After 15 years, how have our priorities changed? We aren’t the only ones reflecting on this: Victor Trinh was asking himself similar questions about his career when he joined our Innovation Lab. Arriving in time to put Softstart through its paces as one of its first users, his experience as a new hire and his front-end expertise were rapidly put to work to fine-tune the user experience. It’s this infusion of new perspectives to an ever-expanding talent base, that has powered GSoft since our beginnings.
“I’ve always wanted to work in a lab: using the latest tech to power our projects, having the freedom to explore new avenues and methods, side-by-side with a team that shares the desire to push boundaries where they find them.”
Front-end Developer at GSoft’s Innovation Lab
(Re)discovering your passion
Victor honed his skills in full-stack development, but it was when he came across React that he developed his love for the front-end. From there, he worked in finance, on mobile apps and games. The more his career advanced, the more that his daily challenges became everything but what he really wanted to be doing: development. Luckily, that’s a few friends of his started telling him about GSoft.
“At my previous jobs, I could easily spend 60% of my time in meetings. At the lab, we’re talking about less than 5%. I can focus on what I need to be doing, instead,” shares Victor. At the same time, he feels even more connected to the other teams: whether it’s devs, sales, marketing or management, everyone is on the same page. Having less meetings doesn’t mean sacrificing quality communication; if anything, it’s the opposite.”
If an innovation lab is working so closely with the other branches of the company, it’s because they’re not trying to create products in a void. Here, innovation is about answering real-world needs and developing products that generate active users and a satisfied client base.
That’s where Softstart comes in. Its genesis was a simple checklist for facilitating the onboarding of new team members. When we saw the interest that this kernel of an idea was generating, it was time for version 2.0. We wanted to offer added value, offering a human touch to an experience that can often be cold and isolating, especially in the new climate of remote work.
“To arrive on my first day and see that I had video messages from everyone on my team to help me through each step, it was incredible. As team lead, I’ve often been on the other side of the table, and every time you had to start from scratch. With easy templates for each role on the team and the ability to automate paperwork and access red tape, you’re freed up to spend that time making sure your new hire feels at home with their new colleagues and team.”
What are you working on at the moment?
“Through QA and user research for Softstart, we noticed the steps where people were losing steam or abandoning the process entirely. From there, it was about identifying the best solution: do we simplify things, or add smaller steps and new activities to keep the user comfortable and moving forward?
In the end, I redid the entire user interface. Not only for the user, but to clean up the codebase. Softstart will eventually get its own development team and leave the lab, and those devs won’t necessarily be the ones who wrote it!”
A soft start so far, but what does the future bring?
It can also be the chance to create the heart of a new application that will continue to evolve for years to come. “At my first job, I was working with a monolithic app, but our architect was incredibly strict. I learned so much, but I also saw how when we started creating microservices, not every team approached their code with the same rigour.” That just highlights the importance of having a keen eye for detail and a drive for finding not just the right result, but the right method.
The other side of the coin, though, is that there comes a time when you need to say goodbye to your creation. Softstart is the first project that Victor completes with GSoft and he can’t deny feeling a certain sorrow, as much as he’s excited to jump into the lab’s next big thing. You can’t always get everything you want, but if ever the time comes when a project captivates him too much to let go, GSoft didn’t get where it is today by standing in the way of passion.