Learn More about COMPAS by looking through their most frequently asked questions!

The Classics

What is a Playbook?

A collection of Plays of a team’s best practices and actions for achieving their goals.

What does a Playbook replace?

“You cannot fill with new wine a vessel which is partly filled already with old wine, until the old wine has been poured out.” You have to get rid of the old playbook habits. It is like if a new coach comes in with a new playbook but you still want to continue running the old plays.

A Playbook does not replace any of your existing software, but rather lies on top of your existing tools to drive execution with more confidence

What is a Play?

An action or set of actions for achieving an objective.

Why do we need a Playbook?

You have Two options: Continue w/ “Trial-and-Error” execution — or ”Precision proven execution” which it is captured and amplified in your playbook.

Why do we need a Playbook - now?

You will be successful and results will happen — if you start early writing your playbook— it will be better — writing your playbook later in the growth journey will be more painful. It is not wise to write your playbook reactively. It is insane that you will want to build your Playbook re-actively; it is better to start a path to good, repeatable practices now.

The Basics

How Does my team build a Playbook?

Let me paint a picture of what it looks like. Imagine that you are standing in front of a white board, across the top of that whiteboard you have 3 to 5 or 6 boxes where you have your playbook execution playbook. For example – for a partner playbook - it could scouting, recruiting, onboarding, enabling, and developing execution phases. Just getting this nailed down is important – I had an experience w.  Just getting the stages of your execution is huge. Image now, on the left side of the whiteboard, the functional teams involved in that playbook – sales, marketing, product, CS, finance, and others.

Begin by affirming how you want to organize the path to your goal. Once this framework is built the general and obvious best practices will be added as plays. Then a team needs to continually reflect and capture the plays they run and wish they would have run in order to make their Playbook as robust and useful as possible.

How do I best capture Plays in the Playbook?

To capture plays, a teammate should reflect on what their best action of the past week, or something they know they could have done better. Through this reflection and teams capture their best practices within plays. It is also very important to search through emails, Slack channels, powerpoints, and other tools to find your best practices to capture.

How Do I write a Play?

Can you tweet? Great, it is as easy as a tweet. At COMPAS, we decided that an effective Play has a maximum length of a 85 characters. Today’ teams consume content / expertise in smaller chunks. Think of a coach with a football player --- a play it is given in less than 5 seconds…same here. “Action Verb” + “Direct Object” + “Descriptor”.

How do I suggest Plays to other functions?

It is important to put yourself in their shoes or know where you will be dependent upon another function. You can add plays and make the teammates of the other function owners to let them know that you believe they are responsible for the given play. Now, you can share the play within a slack channel and add a note which is a great way to suggest a Play to another function.

What other software tool does people compare COMPAS to? Not competitive but as to the spirit

As Slack is to collaboration, COMPAS is to execution. Monday is for Project Management. Asana...

Who is the facilitator/owner of the Playbook from the customer side?

Executive lead - Playbook Platform owner

What is a PlayMaker?

An administrator or owner of a playbook; this individual captures plays and helps configure the playbook. Helps teammates capture their best practices and helps drive execution among teammates.

How do I keep my Playbook ‘clean/crisp’?

Ensure that you are using the function the right way like tags on segments and that Function or Area’s of Execution are organized effectively and logically

How can I move a Play?

You can move a Play by simply dragging and dropping anywhere on the Playbook. This works within an Area of Execution and across Areas of Execution and Stages.

What is the scope of a Play? How broad/narrow is it?

It should be a broad action to achieve an outcome. It is not the micro tasking. A Play is the important process which you need to execute in each Market, but it is not a checklist of tasks. (Aetion has wonderful employees who already know how to accomplish a Play and do not want to be micro tasked. The Play is the general action your Teammates need to perform.) If you need to add more color on a Play, you can strengthen it with Actions and Assets to give more direction and give Teammates the tools needed for success.

Can I give access (view or edit) to people outside my company? ie. a partner or a contractor.

You can create an account for them and add as a user not admin.

How do I know that I am building the best playbook?

How understandable and useful is it for you and your teammates? There is no universal best playbook. The important thing is that it is valuable to your team. Are Assets useful 

How are you executing against the Plays – across all teams and markets?

Both. Often many teams are needed to execute the plays in the different markets. The Playbook Platform has a unique way of being useful to a matrix structure of an organization....

"What is COMPAS theory on what will change in human behavior that people will want to share their insights -which some are secret sauce- and become collaborative instead of thinking in themselves first?"

Honesty and Transparency are keys to a successful team. Trust is needed. An idea meritocracy can be formed through radical truth and radical transparency. A Playbook is an augmentation of teammate’s best practices - why not be transparent and share your successes.

What is the typical profile of a team member that loves the Playbooks?

