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Product
Flairs
Knowledge Hub for Software Teams

Overview

Flairs enables technical leaders to make better decisions regarding their team members. How? It automatically detects over 65k technologies used within the team as well as trending tech topics. Company and team leaders can see at a glance what people are able to work with and which technologies they want to use in the future. Fifteen types of insights presented in Flairs are invaluable for employee development, allocating people to new projects, or keeping teams engaged and satisfied with their work.

Flairs is an example of Apptension’s extensive product development capabilities. We’ve worked on it from the ideation stage, helped to secure an early investment, and, finally, launched an MVP.

The challenge: keeping programmers engaged and stimulate their growth

As a CTO or a technical team leader, you’re faced with a considerable challenge as your team grows: staying on top of everyone’s skills and tech wishlists. It’s easy to remember that someone wanted to try out React when your team is small. When it’s, say, over 25 people—it’s getting borderline impossible.

At the same time, it’s crucial to know what’s going on in your company tech-wise: who’s learning which technologies, what kind of tools (libraries, frameworks, languages) are used in all of the projects your team is working on, which emerging solutions excite your employees. Team members who don’t feel that their wants and needs are acknowledged may feel burnt out and, ultimately, accept another job offer. Keeping tabs on your team’s tech skills is also beneficial for your company’s bottom line: you can assign the most suitable people for each project, which will likely increase its success rate. You will also be aware of new tools in your team’s skill set, which will help you expand your company’s tech offering.

You can’t make these decisions without having a digestible overview of your team’s tech knowledge. Luckily, Flairs can solve this problem once and for all.

Flairs: a knowledge hub for software teams

Flairs integrates with the tools your technical teams use every day: GitHub, Bitbucket, Slack, etc., so all you have to do is plug Flairs into your team’s toolbox. In an instant, Flairs will analyze different people’s technical contributions (e.g., pull requests) and detect the technologies used within them. From now on, every new snippet of code shared by your team members will further enrich your insights.

This data is presented in the form of a tech radar to give you a visual summary of technologies used within your company and people who are utilizing them.

You can dig deeper to see what kind of technologies are used in particular teams or by specific people. You get a full context, so you’ll know that, say, someone has already used a given JS library in three different projects.

Flairs will also store relevant tech topics that people talk about. Has someone shared a Python-related link on Slack? You will be able to see it in Flairs together with other links about a given technology. This feature solves yet another challenge for tech teams: storing educational and inspirational resources. With Flairs, you can discover all content related to a particular technology in one place and see who has shared it and when.

Useful insights for all team members

Flairs helps leaders understand their teams better and make informed decisions, but regular employees also appreciate the insights generated by the app. Imagine that you’re a programmer working for a software house employing 50 engineers. You’re trying to figure out which emerging libraries might be useful for you in future projects. Checking out the tech radar available in Flairs, you can see what types of technologies are utilized by other people on your team. You know whom to talk to about different tools, which solutions are worth catching up on, etc.

Flairs also enables developers to make their tech preferences more transparent to their managers. As an employee, you can also make a list of your current tech skills plus outline technologies you want to learn in the future. With that in mind, your team leader can allocate you to a project that will accelerate your professional growth.

Flairs is a product we’ve created 100% in-house: from business strategy to software development—the whole product development process was done by Apptension.

Ideation and Product Strategy

The very existence of the problem we’re trying to solve was clear to us from the get-go. As a software company, we faced similar challenges when it comes to recognizing and organizing the skills of our growing team.

Our confidence in the idea, as well as ample experience in software development, helped us to quickly secure a sizable investment from a business angel.

The next milestone for our strategy team was to refine Flairs’ product-market fit and create a product strategy that would help us build an app people love to use. During the user research phase, we analyzed the reactions of industry people to our idea and tested different ways of communicating the features we were about to build. It turned out, for example, that some benefits of the product like “personalized insights” were very appealing to potential customers while wording the same thing as “personalized feedback” made the purpose of the app unclear and resulted in unfavorable comments.

Based on the feedback, we decided to fine-tune our product’s positioning and focus on the aspects people responded positively to. This was when we were ready to work on the design of the app.

Product Design

Flairs is meant to make sense of insights that were, up to this point, unavailable or in disarray—the design had to facilitate this goal. Our priority was to create an interface that’s informative yet easily readable. We achieved this with the tech radar, which gives our customers a simple way to analyze the big picture of their team’s knowledge. If they want, they can drill down the data and focus on particular projects, people, or technologies.

The overall look and feel of the app has been inspired by the environment our core users spend their workdays in—it feels techy, but in a modern, interactive sense.

Software Development

The success of an app that’s supposed to automatically detect and classify data relies on the effectiveness of the underlying algorithm—and ours is a very powerful one.

We have created a classification algorithm that’s able to recognize 65k different technologies (frameworks, libraries, toolkits) analyzing the code your team members write. We’ve optimized it for JavaScript and Python syntax, which are the main technologies used by our client base, but the algorithm can detect other languages as well.

The frontend of Flairs has been written in React, with libraries like vx, nivo and react-spring allowing us to provide highly interactive insights.

AI-powered knowledge base – Thanks to Natural Language Processing, Flairs can detect tech-related links in your team’s Slack conversations and group content around specific technologies. Such a knowledge base is comprehensive, relevant, and searchable.

Enterprise scalability – Flairs has been created with flexibility in mind, which is why we use the Serverless Framework and run the app with AWS Lambda. We also offer a private Platform as a Service solution that can be provisioned in the customer’s AWS account. It’s a perfect option for organizations that want to keep all of the data in their own infrastructure.

What’s next for Flairs?

Even though it has launched very recently, Flairs is already enabling several companies to understand their team’s technical skillset better. We’ve also made the app available to a London-based community of frontend developers. In the near future, we want to keep supporting programming communities and create a dedicated plan for freelancers who will be able to use Flairs as an interactive technical resume.

Our team will be working on features that will empower Flairs’ customers to create custom insights about their teams, analyzing, for example, project management-related data.

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Credits

CEO
Zbigniew Czarnecki
CPO
Daniel Capeletti
CTO
Patryk Ziemkowski
Art Director
Karol Góreczny
UX/UI Designer
Daniel Gutowski
Backend Developer
Filip Wolwowicz
Backend Developer
Bartosz Koniński
Frontend Developer
Jakub Wiśniewski
Frontend Developer
Martin Kmieciak
QA Specialist
Arkadiusz Buchholz
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