StoryTerrace

What Is StoryTerrace?

Name:StoryTerrace
Industry:Business, Publishing
Size:51-250 employees
Location:London, Great Britain 🇬🇧

StoryTerrace is a ghostwriting and publishing solution, which brings together writers, editors, and people who need help writing their book. Here, they can discuss the contents of the future book, its style, structure, illustrations, and cover. Launched in Great Britain, this one-of-a-kind digital publishing platform now operates on the USA market as well. It brings the publishing industry to a new level — writing a book becomes easier than it has ever been.

The most valuable thing about KeenEthics is their attitude, both to partners and to employees. Our cooperation has never been stained by conflicts or mistrust. By contrast, it was very transparent, friendly, and thus, effective.

Coen Borgman

Director of Production at StoryTerrace

Our Cooperation

Platform:Web
Technologies:React & Redux, Node.js, Express.js
Methodology:Scrum
Team:1 PM, 3 full-stack developers, and 1 QA

Challenges & Solutions

The greatest challenge was the organization of work on this digital publishing solution. We partnered up with StoryTerrace in 2017, and in over 2 years of our cooperation, our team changed significantly both at KeenEthics’ and StoryTerrace’s side. Such rotation of team members comes at a cost: the lack of engagement and background experience left an unfortunate footprint on project development.

From our side, little could we do to improve the organizational aspect of the project — instead, we fully invested ourselves in the technical success of the project. The quality of the publishing platform turned out to be impeccable with not a single negative comment from our partners. We are happy that we could stand our ground.

Our Team

From our side, one devoted Project Manager, three expert JavaScript developers, and one Quality Assurance specialist worked on developing frontend and backend of this digital publishing platform.

Technologies

This web publishing solution was developed using React and Redux for front-end and Node.js and Express.js for the back-end.

Methodology

The work on the project was organized using the principles and artifacts of Scrum. By organizing the project in iterations, we succeeded in meeting changeable requirements and making the large team collaborate effectively.

What Makes StoryTerrace Special?

The idea of StoryTerrace is unique by its nature, not offered by other publishing solutions. Never before has anyone tried to fully bring the writing and publishing process online.

The target audience of StoryTerrace are the people who want to write a book — mainly a biography — and need help with it. Once they have an idea, they open StoryTerrace, read through sample chapters, client testimonials, and writer profiles. Now, they have to choose a writer themselves or to ask the StoryTerrace team to find a perfect writer for them. There are writers in three skill and pricing categories: Junior writers, Senior writers, and Premium writers.

After that, using questionnaires and interviews, the client shares his ideas and wishes with the writer. After multiple interview sessions, the writer wraps the client’s ideas into well-crafted words. The client regularly reviews and comments on the book content as it is being written. While the text of the book is still in progress, the client can customize the book design and upload photos for illustrations and the cover. After all, the designers lay out the book interiors and cover, and the final PDF version is sent for the client’s approval.

When the work on the book is over and the client is happy with the result, the books are printed and delivered to the customer. This entire process usually takes from eight to twelve weeks, depending on the length of the book. 

This project definitely brings the publishing industry to a new level — other publishing solutions do not offer such freedom and efficiency as StoryTerrace does. It empowers many writers and authors to achieve new literature heights.

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Attendance

attendance

What Is Attendance?

Name:Attendance
Industry:Business Administration
Size:11-50 employees
Location:Lviv, Ukraine 🇺🇦

attlogo

Attendance is an internal KeenEthics project – an employee scheduling tool, which allows employees to conveniently and quickly manage their schedule. Here, they can request schedule changes, inform about vacation days or a sick leave, check the information about their salary coefficient, learn about days-off and bank holidays.  

Tracking employees’ schedules and salaries used to be an actual problem in our company. Thanks to the proactivity and enthusiasm of the Attendance development team, the problem was successfully solved. Attendance is an excellent example of a project idea that we turned into a perfect final product.

Alex Pletnov

CTO at KeenEthics

Our Cooperation

Platform:Web
Technologies:Fastify, Typescript, Nest, TypeORM, Vue, Buefy
Methodology:Scrum
Team:1 Product Owner, 1 Project Manager, 1 Tech Lead, 2 Full-Stack Developers, 1 UI/UX designer, 1 QA Specialist

Challenges & Solutions

THE PROBLEM
There used to be a problem with tracking the attendance of KeenEthics employees. Team members had to ask their manager in person whether they could take a vacation, a sick leave, or a day-off. If the manager approved their request, they had to inform the administration via email. Then, the HR manager had to enter all the data manually to a Google spreadsheets table, which was working too slow because of complicated formulas and a huge amount of data. At the end of each month, the accountant calculated the salary coefficient for each employee based on the data from the spreadsheet.

Using a ready-made employee scheduling tool was not an option. Ready-made solutions did not fully cover our needs and specifics of salary calculation. For example, there are five different types of events in our system. Some of them influence the salary coefficient, while others increase or decrease the balance of vacations. Ready-made solutions would be hard to customize to suit our requirements and constraints. More than that, they would probably cost us more.