A team member who is Type A yet creative. Someone who likes the organization and loves learning from past experiences (their own or others), but does not like to be micromanaged. A team member without a large ego or bias, yet does not enjoy their own blind spots. This team member is excited to learn yet enjoys their own perspective and process of doing things.

What is the typical profile of a team member that hates the Playbooks?

Someone who believes in micro- project management. Someone with a large ego and bias about their process of executing. One who believes their work process does not need guardrails or guidance, or believes that they must micro-manage those under them.

When do you exactly measure the # of users that will put into my bill?

On the last day of the month at 11:59pm PT, the platform takes a snapshot of your # of users. Then, it is integrated with the COMPAS billing system which captures those # of users and sends a payment request to Stripe to collect from your company.

How does a team utilize COMPAS?

A team uses COMPAS to catalog their best practices to achieve their goals.. COMPAS is used to power a team’s execution. COMPAS is a way of organizing your team's plays effectively to understand how to execute and grow effectively. Another great tip is to use Execution Ritual’s to empower your weekly meetings to understand your most effective procedures and where to focus your efforts… Do not feel great about this answer - might need some help cutting this down.

The Advanced

Some segments do not apply to all plays or apply only to specific plays, how do I set up sub-segments?

It is important to to utilize tags for segments here, but also one can make several different segments for separate sub-segments (For example: particular markets within a country - create multiple segments for one country to demonstrate the separate industries.)

How is this different from other project management software like Monday.com?

COMPAS is not a project management software. A playbook is much more broad collection of best practices to achieve a goal - often involving many functions and different teammates (who are dependent on one another - driving collaboration). A Playbook is not built to micromanage employees; a Playbook is created to empower a team to achieve their goals.

How should I set up my teams to use COMPAS most effectively?

Many approaches can be take (Function team organization or organization aligning with segments). Each team is different, so there is no universal answer. It is important that teams can execute effectively and collaborate. COMPAS is pretty flexible for any structure of teams - It is just important that your organization aligns with your goals.

How does COMPAS work in association with ASANA and Monday.com?

ASANA and Monday.com can be great ways to manage tasks and small projects. We think they work great as Assets to a Play, where a Teammate could find a checklist to assist in Executing a Play. Your Playbook is a bigger picture execution of your strategy not a micro tasking service, so they can be used together will if you see the need to task with Monday or asana. We are also working on integrating with both systems to save time for all Teammates!

Is the Global Growth Playbook for the entire organization or just for the Growth team?

The Aetion Global Growth is a cross-functional team effort. The Growth team leads the playbook while the functional teams collaborate within their respective areas of execution.

How do other growth leaders share what they want to achieve with their playbook?

You can say “We have a great company, great teammates, and a great culture (like nicely indicated by Eric!). The Aetion Growth Playbook is our execution platform that underpins our grow – it micro-empowers our cross-functional teams to execute with confidence.“

Are we going to build other playbooks for other areas of the Aetion?

Yes, Aetion will start with the Global Growth Playbook but leading B2B SaaS startups run 6 to 8 playbooks (from CS to Marketing execution, etc.)

If I move a segment from one lane to another and back again in Portfolio and select a default owner, will all those Plays lose their previous status since the ownership is changing?

Status and Ownership are independent. Many Plays will change ownership (people leave, change roles, we grow and new people are hired, etc). The status is of the Segment for that Play. It will always follow it and exist. Even if you unassigned the Segment for that Play if later on you assigned again it will come back with the last status it had.

Will a segment and play still show up in Execution under Functions / Stages etc. if there has been no owner assigned?

Yes it will show up. We have a default user called “No-Owner” if you look at the Teammates section in Execution.

You can filter by it in Teammates on the filter bar to make it easier to identify those Plays that need to be assigned.

Are project management tools integrated into COMPAS?

Yes, Plays can have ‘links that direct a teammate to the company preferred PM tool (i.e. Asana, Monday, etc.) or functional specific tools (i.e. Sf.com, Gainsight or Hubspot) of your preference for micro-tasks and micro-status.

Is the goal to achieve 100% execution on all stages/lanes? Or will a successful playbook be one that is high in execution but never completely at 100% (because always adding new segments to run through the playbook)?

A Playbook is never 100% — any team can always improve its execution.It is always learning and improving. Adding new teammates and losing great teammates… I can tell you one thing that I have learned over my career “perfection is the enemy of great!” I have seem so many people that want to have everything almost perfect and they never get on the "pitch to play”. This is the critical importance of the Playbook Execution Rituals “Celebrate, Improve, and Focus”. The rituals is the mechanism to say “let’s play”.  We suggest to customers to work on their playbook as they are actually executing… if you are executing in the earlier stages of a playbook then spend your time in making that part valuable. There is nothing like real experience to teach us what is the right Play, the purpose, the owner, the collaborators, why we did that play, etc...

Do Compas users usually delete the segments that were on those plays that have been fully executed and add new ones? Or should we keep the segments as a log history?

