2020 is (finally) over. New Year has always been a time for reflection, we can look back at our achievements from the past year and create resolutions for the new one. Hopefully making better engineers along the way. For us this review included an assessment of our knowledge sharing culture in Appliscale. We feel we have made some great improvements over the last 18 months and would like to share them below.
Until 2020 our knowledge sharing had a little of Schrodinger’s Cat about it, it was there, but it was unclear who would take care of it. In the past year we managed to pull-off a “fully managed” Weekly Knowledge Sharing system conducted by a small team of our employees and a Slackbot 🤖 As the name suggests it’s been held on a weekly basis since then. WKS is an excellent forum for everybody to share their newest findings or try to interest others with their favourite not-only-technology topics. The formula is very elastic – we do presentations, lightning talks, tutorials, conference summaries, video sessions and much more. Because we are a software house, most of the topics are related to programming and stuff around it, but we also try to broaden our knowledge on less “techy” topics like “Happiness at work” or “Project success factors”. As the topics’ types vary, it’s also natural that those are presented by various people. The WKS is not only for engineers, everyone is very welcome on either end. We had our project managers or marketing team presenting, and they also listened to some of the “tech” sessions.
We kicked off 2020 with full speed, having two external guests visit in January/February, but then the Pandemic happened. Although this didn’t stop our initiative, we could no longer invite people to our office and switched to remote meetings. Since we have a remote-friendly approach in Appliscale, luckily this situation wasn’t that hard for us. Some of you may have seen the social media post about our achievements. It looks like we spent more than 2,020 minutes presenting and listening to others’ presentations. We have “used” 47 Fridays to do so 🙂 17 times we talked about things that weren’t about coding at all! Some of the most unique sessions included a tale The Snail and the Whale ported to the realities of our business and an Among Us skirmish (It’s about sharing the knowledge, right?). The bright side of technology is that (mostly) everything can be preserved for long periods of time. We took advantage of this and added 17 new recordings to our constantly growing Knowledge Sharing video library during the past year. As you can see, we have been very successful with organizing those.
2020 brought another significant change to the WKS – a Slackbot. As a fan of automation I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t create a tool that makes my life easier, and that’s how the “WKS Concierge” came to virtual life. It’s a simple app, made rather for fun, it doesn’t help a lot although it does help. Due to lack of free time the functionality is small – our employees can use it to submit their topics to WKS, which then are reviewed by the human part of our WKS team and scheduled properly. Another functionality that I managed to implement was automated recording of our WKS sessions. This feature is pretty nice although still very buggy. Nevertheless WKS Concierge helped us to record 3 WKS-es in 2020 and we plan to improve this score in 2021! Of course the list of new functionalities is almost endless. We will try to add some of them during this year so the slackbot can be more useful to our cause.
We’re all very excited about the new year 2021 and endless possibilities that it can bring to our WKS formula. We have some big challenges for this year planned for both – backend and frontend sides 🙂 If you find this an appealing way of broadening your knowledge and you’re currently on the hunt for a nice job go ahead to our career page to get in touch with us! We are always looking for talented individuals.