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The Covid-19 pandemic forced my team to work remotely from home instead of working together in the same office space. It became much more difficult to have Scrum meetings, like Refinement meetings or Retrospective sessions.
For refinement meetings I found a free online tool that helps remote teams with Story-point voting. It worked fine, but there were a few little things the tool didn’t support. So the idea was born to implement a similar tool by myself.
Just two days later I deployed the first version of my so called “Planning Poker” tool. I was amazed and proud that it took me only two evenings, from initial idea to deployed service. Within my team we also tried different online tools for retrospective sessions, but I wasn’t happy with any of the existing ones. Powered by the motivation of the successful launch of the planning poker tool, I decided to build my own Retrospective tool. Just about two weeks later we were using the first pre-alpha version during our team retrospective session. The UI was bad and it had a very limited feature set, but hey, it was working. In the following months I added more and more features and improvements and in August 2020 I announced the beta launch of fraankly on Reddit.
A couple of weeks later a few thousand people were actively using fraankly on a monthly basis. I got a lot of positive feedback and that motivates me to continue working on new features. Now, this is not a one-man show anymore. We grew in to an international team with all sorts of exciting characters to make sure we deliver the best retrospective experience out there.
Our fraankly journey is kind of incredible. This all started as a one-man show but quickly evolved into a multi-national team working hard to provide our customers the best service possible.
We even quickly faced the question if we continue bootstrapped or if we want to bring an investor on board. For now, we decided to build fraankly as a bootstrapped business because that’s the way we can serve our customers best.
Working with a distributed team ourselves, we experience and face a lot of the challenges all of our customers do as well. That’s why we build fraankly and that’s why everyone is committed to the vision of building tools that give every single team member a voice.
We experienced first hand that thriving teams that share ideas and make them a reality require a tool or (better „and“ but both is hard ;)) a culture that does not hold back creative energy, doubt, goals and craziness.
Building as a team while just being ourselves is amazing. That’s what we want to share. We absolutely love to enable teams to perform at their best.