Depends. Some customers like to keep them in a Stage in the far right. I personally do not like to keep them. We are a playbook platform and once that I am done executing I like to have a clean and very polished playbook.

At what point would the Compas Rep. stop doing weekly execution rituals with a customer? Is there a certain moment when the customer will take full control of their playbook without the need for Compas’ direct assistance?

we do not have a clear cut-off date where the ‘bird flies out of the nest'… so far we have learned that it is when: 
a) the Playbook Owner and the Playmaker (internal, customer) are well trainer in the COMPAS Platform,
b) the PlayMaker can on board , very rapidly and successfully, more teammates to the playbook, and
c) the Playbook Owner and the Playmaker run a solid Playbook Execution Rituals (7 to 10 min) themselves  

These are kind of “qualitative” elements.

I was wondering if you could help explain to me the difference/thoughts behind function vs. area of execution. I feel like the wording ‘Area of execution’ is pretty wordy & long compared to ‘stage’ or ‘function’ etc. so it might confuse the user by appearing as something more grand than it really is, which I interpreted as a ‘sub-function,’ perhaps?

We have 4 options: Leave it like it is…

Option 1: “Function + Area of Execution”challenge: we have to explain what we mean by “Area of Execution” however most of the people understand that within a Function, teams have areas of Execution where they work as a team. 

positive: people like the ‘flexibility’ to define an AoE as they please and desire on their company. Most startups do not like to be formal at all — they do not like words like “Function” or “Sub-functions” since it sounds big company and bureaucratic… startups like to talk about ‘dynamic teams’ that execute in certain areas of their business.  That is is why we added the “Area of Execution”.  

Option 2: Only “Function” and remove any reference to Area of execution… still allow PlayMakers and Teammates to add things ‘sub-functions’ but do not name it anything.   

Option 3: “Only Area of Execution”Too confusing… because Function... 

Option 4: “Function + Sub-Function”positive: minimal explanation…challenge: could come across as burocratic, etc…

Is there a way to apply a segment to all the plays in one Stage or does it have to be manually one-by-one?

Right now you can delete (lose the current status) and create it again and when you do pick all Plays in that Stage

Are assets only supposed to be templates or can specific documents be uploaded (e.g. specific contract for particular candidate going through hiring pipeline, or the specific business plan for a partner, like IGX)?

Both, and I would specify on the tag/name of the asset to make sure anyone understands that what they are opening is a specific customer file or a template

Can specific Plays or stages/lanes be imported into a new Playboard?

There isn’t a way to do so on the user end, so Maya will check with the Compas team to find out if it’s possible on the back end or see if we can possibly add this feature as a future product update.

Can we access some of the template Playbooks that Compas has for other companies?

There are some of the template Playbooks available on the COMPAS website.

When a segment (ex: client) progresses from one stage to another, will it automatically move after completing all the Plays in said stage/lane or do we have to drag it?

You will have to move the segment as it will not move automatically.

Why? In some Playbooks a stage actually represents a lane rather than a stage and a segment might never move to another lane. In the example of CS, they are stages since the segments (clients) must progress through Value Roadmap through to Year 3 Renewal. However in the Partner Playbook, we use the stages as swimming lanes, reflective of the different partner types (Reseller/Technology etc.). So a partner like Microsoft would never move to the Advisory partner lane since it will only ever apply to the plays under the Technology lane.

 How do the segments move through the Playbook?

The Segments move through your Playbook from left to right. They are promoted once you have completed most of the Plays within the stage and the growth team has a meeting to make a decision on promotion.

How should we deprioritize a segment? Is it possible to table a market/put it on stand-by?

You can deprioritize a segment by:
a) Deleting it. If you conclude that a market is not attractive for Aetion, you can simply delete the market instead of promoting it.
b) If you decide that a market is not attractive right now then you could change the status of the plays to inactive. This shows that the market is still on your radar, but your team is not actively executing to grow into this market.
c) Demoting it. In some rare cases it can be necessary to demote a market to "go back to the drawing board"

How do we know when to assign Owners by local or global?

Owners are assigned by Markets and Stages. For example, Eric owns the Play related to datasets for EU; however, we expect that ownerships do change as Markets evolve and we add more teammates - Ian will become global owner of all data sets in the near future. The key is defining clear Ownership for each Play.

How detailed do Plays need to be for each Stage?

Plays should be a guidance for execution, not micro-tasking of your team members. You do not teach Tom Brady how to hold and throw a football, but rather you tell him which Plays to run for best succes. Your team members likely know how to do many of the tasks in each play and should not be microtasked - they just need some guidance on the best way to direct their efforts :)

Should we have completed all of the plays in "Discovery" for a Market currently in "Validation"?

Upon starting your Playbook it will not be perfect, as some Markets are more advanced in different areas, but in the future the answer is yes. The Plays in each segment should be completed (or close to completion) upon promotion of a Market to the next stage.