Customizing Your Approach to Quarterly Reviews

August 18, 2011

This is the first article in an ongoing series on conducting quarterly reviews at startup and expansion stage organizations.


Once you understand the goals and value of conducting quarterly operational reviews, the next step is to customize your approach. Here are some simple considerations to keep in mind when finding the right formula for you company and staff.

Meeting Architecture is Highly Dependent on Company Stage and Maturity

The architecture for the operating review meetings must be designed to match the stage of the company’s maturity in terms of size, management sophistication, and development (startup, expansion stage, or large growth stage company).

As with all practices, too much process and structure creates bureaucracy, but too little creates chaos. The trick is to get the right level of process and structure for your current situation and to adjust it over time as the company’s maturity changes.

For example:

An early stage company might have a single operating review meeting with the entire team, board, and outside advisors present, to review the entire company’s operations. The early operating reviews might focus on product development, customer development, and review strategies at the same time that operations are being reviewed. In other words, early in a company’s development, the quarterly review may serve as both an operating review and a strategic review before the company gets to the level of maturity where it executes on annual strategic planning meetings. As the company grows and matures, the team might add additional meetings to ensure that other areas of the company are getting adequate focus and attention.

An expansion stage company might have an operating review for each of the CEO’s direct reports and include the senior management team and board of directors in each meeting. As the company grows, it might substitute certain members of the board with specialized outside advisors in certain meetings to ensure that the team is getting the best ideas.

A large growth stage company might have an operating review for each of the major functional areas and business units, and include certain members of the senior management team and specialized outside advisors at each meeting.

Our Architecture is Focused on the Expansion Stage

The remainder of this series will focus on operational reviews for expansion stage companies (generally companies with 20 to 300 employees); however, these approaches can be customized to companies of any stage and maturity level. As with any practice, there are many ways to execute operating reviews, so take our approach as a standard practice that you can customize into a best practice for your particular context.

Stay tuned for more information on conducting quarterly reviews to help grow your company and improve your overall business processes. Next week, we’ll offer some tips to help you prepare for your first round of quarterly reviews.

Founder & Partner

As the founder of OpenView, Scott focuses on distinctive business models and products that uniquely address a meaningful market pain point. This includes a broad interest in application and infrastructure companies, and businesses that are addressing the next generation of technology, including SaaS, cloud computing, mobile platforms, storage, networking, IT tools, and development tools.