“They need to feel like part of a plan"
What are you working on right now?
At Bolighed, which is about making being a homeowner in Denmark easier and more transparent, we’re constantly working on new functions for our users. It’s a data-driven website where you can find a lot of information about homes for sale and homes that might be for sale – which is our own product where you can test the market for your own home. You can also check the estimated market value of all homes that aren’t for sale, take the temperature of the market, the relative bargaining power of buyers and sellers, an index for the most attractive locations and much more.
How do you handle knowledge sharing within the team?
Our basic tool is Jira, which means that everyone can follow along with the whole project while staying focused on their own tasks at the same time. The ten members of the team are all consultants, and they’ve tried a lot of different tools, but Jira was the best fit for our case.
We can streamline the entire workflow and split it up into feature development, improvements and so on. We have the entire history of the project on a shared platform where we can assign tasks, run sprints and generally speaking work in an agile way using Scrum terminology and methods. You can decide whether you want to use Jira in a looser way or very strictly and by the book. We chose a light version with knowledge sharing and process management that gives you the flexibility for self-organization within the team. This is what gives the best results.
The drawback with Jira is that it can do an insane number of things. You have to invest time and resources into using it right, into educating and training people and insisting that everyone use the program. It took us two or three months to get to the point where we could use the Jira properly – including on a mental level. Just like with every other kind of IT, things don’t happen by themselves. But being forced to work in a different way than you usually do is also a strength. At first, I was a little skeptical about Jira, but the program integrates both vertically and horizontally, and I think it’s worth the time we’ve invested.
What other forms of knowledge sharing do you use?
We use stand-ups when we need to, which are also part of the Scrum package, as well as weekly spring planning/review meetings. We also use Slack, which integrates with Jira. We have different channels or chat forums we use for knowledge sharing that everyone has access to. Jira runs on its own channel through Slack, but we also have other channels like ‘Ideas’, ‘General’ and a one-to-one chat for specific tasks. Slack is a good supplement to Jira that takes care of day-to-day operational knowledge sharing, for example if you can’t get something to work or there’s a bug, files need to be uploaded, and so on.
What challenges are you dealing with in your current project?
The eternal challenge when it comes to knowledge sharing: not everyone needs all the details about everything. But everyone needs to understand the overall strategy. They need to feel like they’re part of an overall plan and to know what the goal of the project is. So it’s about balance, as with everything else. Sometimes we get the balance right, and other times you spend too much time on the system and too little time on the work.
What do you think is the most interesting aspect of knowledge sharing?
Giving the team the optimal conditions for performing their work in the best possible way, so that they get the most out of our resources and don’t have to wait for each other. If my team has the right level of knowledge and participation in things, I also get happier employees. At the same time, of course, it’s also fun to be part of a project like Bolighed, which is an innovative, disruptive project that fills a gap in the market.