#211 – Batting Practice

Friday Ship #211 | June 11th, 2020

Parabol Friday Ship Batting Practice Hero

This week, we shipped code from two Parabol developer applicants into production.

Parabol’s remote-first hiring process is designed to build mutual trust between candidates and our organization, transforming people we have never met before into colleagues we have confidence can serve customers and their coworkers. For developer candidates, the ultimate step in our hiring process is the paid Batting Practice.

Two candidates’ Batting Practice projects were shipped into production. Their contributions are significant enough to warrant New Features posts of their own but we want to talk about the process of how these features happened in the first place here.

Pinned agenda items

Over 3 years ago, we captured feedback from users that they desired a means to capture a “standing agenda item” to be used within a weekly Check-In meeting. The need for this feature was validated by several other users at later times and our process led us to investing in creating high-fidelity designs. However, this feature was never prioritized for implementation.

2017 Parabol Check-In Meeting Pinned Agenda Design

Flash-forward to 2020. Parabol is hiring, and we need to identify stand-alone projects developer applicants can tackle during a Batting Practice. We found this feature on our backlog and it met the criteria: well-defined, should take under 20 hours to get 80% of the way, and covered multiple skills. We decided to invest a little time revising our design…

2020 Parabol Check-In Pinned Agenda Item Design

 

...offered it to a developer candidate, et voilà!: Within a week or so, they offered us their pull request. After a review cycle, we merged it to production—marking it for deployment.

This is a feature our team—and many user’s teams—will use every week.

Adding discussion threads to our Check-In meeting

Ever since we added discussion threads to our retrospective meetings, we wanted to bring our Check-In meeting up to feature parity. We knew this work would make a great Batting Practice and wrote up an issue. In less than a week, the developer offered her pull request and along with pinned agenda items, it made its way into production.

Parabol Check-In Meeting Discussion Thread

The power of open-source

Batting Practice candidates are able to leverage our open-source repository to browse our source code, its history, documentation, and rationale behind the decisions we’ve made. And, while we hope that every Batting Practice goes well and each candidate we work with results in a hire—should a hire not result, at the least the candidate has the opportunity to reference their work which will live on in our public repository—fully linkable and reviewable by anybody—as proof of their talent.

Metrics

 
11-Jun-2020 Parabol Friday Ship Metrics

The metrics were mixed this week. Top of funnel traffic fell some 5%. New user registrations were down 8% and MAU were down 1%, too. However, 6% more meetings were held on the platform. With the uncertainty in the market, it’s difficult to get a hold onto what’s a data point and what’s a trend. As we look into the data, there are some obvious areas to address. Aside from the areas within our ability to affect, it’s difficult to guess what will happen next...

This week we…

completed a major update linking data between our database and CRM. New data in our CRM will now allow for more accurate and powerful analytics reports for user metrics.

earned an article from one of our great users (who’ve we’ve never met!) on Medium about How-to use Parabol for remote retrospectives. We were grateful to hear from a satisfied user and learn about his experience using Parabol with his teams.

shipped v5.10. This release included 2 user-facing updates to the Team Agenda phase of the Check-In meeting: pinned agenda items and discussion threads. We also pushed an updated UI for confirming how to advance or end the meeting. See the full changelog

Next week we’ll…

kick off Sprint 58 and welcome a new colleague to join this sprint in earnest. We’ll introduce you to them soon!


Have feedback? See something that you like or something you think could be better? Leave a public response here, or write to us.

 

Jordan Husney

Jordan Husney spent 20+ years helping technology serve people. His passion for collaboration, agile development, and remote teams led him to start Parabol, a free online retrospective tool.