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Dashlane’s Got Talent

Originally published:|Last updated:|Dashlane

On the Dashlane blog, you can read interesting articles on topics such as our recent rebranding, the engineering recruitment process, and even very technical yet fascinating posts about our choice of technology.

And although you might gain an idea of how we work at Dashlane after reading them, there's something missing: What about life at Dashlane? What does it mean to be a Dashlaner beyond our day-to-day work?

Let's take an example: the Paris team decided to organize a puppet show for the new year's party. At Dashlane, we attach importance to every project, and people's commitment is tangible. A show creation is not an exception to the rule. 

A project will always start with the outline of a plan. In this case (as often) we created a Confluence page. Then, a project manager was appointed to monitor the progression of the main areas (story, puppets, actors, stage, music, and communication), and to update the details of each area on the page, following a roadmap. The primary goal was to have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), then iterate to improve it. 

A timeline draft

Dashlaners from many teams (Product, Engineering, People, and Admin) stepped forward to participate in the project. We organized weekly meetings, took notes, and provided feedback on each element. To make things easier we split up the planning into teams. Each team had a leader to coordinate, and members to make everything happen. Ownership is key for tying up all loose ends.

Like a Santa's little helper, I lent a hand here and there, observing the passion of each and every member, something we love at Dashlane.

When I joined the company, I witnessed the creativity that is part of being a Dashlaner, but it was still amazing to see the artistic ideas flow during the meetings, with crazy, clever, funny ideas popping out from everyone. The show was coming together under our very eyes after each iteration, first the core part (story, actors) then all the other elements (music, stage, and props). 

We had fun doing the rehearsals with everyone on stage and around: we knew that the show was good when we finally had our beautiful story played by amazing actors, and supported by talented musicians.

Stage preparation 
Waiting for the show
Leeloo the Queen, Argon the Wizard, and PBKDF2 the Magic Box

So far so good? Well, almost.

Like any other project, the introduction of last-minute changes adds risk.
In our case, we included an audio system to play and record both actors and musicians, a camera to record footage of the show, and some slides to allow the public to sing along during the last scene, karaoke-style.

And guess what? All the elements we introduced had an issue during the show. Why? Because we didn't test them, and ownership of those elements wasn't clearly defined.

We had the audio system, but we didn't do the soundcheck during the last rehearsal due to lack of time, only to realize that a recording cable was missing minutes before going on stage.

So, in order to solve it, the show kicked off with a 20-minute delay. Later, we realized that the camera ran out of battery because we had just set it up without checking this trivial thing.

Last but not least, some lyrics in the karaoke slides were missing, and the person in charge of changing the slides (well, me) wasn't familiar with the songs, so the refresh rate was freestyle.

On the customer side, the show was a success. Kids were happy and the parents happier, with Dashlaners cheering us and praising the performance. On our side, we shipped to production even knowing that we missed elements that would have produced a perfect quality experience. Unlike a software shipping, we didn't have a second version to fix the bugs.  

So what's the moral of the story? Well, you can have an outstanding result, and yet have a broken process. But keep in mind that maybe you just got lucky. And even when you have a talented team, quality is everyone's responsibility and testing is essential to ensure it.

Indeed, Dashlane's got talent.

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