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Lingo Live: Improving how technology teams communicate

Industry

Education

Company Size

107

Location(s)

New York, NY

Learning a new language is hard work and the technology industry has been trying to find better ways to do it for decades. Lingo Live takes away the stress for people working in the technology industry looking to improve their communication abilities for their career by pairing software engineers with real live coaches.

Lingo Live helps accelerate learning through building real relationships between tutors and team members. By giving them someone they can connect with, learners are able to pick up the nuances of English faster, and connect with their team by finding their own voice.

With learning partners across the globe from Thailand to San Francisco, Lingo Live needed a way to capture user feedback and prioritize it across the company, rather than only within the engineering organization.

At Lingo Live, Clubhouse helps the whole team plan for the future and make their learning tools even better.

From many tools to one

Anthony Ferrara, Chief Technology Officer at Lingo Live, says that “before we used Clubhouse, we tried every tool imaginable.” With engineering in one tool and the rest of the organization in others Anthony said that “it was literally taking probably 30 hours a week of cleaning and maintenance, just to keep things understandable.”

With the array of tools being used it was hard to communicate what engineering was working on, because there was a lack of visibility. Anthony noted that “we kept running into issues with other teams not knowing what we were doing, or visibility into the status. "

When I discovered Clubhouse, it struck me as the right mix of structure and simplicity to get everyone on-board. What it allowed us to do was spend only a little bit more, and get everyone at the company in it weekly, not just engineering. The ability to have the entire team inside Clubhouse, rather than only the engineering team, was a complete game changer.Anthony Ferrara, Chief Technology Officer, Lingo Live

Improved workflows

The Lingo Live team creates simple workflows that make life easier and keep everyone in sync with Clubhouse. They’ve wired up custom Google Forms with the Clubhouse API, which lets anyone in the company fill in a simple structured form with the details of a bug, and it instantly appears as a Story in Clubhouse.

To provide better transparency, engineering receives alerts through the Clubhouse Slack integration when new Stories or comments are added, which helps different teams understand when work will be completed and reduces the amount of times people need to check in about the status of a job.

Engineers are free to pick up their own Stories, and Clubhouse helps with that, Anthony said. “I’m not assigning people’s tickets. I like it to be a self-maintained group, and people should be able to volunteer for it.”

Because of this flexibility, Anthony leverages the high-level overviews daily to get insight into the team without diving in too deeply. “Clubhouse makes it easy to do this while providing developers with support by looking at their workload in the Status view.” That lets him get a “high level overview and make sure nobody is overloaded, or in need of help.”

Anthony says that “more than 75 percent of the company is using Clubhouse every week” to plan their projects or provide feedback about the roadmap. Having everyone in one place has been a great experience after years of jumping between different tools.

Prioritization insights

As the company has grown, prioritization became more important. Giving cross-team insight into what’s being built has become a core part of why Lingo Live uses Clubhouse.

Suzanne Frush, Product Manager at Lingo Live, said that “what’s been pivotal has been allowing people to see what we’re building, and why it’s taking longer to get built.” On top of that, Clubhouse is used as a system for capturing insights about features from users and across the company, in order to learn whether or not it was a success.

As Lingo Live’s Learner Success Managers talk to their students, they take notes with any feedback the user has about the platform and fill that into another Google Form which populates Clubhouse.

As a Product Manager, Suzanne values those insights because they help her prioritize the roadmap better. She said that

As we iterate on features that we’ve released, being able to review the feedback at a glance and understand what didn’t go so well, or the volume of feedback, helps us understand where to go next.Suzanne Frush, Product Manager

In Clubhouse, Lingo Live uses Epics to focus on staying agile as a development team. Epics are created early, even if they represent features not yet on the roadmap or clearly defined, so that they can be developed more as the team understands requirements.

Suzanne keeps ‘future’ epics in Clubhouse for ideas that don’t fit in the immediate roadmap which are there for when engineering has downtime. “This helps everyone understand that these are nice to haves that we’ll build if we have a slow week. Recording them in Clubhouse means they aren’t lost forever, and it avoids repeating the same conversations about why it isn’t done.”

By tracking everything in one place, regardless of whether or not the feature will be built in the short term, everyone is kept on the same page. Both Suzanne and Anthony see immense value in tracking everything, because they’re able to see trends emerge as a result of user feedback and adjust their roadmap to accommodate popular requests.