How Jobilla built their product organisation around Delibr

With help from Delibr, Jobilla created a dedicated space for all things product

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The Company

Founded in 2016 in Helsinki, Jobilla is a trailblazer within modern recruitment technology. Through their platform, relying on digital advertising and content driven marketing, Jobilla helps companies across Europe identify and connect with the best talent around, even candidates that are not actively looking for a new job.

The Challenge

Jobilla is a great example of a company that has long focused on the concept of empowered engineers and designers (if you haven't heard about this concept, we advise you to read Marty Cagan's excellent article about it here).

Antti Rössi, Co-founder and CTO, explains why this has been important, "One of the reasons was that for a long time we didn't have a dedicated Product Owner. This meant that we needed our engineers and designers to take ownership of the product. Handing down requirements isn’t something we believe in. As an example, when we hire, we don't look for a front-end developer, or a back-end developer, we look for a product developer."

However, the negative consequences of not having a Product Owner was that Jobilla was lacking clear structure around prioritisation and preparation of their work. Mainly, user centric discussions like problem analysis and research were often lacking.

In 2019, when Jobilla decided that they wanted to, and could, allocate resources for a Product Owner, they began researching how other companies are working with for instance preparing features and epics for development.

This meant that there were at least three different places where conversations relating to the same feature were captured. The disconnect often led to misalignment and frustration between the teams, and created redundancy.

"What we really needed was a way to capture our user centric discussions, a way to structure our conversations."

- Antti Rössi, Co-founder and CTO

As part of this they tried several tools for capturing what Antti refers to as "product discussions". Rizqi Djamaluddin, UX engineer at Jobilla, puts it succinctly: "What we really needed was a way to capture our user centric discussions, a way to structure our conversations. Structuring was always the key problem. Whenever we're discussing something we have a strong tendency to go into depth first. We will go all the way down into a problem, then back up. All the way down the next problem, and then up again. Normal text editors just don't work for that".

The Solution

The idea of trying out Delibr came after Leo Sjöberg, lead developer and architect, came back from a visit to another company which was using Delibr. Leo and the rest of the team initially started out at a small scale, using Delibr to prepare a couple of epics.

As they were preparing the epics, they came to the realisation that the UI of Delibr helped steer their conversations in a helpful way. The bullet structure, which allows for collapsing parts of a document, fitted perfectly with their top-down approach for problem solving.

"I was heavily impressed by the tree structures in Delibr. What I really like is that we can have deep discussions, collapse them and leave them, but still have a broad top-down view."

- Antti Rössi, Co-founder and CTO

From there on Jobilla decided that Delibr was going to be the dedicated tool for documentation and collaboration on "all things product", including:

  • Quarterly OKRs
  • Preparing epics and features for Jira
  • Persona and use case mapping
  • Problem discovery

The Result

When asked what the results have been so far, Antti highlights three areas where he has seen clear improvements.

1) Increased productivity

2) Increased transparency

3) Improved user centred thinking

The increase in productivity comes mainly from how the UI of Delibr helps to organise information in an efficient way. The separation of plain text with for instance questions has made readability better. The Jira integration has been a success, not only because it saves time when they create user stories, but also because it allows them to refine features from end-to-end in a single place. This gives them a better overview of the big picture.

The increased transparency has a lot to do with the fact that there's now a designated tool for all of the aforementioned "product discussions". Previously these were happening all over the place (Google docs, Confluence, Jira, Slack etc.), making it hard for people, especially business stakeholders, to stay updated.

Last but not least, and actually one thing that Antti and the team didn't foresee when they started using Delibr, was the positive effects on user centred thinking. When introducing a clearer separation between the user perspective and the technical perspective, it helps them focus on the right things.

"Making a separation between the formal structure of refining the problem and the user stories versus the technical aspects helps our people focus on the task at hand. When we guide them, via the templates we have in Delibr, and the structure incorporated in the templates, it helps everyone to look at refinement more objectively. This opens up to think about the problem from the users perspective, instead of for instance technical details, which is very important" says Antti.


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