From a student project to a game-changing tool for Exove

Springtime at our organization also means starting the annual summer development discussion round. During this season, we gather valuable feedback from our colleagues in different parts of the organization. As valuable as the collection of feedback is, it has also been very time-consuming and prone to errors, requiring manual checks to ensure all feedback was collected and that everyone participated adequately. Recognizing these challenges, we sought a more efficient solution. Our goal was clear: automate the process of creating, distributing, and tracking feedback links, while also sending reminders and notifications to ensure everyone’s participation. This challenge is no longer an issue, as we now have our own colleague feedback tool that started as a student project and ended up as a pivotal solution for us.

How it all started

The project started as a collaboration between Exove and Helsinki Business College. Exove presented the critical challenge to groups of students in the Helsinki Business College Fullstack Web Developer program, tasking them with conceptualizing and designing a solution within a defined technological framework. The students faced the challenge of integrating the various technical requirements, ensuring user-friendly navigation, and designing intuitive dashboards for both the People Operations team and feedback contributors.

Turning vision into reality

One of the paticipating students was Anna Petelin, who joined Exove as a summer trainee after the completion of the project collaboration with Helsinki Business College. As a trainee Anna took full ownership of the project and as it progressed, she assumed responsibility for refining and completing the app, navigating challenges such as security and data management. 

To make the app completely usable took a further 3 months after the student project ended. The app was finally launched for use in August and has now been used as a part of Exove’s processes. While Anna was mostly working on the project by herself, she also got valuable help from other Exovians in devOps and for the back and frontend. 

What now?

Since the launch, the feedback tool has received a lot of positive feedback for its user interface and experience. Comments have highlighted among other things the achievement of an ‘Exovian vibe’ in the user interface. 

The project entailed some steep learning curves around technology, databases, security and customer experiences as well as expectations. During the project development phase, the importance of project management also became clear. 

In the end, you could say it was a lot of work for newbies, but as a whole a very exciting project where the result was going to be something that was really used in the future.

Anna Petelin, Developer at Exove

Since the launch, new features have been implemented as well as improvements to existing ones to elevate user experience. In other words, this year we have a tool for our Development discussions that is very practical and significantly speeds up the process. We at Exove are extremely impressed with the work both she and the whole group did! Who knows, maybe the tool can be used outside of Exove in the future.

Who is Anna, the developer behind the tool?

Anna started at Exove last summer as a trainee and has since then moved up to a full-time full-stack developer position. Anna has her roots in Australia, where she graduated as a geologist. While her original experience and education are not connected to programming, she noticed herself growing an interest towards it back in 2018. It all started with self-studying and came full circle when she started the Full-stack web developer program at Helsinki Business College. 

It has been really amazing that in a couple of years I was able to get a full-time job in the field.

Anna Petelin, Developer at Exove

When asked what the best thing at Exove is, the answer is immediately ‘work culture’ Anna describes the work culture at Exove as super friendly, relaxed and supportive. She also highlights the fact that people at Exove like to do things together, there is a wide variety of experts and it is fairly diverse as tech goes. People are good at sticking to the Exove values and you really feel that people care about the quality of their work. 

In the future, Anna hopes to get better at what she is doing and wants to focus on improving in relevant technologies and get more confidence as a developer. This year she has also been highly involved in improving the Colleague Feedback tool and making it ready for the next development discussions. 

“We began the 2024 round of improvements in February this year with a dedicated Project Manager. There has been a lot more structure to the development process this year as it is now a fully-fledged internal project rather than a student project. I was also given the opportunity to be tech-lead and was provided with a tech-lead mentor, which has been valuable. It was more of a team-effort this year compared to the development that took place within Exove last year, as Exovian newcomer Kiran Joy Kulangara also joined the project development team as a backend developer and made important contributions.  It has been great to have a small ‘team’ to rubber-duck with too. The launch this year went far more smoothly and it has been really nice to see it working.” – Anna Petelin, Developer at Exove

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