Innovation is expensive. We cannot rely on the existing, the proven or the known. It devours a lot of budget. But we don't want to talk (only) about the monetary aspects, but about what innovation demands of us on an emotional level. Our example shows what we have done and what we have failed to do. What we almost failed at but grew in the end.
Let's start with our story from the beginning. With the idea. We wanted to develop something completely new. A place that connects young tech talent and hip ICT companies and institutions. Not a job platform, but a kind of smart "Tinder" for two to find each other. That's how Matchd was born.
«From the beginning, we pursued the vision of an innovative community platform that is not just an ordinary job portal and that allows users to interact. That's how the idea for Matchd, a skill-based dating platform, came about.»
Jasmin Aubry, Project Manager Matchd
We tested the rough concept with the help of a paper prototype and with promising feedback. Accordingly euphoric, we tackled the second part, the development of the web app, with a highly motivated team. The first stumbling block on our way was the Corona-conditioned work from home. We lacked the kind of communication that happens when you sit together in the same room. The online sessions felt artificial and finding solutions required more energy and focus than before. And of course we also missed the after-work beer together and the casual togetherness that comes with it.
The next stumbling block: the expectations we all had. It was great, and so was the disillusionment. It turned out that our ideas were different and our expectations of the final product varied greatly in some cases. And then the onboarding process slowed us down. The mood changed. What happened?
«The frontend developer is where all the threads come together; backend connection, design, UX. That can be very satisfying. Or frustrating, too.»
Kilian Schefer, Frontend Developer
The joint development in the team stalled because too many details were not clarified, not known or not tested. In retrospect, the decision to work with Scrum without support was not the best choice. The iterative revisions of an MVP in the agile sense and the focus on the core functionality that creates the added value were missing. And in the beginning we also lacked the elaboration of the idea: a click dummy. Something visual to build a shared, concrete expectation.
«Scrum is often interpreted in theory as a self-learning tool for self-organised teams as a panacea, whose sensible application with agile methods in a new constellation recommends initial and continuous support.»
Denis Haramincic, Scrum Master
This omission not only cost us time. It also led to tensions in the team. The unmet expectations led to misunderstandings. The slow progress and the ever-approaching deadline caused stress. In the end, we overcame this crisis together. With a lot of hard work, personal commitment and team spirit. And we learned the lesson: the structure for a workflow must meet all needs on the one hand and be understood and lived by all participants on the other. This requires flexibility, because agility does not work to the same extent in every project.
«IT is always technology and people; ideally everything meshes like a wheel. But if this does not succeed, a lot of energy is lost in the processes.»
Timur Sagirosman, Matchd Sub-project Lead
In the end, we mastered every challenge and were able to present Matchd. A web app that not only works, but also corresponds to the innovative basic idea and stands out from all other offers: Matchd brings people together, taking into account "hard" as well as "soft" factors. Technical skills, for example. But also expectations, personal values and wishes. The right people are "matched". The name says it all.
We have succeeded in developing something unique, something regional and tailored to the target group to counteract the shortage of skilled workers. Something Liip is also committed to by providing internships. Matchd is a success: already in the first few months, over 140 students have registered. The budding ICT specialists from Eastern Switzerland are eager to put their skills to the test. As an intern, part-time student, trainee, young professional or as the author of a practice-oriented Bachelor's or Master's thesis.
Despite all the stumbling blocks: Together we have achieved our goal with the MVP. Matchd is being used and the platform will now continue to develop. We have created a good basis. The end is therefore not an end, but a new beginning.
The networking platform Matchd is part of the IT education offensive (ITBO) of the Canton of St.Gallen. The ITBO aims to counteract the lack of skilled workers in the ICT sector and thus strengthen St.Gallen as a business location. The region is to become a leading location in digitalisation, and its citizens are to actively and proactively shape the digital transformation. The IT education offensive takes into account all school levels and includes five focus projects - this has pioneering character throughout Switzerland. Matchd combines education and business, so that the region can develop its full potential.
Pitch: 17 June 2020
Scoping Workshop: 23 July 2020
Kick-off: 29 September
Start of implementation: 4 January 2021
Soft-GoLive (1.0.0): 27 May 2021
GoLive (1.1.0): 1 July 2021
Frontend: Typescript, VueJS 3, Tailwind CSS, D3.js
Backend: Python, Django, Tailwind, GraphQL, ElasticSearch
Infrastructure: CI/CD via Gitlab, Docker