Continuous improvement is about small steps: case LinkedIn

Continuous improvement is about small steps: case LinkedInI am currently taking Kevin Werbach’s course on gamification on Coursera and in one of the lectures there he presented a real gem of continuous improvement: LinkedIn’s profile completeness meter.

LinkedIn needs to have rich information available regarding its users. This information is beneficial for the users themselves, as it makes them easier to find based on their skills and experience and thus helps them build their network, but it is even more vital for LinkedIn itself, because by making useful information and contacts available to their users, they can attract more users and sell more of their services.

LinkedIn’s solution to the problem has been simple: they introduced a profile completeness meter that displays how complete your profile is and gives hints on how to improve it further. This is a rather simple feature, the implementation of which may have taken even just an hour. However, upon its introduction, profile completeness on LinkedIn went up by a staggering 20 percent!

What makes this an example of continuous improvement is that LinkedIn has kept improving this feature, among other things changing it from profile completeness (percentage) to profile strength (qualitative description). I do not have the figures on what effect these changes have had, but usually you revert changes that make things worse, so I assume that they are achieving results and improving step by step.

There is one other nice thing about LinkedIn’s profile strength from a Lean point of view: notice how even at All-Star rank the meter is not completely full? Yet, there is no rank above All-Star (this is regularly asked about at LinkedIn and on various Q&A websites). Looking at it through a Lean lens, it makes perfect sense. There is always something to improve!

Author: Ville Kilkku

I run my own consultancy business, so if you find the ideas on this blog intriguing, contact me at or call me at +358 50 588 5043 and we can discuss how I can help you solve your business problems. I am currently based in Finland, but work globally.