Saturday, September 1, 2012

Story of a DisCo project at Sokrati

 This is about a side-project we did at Sokrati, I hope people are not at Sokrati still be able to connect it.
One fine day Gouthami came to me and asked, "Dude, Ashish has asked me to setup intranet and talk to you regarding this." I was like, yeah I've heard about it, oh yes, we did a DisCo about it. DisCo? yeah thanks to Santosh we've a wiki for that too :) 
With my sprints running behind the schedule and no more 20% time allocation to disco, there was hardly any chance for me to be actively involved in it. But, with that I remembered we've a new joinee Sameer who is working on, so I took my chance believing if he could build the external facing site why not an internal site. Vishal, Pardeep and I had done the research earlier that there are many platforms available but BuddyPress meets our requirement and thankfully Sameer knew it. He got the basic version up in less than two days, then I gave him overview of all functionality needed in the system and he swiftly got them incorporated and set the ball rolling.
Still, Sameer and I being developers were not enough for giving the site aesthetic uplift. Our only option out there was Apoorva. Gouthami and I took Ashish's consent to rope in her. She had to first design a logo but for that we needed a name, till then we were calling it sokrati_social. Many suggestions came up but nothing could be finalized and one day while we were discussing it in Erawati's compound, Santosh came in and said, "wassup dude". Instantly Gouthami said why not "WassupDude" for intranet. I found it great too since we all kind of use that phrase, it would help connect very easily and intranet is in a way is about knowing wassup with everybody. Within a day or two Apoorva designed ten odd logos and we finalized the current one. Following weekend, I saw the movie "The Social Network" and there comes a scene where Sean Parker says, "Drop the 'The.' Just 'Facebook.' It's cleaner." That was the Eureka moment for me too, I thought, we need to drop 'dude' from wassupdude, would sound much better (cleaner). Don't connect too many dots here and try to find logic in this, I know it sounds a little weird. :) 
We were using default layout but from the free world could not come up with anything that was impressive. But still demoed it to Ashish who came back to me as, "Dude, those buttons suck, you've to improve the look and feel." After getting convinced no free layout is good enough for us and with a little skepticism we bought BuddyBoss. Default one was okay but Apoorva gave it nice touches to it by suggesting changes to background, header and other items. Sameer quickly integrated them and Apoorva reviewed it which went on for couple of iterations. At one time, Apoorva said those tri-angles are not symmetrical on boarder of header bar. I was actually getting mad in my head CampaignSync is failing with RateExceededError and why on earth anybody would care about buttons and tri-angles. Well, it turns out if you want to build a product which people are happy to use, you have to think of everything right from how it looks, how easily it can be used, what all use-cases should be added, how do you make it secure and even what it is called.
Finally with all things in place and missing many deadlines, we zeroed in launching it with August-AllHands. But, before that we wanted to do a good promotion, Apoorva and Gouthami came up with wonderful ideas of putting up a WASSUP wall and creating a launch video. A launch video would contain everyone right from security-guy to Asha saying wassup also it'd capture responses to crazy questions. Instantly, it hit me, the only guy with the right flair to do this would be Teju that's how he became party to our team and rest is history.
What started as Ashish's resolve to get it done, the wassup-team was formed and we got an intra-net. Well, if we were to first think of a team and implement intra-net, I am not sure if we could have formed a team with such equal distribution of blokes across different teams and floors we have. Along this journey, I got to know all the folks better, Sameer might not speak-up in meetings but can get things done as good as others. As I earlier thought, all work HR-folks have on their plate, Gouthami is way more loaded than that. Apoorva might wanna paint everything pink but she makes great choices with UI and pretty fun to work with too and Teju, dude was roped in last minute but without making a single fuss joined the team as he was always there and did such a fab job with launch-video. I guess this in reality is the essence of a DisCo project.

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