Running a team colocation — The beginning of something great

Shiyu Zhu
Shiyu Zhu
Feb 26, 2018 · 2 min read

It all started with ‘building a smart knowledge base should no longer be a dream”. Our vision was to create a solution that provided content creators’ insights into the ever-changing world with their Zendesk data; a one-stop shop where they can go on a Monday morning and everything they need will magically be there.

After initial product research, we found out that today, the process of identifying knowledge creation/optimization opportunities is very reactive. Content Creators are often waiting for the support agent to notice a trend and raising an email. By the time content is published, it’s often too late.

The initial step to reaching this vision, we first need to tackle the problem of:

“How can we proactively highlight knowledge creation and optimization opportunities to Content Creators?”

We wanted to solve this problem in a Zen way and redefine the world of knowledge management. With collective power, we came up with the idea:

“What if machines could read support tickets, grouped similar ones and summarised them in a meaningful way.’

After a couple of months of data science research, our scientists proved that this is actually possible!!

Now having proved the concept is feasible, the product/design challenge is:

“How can we design a product experience inside Zendesk Guide that presents our data in an understandable way.”

After a few remote design iterations with the Copenhagen team, we were able to come up with design concepts receiving mixed reviews.

With time ticking away and a scheduled Early Access Program (EAP) of March, we urgently needed to establish a tight feedback loop between the remote teams in order to bring this vision to life. With the support of the business, we took the bold move and invested in co-locating the teams in Melbourne to form one ULTIMATE team to consolidate our ideas.

In our case; 2 engineers, 1 designer flying from cold, cold Copenhagen to join us in sunny Australia for a week. With the long flight and time difference, successful colocation is no easy feat.

Now the week is over and what we called the ‘COLOYOLO” week ended up being a huge success… To share our experience, we will be publishing a series of stories over next week to share our learnings and how we got the most out of the week.

sneak peek of the team

The second post is now available, find it

Zendesk Engineering

Engineering @ Zendesk

Thanks to Ryan Seddon

Shiyu Zhu

Written by

Shiyu Zhu

Product Manager @ Zendesk | Passionate about building great software products, eating nommy food and meeting new people

Zendesk Engineering

Engineering @ Zendesk

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