How we further develop the staffing of our software projects across all stakeholders
Technologies and methods used: Node.js, GraphQL, TypeScript, Apollo-Server, Type-GraphQL und Mikro-ORM, PostgreSQL , Knex, React, GraphQL, Microsoft Single Sign-On (SSO), Microsoft Graph-API und Kanban
Development duration: December 2020 – February 2021
To make the skills of our employees transparent for the entire company, a team of jambitees developed jamboree in just a few weeks. The tool, a customized software, enables the search for suitable skills, creates paths for further development, and helps our resource planning in staffing software projects optimally for our customers.
"Who can help me with this?" – the starting point
As a software service provider, jambit operates in an industry that is constantly facing new technological developments and project requirements. Keeping track of skills and latest technologies is a complex challenge and knowledge quickly becomes outdated. However, various jambit stakeholders need reliable information on that. For example, developers need support for questions around projects, jambit's recruiting is looking for necessary expertise when we need candidate interviewers for technical interviews, and jambit's resource planning needs knowledge about existing skills for the optimal staffing of customer projects. What all perspectives have in common: identifying skills of 350 employees without spending a lot of time or making mistakes is very difficult. How do you solve this need, codify the knowledge, and make it accessible to everyone?
The solution: customized software for skill management
In late summer of 2020, a small team of jambitees started the search for a new tool. In a joint workshop, the most important requirements and use cases were defined. Subsequently, jambitees analyzed the market for existing solutions. In the area of skill management, there is currently a jungle of offers from ERP providers, product developments from startups, and entire enterprise solutions. It quickly became clear that, among other aspects, standard solutions were not an option, especially in terms of the scope of features and usability. The team gradually crossed providers off the list. The expectations of the jambitees differed from the market's offerings in one fundamental aspect in particular: jambit's corporate culture is focused on personal responsibility and trust. The offerings of the established providers, however, often required validation from managers or project leaders when maintaining a predefined "skills catalog". The rapid further development of jambit, the constantly modernizing tech stack, and control procedures that were not compatible with jambit's corporate culture made it clear that we needed a customized tool.
Our approach: must-haves of a tool
A tool that supports a company in making visible and maintaining the skills of its employees must be easy and intuitive to use. It must be fun to work with and encourage people to show their own skills. In addition, it must not intimidate beginners in a company (at jambit we call them newbies).
It was a great experience for me to bring a project from idea to go live and to receive so much positive feedback and ideas for improvement from colleagues already during the first few days. The feeling of having developed a tool that users like to use and want to improve is indescribable.
The development of jamboree
At the end of December 2020, stakeholders from knowledge management and resource planning, developers, and a designer began their official work on the project. Already on February 15, 2021, they celebrated the launch of the beta version. Ever since then, all jambitees can log in to jamboree. The complete application is written in TypeScript from back-end to front-end. The back-end uses current trends like Apollo-Server, Type-GraphQL and MikroORM. PostgreSQL is used as database and migrations are done with Knex. User data is synchronized nightly with Active Directory using Microsoft Graph API. The React front-end communicates with the back-end via GraphQL and Microsoft Single Sign-On (SSO) takes o the login. ESLint rules and the Prettier setup, which are forced during the merge into the master branch, ensure consistent code style.
How does the skill tool work?
jamboree – what does that mean? jamboree is actually a term for international large-scale scout camps. The word stands for the celebration of a "helping hands" culture in which everyone takes responsibility for their environment – an optimal symbol for our skill tool. The use is designed intuitively: A simple login with the company account automatically reveals a neat user interface. You can find contact persons for specific questions or subject areas. At the same time, you can present your own expertise transparently to others. jamboree also offers inspiration for your own development path: Where do I want to develop with my skills? Who has a similar profile and can perhaps serve as a role model for me? The similarity search tool can be used to identify people with a similar skillset. An introduction text for users allows them to place their own topics that they find exciting. The central function is the skills list. In accordance with the guiding principle of personal responsibility, users add their own skills. jamboree enables developers, recruiters, and other interested parties to search for individual skills. The "endorsements" function ensures the quality of the content and the significance of the information. Colleagues confirm each other's skills. It is also always visible which colleague has confirmed a skill. When searching for experts, the jambitees with the most endorsements in the searched skill are displayed first.