“We investigated several ready-made ones, but they didn’t fit our processes, were not too flexible and could become more expensive in the long term.” 

– Alex Pletnov, Product Owner 

IDEA RESEARCH

We started by researching the idea and designing user experience. We started with interviews with managers, asked how they did this process and what difficulties they had. The major insight was: managers did not complete all the requests on time, and the possibility for a mistake was large. Every UX and UI decision was viewed through the lens of helping teams get to a point of productivity sooner. Also, the users expressed the desire to stay connected at all times and to have the mobile app developed in the first place.

“One of the major responsibilities for the designer was to improve the everyday process. The trickiest part of this project is to create a product for your team and for yourself, feel all the responsibility.” 

– Oksana Pleten, UI/UX designer 

USABILITY TESTING

We were happy to have an unlimited opportunity to test our product – we could access end users any time as we are working in the same office. User insights did not take long. Respondents gave a lot of interesting ideas for product enhancement. After each testing session, we started brainstorming and prioritizing tasks for the upcoming sprint.

DEVELOPMENT
Then, we launched the development and testing. Our task at the beginning was to develop an application with simple functionality, where the workers could submit their days of absence and the managers could approve or reject them. Functionality requirements were mostly based on existing spreadsheets. The project hypothesis was to keep it simple without additional information. To our surprise, it was quite the opposite! Not only the managers wanted to use this app but the HR department too. This required an increase in functionality, a more complicated role division, and a great emphasis on UX. 

“The hardest thing was to think over the logic of making the absence requests and how they influence the salary coefficient and vacation balance. To implement the salary coefficient computation was also quite challenging.” 

– Yaryna Korduba, Full-Stack Developer 

THE SOLUTION

Considering the user experience, we have decided to develop a dashboard with the essential and most frequently used functions on the main screen. Depending on the user role – are you an employee, a manager, or a system administrator – everyone sees an individual interface. This should be a system for everyday use. A user should not only submit their request and receive notifications on the status updates from the manager but also get the information about their coworkers. With this system, one should easily see who is in the office or absent today. Everyone should also be able to get information about their salary coefficient and the number of vacation days they have left.

NEXT STEPS 

The plan is to fully migrate the attendance tracking process to this system and to gather more information on its issues and improvement ideas. In the future, it might be better integrated with our accounting and HR management systems. We may discuss and implement small change requests from the workers of the company or extend the functionality to calculate the exact salary. 

Our Team

Seven people were working on the project – a Product Owner, Project Manager, Tech Lead, UI/UX designer, two full-stack JS developers, and a Quality Assessment specialist. Yet, almost everyone in the company was somehow engaged in the process of research and development.

Technologies

We have developed this platform with the usage of Fastify, Typescript, Nest, TypeORM, Vue, Buefy.

fastifyts

nesttypeormvueBuefy

Methodology

The project development was organized according to Scrum methodology. The requirements were constantly changing, and the team needed to communicate continuously.

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SelfLeaders

What Is SelfLeaders?

Name:SelfLeaders
Industry:Education, Business Administration
Size:11-50 employees
Location:Stockholm, Sweden

Understanding your values is the key to understanding your motivation. Ever since the launch of SelfLeaders in 2009, this truth has defined their approach to working with individual and organizational transformation. The SelfLeaders company offers a variety of educational modules and tools for personal growth and professional development in self-leadership. Also, they deliver training vents and workshops, which help companies advance their corporate culture. Their target clients include businesses of different sizes, NGOs, and public sector organizations.

Our Cooperation

Platform:Android and iOS, desktop
Technologies:Meteor, GraphQL, and React
Methodology:Scrum
Team:4 developers, 1 QA, 1 PM

Challenges & Solutions

SelfLeaders would not be able to pursue its mission without going digital. Today, this company offers a set of personal development tools for the people who organize and participate in educational events. It provides an opportunity to conduct workshops with interactive materials, videos, presentations, etc.

We continue working on this project and constantly improving the applications for the best interest of the end-users. As of now, we have fully refactored the code, replaced Blaze with React and Meteor DDP pub/sub with Apollo/GraphQL. Moreover, we have implemented a new design and developed a lot of new functions.

Our Team

The team working on SelfLeaders tools for personal growth currently includes four full-stack developers, one QA specialist, and one Project Manager.

Technologies

The tools for personal growth have been developed both for mobile Android and iOS platforms and for desktop. The tech stack we have used includes Meteor, GraphQL, and React.

Methodology

We use Scrum since the project is being continuously developed and we closely communicate with the client. SelfLeaders is the best example of the Agile methodology successfully running on the project.

What Makes SelfLeaders Special?

The company aims to create “a more conscious, sustainable, and prosperous world” where everyone is a leader. SelfLeaders strives to inspire people to leave the limits of traditions and conventionality and to become self-organized, self-reliant, self-managing, and self-sufficient. It abandons the managerial hierarchy in its classical meaning and encourages other individuals and companies to discover their own potential and stimulate their own personal fulfillment. SelfLeaders is dedicated to helping others and highly values clarity, devotion, empathy, and freedom.

