company Blog

1 month ago

Meet the Team: Sergey Gnedin

As a relatively small company, one of our greatest assets is the personal relationship we can cultivate with users. We know many of you by name (don’t panic), we get to read every single piece of feedback you send, and a few of us have even had the chance to visit your offices and see how you work.

To reciprocate this, we’d like to shine a light onto who we are by occasionally sharing team retrospectives, process investigations, and personal interviews. Many of you have probably already chatted with our first victim candidate: Sergey Gnedin, head of support.

Targetprocess Support: Behind the curtains

Hello there!
Hi, Sergey. When did you get started at Targetprocess?
About seven years ago, I was working in QA at an enterprise company. At the time, Targetprocess was just getting started, and they needed someone in support with a technical background, who could reproduce bugs and work on more complex issues. After all, they were providing support for people with QA experience. I had no idea who they were until this dude contacted me about the job. I visited in 2010 and was really impressed. It was a small team, everyone was nice, everything was informal, and decisions were made quickly. I liked the setting, so I quit my enterprise job and came here.
What do you do at Targetprocess?
Well, I’m the head of Customer Support, so most of the time I’m talking to users. We don't have any tiers or levels of support, so you can usually find me in our live chat answering questions and helping out (or making things even more confusing).
Historically, I’m the only official ‘manager’ in the company, because we technically don’t have managers, but I signed on before this trend got started. Our support team works well and no one’s asked for change, so no need to fix what’s not broken. Everyone does a great job, so there’s no need to micromanage or control anything.
We’ve always had some form of strategic board to help steer the company and decide where to go with our products. We value the feedback and opinion of our customers, so I’ve always been a member of these groups as a representative for the users — who I talk to every day.
I was also the Product Owner for our Service Desk for some time, but stepped back from this role a while after its release. I gathered requirements, talked to customers, let them know what we were doing and how we were doing it. Sometimes, a customer would ask for something, I would go to the team, and it would only be 20 minutes from request to production. We can’t do that with Targetprocess, but Service Desk was a nice cozy product. It was a lot of fun.
What was it like trying split time between all these different hats?
It was absolutely difficult to split time between so many work roles. The nature of support work itself is very asynchronous - there can be spikes, loads, quiet hours. Sometimes, there would be a dozen conversations, some with internal teams, some with chats, a phone call coming in, plus high level support contracts with VIP customers. Obviously, any chat from a customer must be quickly prioritized over anything else. Context switching is tough but also intense and fun.
Our support team is spread across four countries and three timezones. What’s it like working with remote teams?
I honestly do prefer co-located teams, as it’s faster to discuss things and brainstorm. But we have group calls, and we all know each other quite well, so overall it’s not really a problem. We have an awesome remote team. One of our guys just moved to South America, which will help improve our hours for the U.S. west coast.
What do you do with your free time?
I spend a lot of time with family. I have a son who’s 4, and very active. He takes up most of my time when he’s not asleep. I also enjoy some sports, gaming, books.

Bonus round:

Coffee or tea?
Coffee, tea after that. ☕ ☕
Favorite hobby?
Going to the gym 🏆
Favorite travel destination?
Singapore 🇸🇬
Favorite video game?
The Witcher series - the third was my favorite. 🔮
Favorite book?
1984 by Orwell 👁️
6 months ago

What it means to be a niche player

Back in May, we announced that Targetprocess had been recognized as a niche player by Gartner’s first ever Magic Quadrant report for Enterprise Agile Planning Tools vendors.

Niche player. What does that mean?

For us, it’s a good thing. Our tool has always been a niche option for Agile teams. Now that Agile has become the norm for enterprise companies, it seems we’ve become a niche option for enterprise Agile as well. We’re comfortable in this sector. We may not have the market presence of Atlassian, but we’re able to pay attention to each of our customers, and talk to people. We prefer it that way.

In Gartner’s words: “Targetprocess is positioned as a Niche Player, and would be a good fit for those looking for adoption that extends beyond IT. Targetprocess offers a straightforward agile planning and management tool with an effective user experience. It will appeal to organizations getting started with or maturing their agile capability. Targetprocess appears to have grown its support capabilities as necessary to satisfy users, and both its roadmap and history show consistent direction. Integration with other tools is not comprehensive, so prospects should ensure that other products they own are supported.”

Not badespecially that bit about extending adoption beyond IT.  That’s a sector of the market you can expect to see huge growth in.

Targetprocess has been active in the project management market for over 13 years now. We’ve made mistakes, seen competitors come and go, and even shared a joke or two. Through it all, we haven’t lost our vision of creating the perfect software for helping people to get shit done. And we’re getting really good at it.

Years ago, we were once called “anklebiters” by a larger competitor. There’s no quadrant for that in Gartner’s report, but it seems that anklebiters can become niche players. With all the change coming to the project management domain, I don’t see any reason why niche players can’t become industry leaders.

6 months ago

Current goals, challenges and plans

I’d like to shed some light on our current focus and plans, and what we are doing right now to help you be more productive in the future (that’s why Targetprocess exists, after all).

We have four major goals:

#1 Targetprocess platformization

Targetprocess is ten years old now, so you can imagine it has quite a lot of legacy solutions. Legacy slows down development and we can’t react to your requests in a speedy manner. It is hard to add new features that extend Targetprocess' domain. For example, it is quite hard to add Vacations tracking, or a decent Portfolio layer. We have to surround Targetprocess with services and make it possible to create Apps on top of the Targetprocess Platform. This platform includes a new microservices infrastructure, UI components (new Lists, Boards, etc) with defined extension points and a clear API, new Events Streams, Custom Business Rules, and other services. We have 3 development teams dedicated to this platform (~15 people in total). We expect to see first results in Q1 2018, since this is a challenging engineering task.

#2 User experience improvements

UX design includes fighting complexity, and improving UI consistency and predictability. We think this theme is the most important tactically, since the main problems with Targetprocess are caused by its complexity. Here we are going to improve navigation, fix WTF bugs and problems, improve collaboration via in-app notifications, implement Undelete, and fix the things that annoy you about existing features.

Left menu

Three development teams (~20 people) are dedicated to this UX theme. We gradually release something in this area every two weeks.

#3 Visual reports

One development team of six people is dedicated to visual reports, because we think analytics is very important in any serious project management system. You've seen many improvements in this area, and we've just released Historical reports, which include Custom Burn Up and Burn Down charts, Custom CFD, Flow Efficiency, etc.

CFD in Targetprocess

We will continue to improve this area for at least 6 more months.

#4 Fibery

One small development team of 5 people is dedicated to a spinoff product in the work management area. We’ve accumulated enough knowledge about how people work. So, we've started a new product from scratch that should provide an unmatched work management experience to companies.

Fibery Wiki app

The main idea is to create a product that grows with your company, that doesn’t force any practices and processes, but follows teams' processes naturally. You can read more about Fibery here: We will be releasing a private beta for Fibery around Q1 2018.

This chart shows how Targetprocess and Fibery overlaps. Basically, Targetprocess is focusing on medium-to-large IT-companies that create software products, while Fibery will focus on small-to-medium non-IT work management, like HR, Marketing, etc.

Fibery vs Targetprocess