The Next Generation: Starting Over When You Know You Won’t Fail

By David Hassell

**UPDATE** Thanks to TechCrunch for covering the launch of 15Five 2.0.

15Five started out as an experiment, to see if what we thought was a good idea would actually work in real life to the true benefit of hard-working people.  Inspired by the Lean Startup philosophy, we rapidly built our backend technology and designed a UI to quickly get the idea out to the world and see how people would respond.

Not only did we find that 15Five worked, but all of our initial expectations were blown away by how many people adopted the tool, and started telling stories about how 15Five was positively impacting their customers, lives and workplaces.

Since that time, just over a year ago, we have listened to our passionate customers, learned a ton, and discovered a few things that could make 15Five a lot better — some of which would require substantial changes to the way we had developed our initial product.

At the point where we’d proven we had a product that worked, that customers loved, and could clearly see a vision of 10x, 100x, or even 1,000x more companies using 15Five, we huddled together and asked ourselves, “If we could start over today, knowing that our good idea was for sure going to work, and knowing everything we know now, how would we design 15Five?”

Here’s what we came up with:

We’d create a more flexible paradigm for how managers and employees relate and communicate, such as changing permissions for how different groups of people can see each other.  This would allow us to support many more types of organizations, beyond standard hierarchies, including more modern matrix-style organizations.

We’d heavily invest in a beautiful user interface, carefully crafting each and every experience. We design software for human beings and believe that every pixel counts in our quest for elegant simplicity. This would create a delightful and easy experience for our customers, delivering a service they could say they truly loved.

We’d build on Python/Django, a much more modern language and framework than our initial version built on PHP/CodeIgniter.  This would allow us to develop more rapidly, be more enjoyable for our developers, and help us attract the best talent long into the future.

We’d invest in an integrated test and build suite, allowing us to quickly regression test the entire application each time we made a change, and effortlessly push new updates to our production environment.  This would allow us to be much more responsive to our customers and the market with the ability to push out frequent new updates.

Initially, it was a question of actualizing our customers feedback and improving the existing product, but as we thought more and more about it, we got excited about the possibility of really starting again from scratch.

So we did.

This is how we built 15Five 2.0, with all of this in mind, and for this purpose.  We see this is as our starting line, not our finish line.  This is a foundation for us to build on over the next few years, as we continue to develop our service in partnerships with our customers, and roll out new and valuable features on an ongoing basis.

We welcome all feedback and would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and ideas.

My very best,

David Hassell, CEO

Know the pulse of your team each week and improve employee engagement with 15Five.


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