What is Notion, anyway?

Notion is a dashboard tool to help your team visualize metrics and KPIs, track and trend goals, communicate about your data, and capture the context of your team’s most important numbers. We make it simple to create custom metrics, quickly and easily, without complicated coding or data science.

What is the difference between recipes and ingredients? How do I know which one I want to build?

Ingredients are what we call metrics that track a single data point over time in Notion. This might be number of open bugs, number of developers, outstanding blockers, etc. Ingredients are the fundamental building blocks of recipes.

Recipes are what we call metrics that are built on a mathematical formula in Notion. For instance, number of open bugs per developer, or Points Completion Ratio, etc. Recipes are how you do math with your data in Notion.

What are milestones? How do I use them in the platform?

Milestones are one of the ways that you can build a context around your data in Notion. Making a milestone will make a flag appear on all of your metrics corresponding to the date of the milestone.

You might use a milestone to note the hire of a new CTO, a release, implementation of a new methodology, etc.

How can I get my data into Notion?

There are four fundamental ways to get your data in Notion.

  • You can assign ownership of a metric to one of your team members, with one of our team-sourced metrics. That person will receive an email at the address provided and at the frequency specified reminding them to report on the ingredient.
  • You can build metrics using one of our integrations. Once you have integrated your tool with Notion and created your metrics, Notion will pull data from that tool every morning at 1am according to your server time.
  • You build metrics based on historical data, or add historical data to metrics that you have already built with our Google Sheets add-on. Simply download the add-on, grab your API Token, and you will be off to the races. For more information on how to build metrics or add data with Google sheets, check out this article.
  • You can create a custom data source when you write directly to our REST API. This will require development, but it is the most flexible of all of the data-sources in Notion. For more information about writing to our API, check out this article.

Can I change the time when Notion pulls data from my tools through an integration?

Yes. You can do this one of two ways. You can change the time zone associated with your account in your Account Settings page. Keep in mind that this will have the side effect of changing the timezone associated with all of your metrics, email settings, etc.

You can also contact us at support@usenotion.com and we can change the time of the import.

How many dashboards can I build?

There is currently no limit to how many dashboards your team can use in Notion. Use them to organize metrics by team, project, product, portfolio, dimension, or whatever else you would like.

How do I invite my team members in Notion?

You can use the link in the Member’s Page in Notion. Either add your team member’s email address in the box or copy and send them the link on the page.

You can also invite members directly when creating a recipe or ingredient by assigning them to report on an ingredient.

I just integrated my tool with Notion. Where is all my data?

Congratulations on setting up one of our integrations. Our integrations run once per day. Given the nature of most of our integrations, you will be pulling a snapshot in time. Part of the value of tracking things from JIRA or Intercom, for instance, is the ability to trend the data over time.

Your metrics will start filling out over time from the date of creation. Your first data point will be added to the chart as soon as you create the integrated metric. The sooner you build out all of the metrics that you want to see in Notion, the sooner you will have real data to visualize.

If you have historical data, you can also pull that into Notion to populate the charts that you have created.

I have a bunch of historical data. How do I get that data into Notion?

You can get historical data into the platform in one of two ways. You can either use our Google Sheets add-on and import your data manually, or you can write directly to our API.

My team uses a tool that isn’t listed in your integrations. So now what’s the procedure?

There are a few different ways to get data in from a tool that we don’t integrate with directly.

First, you can check out Zapier. If your tool has a Zap, then you can integrate with Notion. It’s a pretty straightforward process. Check out this article to find out more.

Second, you could write the data to our API. The documentation for that is here.

Finally, and most simply, you could assign ownership of the metric to someone on your team. Determine how frequently it would be most useful to see that data added to your chart and your team member will be emailed with a reminder to log into your tool and pull the number(s) at the frequency specified.

I just made an ingredient and set the date to the wrong day. What do I do?

If no data has been added to the chart yet, then you will be able to edit the reported date to the desired date from the metric settings page.

If the metric has already had data added to it, then you will need to recreate the metric with the correct date frequency. Note that if you created any ingredients within the recipe, you will also need to recreate these as they will be set to the original date.

I want to show the data across all my teams, but it looks cluttered. What are some ways to organize my Notion account a little better?

There are many ways to think about organizing your metrics in Notion. You can organize your metrics by dashboard, and include the metrics for a single team, project, or even a portfolio rollup view.

You can also create single metrics that will allow you to view all of your team’s metrics in a single chart, for instance one velocity chart, backlog health, defect removal efficiency, etc. chart for all of your teams. This way you can limit the number of metrics that you have on a single dashboard.

You can also remove metrics from a dashboard entirely. They will then live in the Directory only, where you can view them, individually. They can still be used in recipes.

Our team wants to display their KPIs on a dashboard on the tv. Can Notion help us?

