation to that goal on a daily basis.

      In short, the more I think about this - the better it looks.