Sure. There are a couple of options. You can use the public dashboard feature to view all the metrics on your dashboard on a tv -- note that you will need to refresh the dashboard once per day, to update the data. You can also use slide show mode to cycle single metrics from a dashboard in a more detailed way on the tv screen, this will refresh itself automatically.

I want to have someone on my team take ownership of a couple of our metrics. What’s the easiest way to get that set up?

It’s really easy to assign ownership to people in Notion. It’s a big part of why we built the platform in the first place.

From any metric creation page, you can simply assign the reporting of a metric to a team member by adding their email to the “reported by” line. If they haven’t already, they will be sent an invitation to join your team on Notion, and then they will be off to the races!

They will receive reminders to report on the metric at the frequency that you specify.

What are listed and unlisted metrics in Notion?

Listed metrics are any metrics that you allow everyone in your Notion account to view from the Directory. Any Editor is able to use listed metrics as ingredients in a new recipe that they create. If you would like a metric to be private, then you can set it to unlisted. Team members will only see these metrics if the metric is included on a dashboard they have access to.

You can also create invite-only dashboards and individually decide which of your team members can see that dashboard.

I just imported a bunch of historical data from Google Sheets but it isn’t showing up in Notion. What happened?

There are a couple things to check.

First, successful creation of a new ingredient via Google Sheets will show up in the Directory, but won’t arrive on a dashboard. Be sure to check there first.

Second, if you already have the ingredient in Notion, and you are adding the historical data to that ingredient, check to make sure that the dates of your spreadsheet match up with the dates of your ingredient. If they don’t match, the data will still be in the chart, but you won’t be able to see it, as it doesn’t correspond with a reporting period.

What’s the difference between reporting “the day after” and “the day of” the reporting period end?

Adding data to the chart “the day of” will allow you to see the data for the period on the day that the period ends. You will also be reminded to report on any manual ingredients that are set to “day of” on that day.

Adding data to the chart “the day after” will allow you to capture any results on the chart that might have happened after the close of business on the last day of the period. Notion will wait until the day after to look for a number to report on the chart. This will be your choice for any metrics that will include all of the data up through midnight on the reporting period. You will receive an email to report on manual ingredients the day after, to capture the entire day’s worth of data.

I need to build a lot of metrics. Is there a way that I can create multiple metrics at once, or create copies of a metric to edit?

Yes, there are two ways. First, you can create multiple team-sourced ingredients from the Create a Recipe page. Just add as many ingredients as you want, give them names, and assign reporters to the individual metrics. Note: this will set all of the ingredients and the recipe to the same reporting day and frequency.

For instance, if I wanted to create a Total Weekly Sales ingredient for each of my sales team, I could create a recipe called “Total Weekly Sales (Team)”, then add an ingredient for each team member, i.e. “Total Weekly Sales (Tom)”, “Total Weekly Sales (Sally)”, etc.

Second, if you have multiple metrics that you would like to set up for different teams and they have only slight changes from one metric to the next, we can help you set them up in bulk. Just build out one set of the metrics for us to copy, then let us know how to change them. If you would like us to help you with this, let us know at support@usenotion.com.

How can I use Notion to run our meetings?

Overall, we approach thinking about performance in terms of Speed (eg predictable velocity, time to market), Quality (eg defect rates, reliability, pages), Accuracy (eg say/do ratio, value delivered, ticket churn, ready sprints), and Joy (eg polls on preparedness, communication, delivered value, understanding the why). 


Manager 1:1s

Review how the team is doing in terms of key Speed, Quality, Accuracy, and Joy measures, and what the right focus over the coming months/quarter would be. Are you tuning for Quality over Speed, for instance?

This conversation centers around establishing baselines initially, and setting targets that are ambitious but achievable. The outcome is an understanding of a focus area, and creating a small set of metrics to reinforce improvements, and other counter-metrics in related areas that might illustrate dips in improvement.


Engineering Management Review

A meeting with other engineering leaders to review progress and brainstorm on possible paths to improvement. This is a blend of knowledge, sharing, and collective problem solving which helps build team culture and appreciation.

Using Notion in this context, each owner can present on their focus area, what their plan is, what they've done so far, the results, and next steps. 

  • Descriptions in Notion capture the why behind focus metrics and your plan.
  • Annotations capture highlights so far and next steps -- all tied to specific time periods.

It's possible to have a tight structure for the conversation, because you'll have the metrics and data from the prior 1:1s and agreed upon focus. Incorporating team conversation/brainstorm for the future state helps keep everyone engaged and builds institutional pattern matching. 

My team uses Google Analytics as a source for a lot of our marketing metrics, is there a way to integrate?

Currently, the best way to automatically get your Google Analytics data into Notion is via the third party software Zapier.

Is there a way to reduce the frequency of the reminder emails in Notion?

Yes, you can adjust your email settings, from the account settings page in Notion. https://app.usenotion.com/settings.