Over the course of the past year, the SelfLeaders company has grown, acquired new clients, gone global, and signed a contract with Spotify for a workshop including 300 people. They sold tools for personal growth and conducted leadership development training sessions for multiple companies from Sweden and all over the world, including Bonnierförlagen, Ricoh, Nordic, and SEB.

One of the essential self-development tools that SelfLeaders offers is The Values Tree — a simple personal growth reflection tool for personal development and a proactive mindset. Since its launch in 2016, it has been used by 26 000+ employees from all over the world. It enables a user to build their own tree of values while choosing among numerous options offered here. By understanding one’s values, a person can understand better what motivates or demotivates them. In turn, it will help them lead themselves and boost their personal productivity and performance.

Most importantly, the SelfLeaders team stays devoted to their goal even in their own business. Thus, for each digital tree that has been purchased from them, they offer such self improvement tools for free to students and NGO workers and also plant an actual tree in East Africa. This is how, each digital tree they sell helps not only their client but also students, NGO workers, and East African people. It is a rather simple scheme, which helps SelfLeaders maximize their global impact on leadership development.

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BankerAdvisor

Mike Casey,
Georgia, USA

Due to their responsiveness & patience, the collaboration itself progressed smoothly from start to finish, resulting in a high quality product & ensuring their continued engagement. KeenEthics’ skillset was exactly what was needed, & despite a language difference, communications never suffered.

Our part

Prior to cooperating with any bank, a buyer needs to learn about bank fees, interest rates, and customer services. Asking an expert for advice could make one’s business up and running. What if we could bring an expert opinion into the smartphone?

The idea behind BankerAdvisor was to create an efficient investment banking service for both buyers and advisory firms that would provide relevant insights into bank operations based on verified client reviews. Buyers would be able to make better decisions and investment banks and advisory firms would be able to improve their services by relying on clients’ feedbacks.

For us, this app is an opportunity to make the investment banking more efficient by providing unbiased reviews and showing the advisory services their weaknesses and strengths.

Customer’s story

Mike Casey has more than 30 years of experience in financial and operational leadership. Having served as CFO in several leading public software and technology companies, such as MAPICS, iXL Enterprises, Manhattan Associates, and IQ Software, noticed that it was quite a challenge to pick the right service for each specific sector. Neither was it easy to ensure a smooth transaction experience. After a thorough analysis, Mr. Casey figured the common problem of all companies:

“There was no way for them to get an unbiased and insightful advice.”

Challenge

KeenEthics have been hired to develop a solution that helps buyers see the realistic picture of the investment banking market by providing the users with an access to the client reviews. Our main goal was to make a resourceful application that would simplify the choice of banks for cooperation.

Similarly, we wanted to make this application valuable for the bank owners who’d be able to use the feedbacks as the first step in overcoming the weaknesses in the operation of their businesses.

BankerAdvisor – an even-handed assistance for investment banking

How it works

The application provides a flexible search by banking services and industry sectors with the opportunity to sort results by rate and most reviews. A user may add a rated review with recommendations to a service. At the same time, bank owners are able to create a new listing or claim the existing one by setting premium accounts using Stripe service.

Reliability first

To protect a bank owner from unfair feedback, spam and bots we use reCAPTCHA. Also, all users have to log in via LinkedIn to verify their accounts.

Background

We wanted to create an app that would simplify the search for the most convenient bank.

RESEARCH

The discovery stage was conducted together with our partner company Qubstudio. Together with our clients, they thoroughly researched the demand for the service to be developed. The market niche was not yet taken. Likewise, we did not find any similar services or direct competitors, and given the obvious need for the service, the app has vast potential.

DATA COLLECTION

For this application, we went through the vast amounts of information to examine the peculiarities of the financial market and investment funds. We created the separate Customer Journey Maps for buyers and bankers to determine the target audience.

PROTOTYPING

We used prototyping to model the user’s interaction with the application. At this stage, we went through building a project architecture and sketching, to the development of an MVP concept.

UX/UI DESIGN

In the end, we developed a user-friendly interface and ensured an excellent user experience based on the results of the previous steps.

Development challenges

Our first goal was to use proven technical stack and to provide a fast result with high quality. The second goal was to grant customer access to edit all information across the website. That is why we chose our main stack to avoid any unexpected situations.

The website has flexible payment plans and works in sync with the Stripe payment platform. Moreover, we have implemented “complex search” and will work on intelligence search and smart recommendations in the next version.

Result

A user-friendly app with more than 1000 trusted bank reviews.

BankerAdvisor main features

  • Flexible search
  • Add rating and review transaction basing on your experience
  • Create new or claim existing bank
  • Protection from bots and spammers
  • Stripe service for payment
  • Gather data with Google analytics
  • Log In via Linkedin

Ultimately, BankerAdvisor will help the app users to save a lot of time and resources and make the industry more trustworthy.

Technologies used in making the app

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WorkBooking

What is the purpose of the app?

Workbooking introduces new service with benefits for all audiences.

Workbooking is the place that unites people who are looking for individuals in a specific field for a specific task at a particular time and place; and professionals who are looking for a part-time job.

Our task

Our task was to develop and release easy and fast platform with the search and calendar available for any devices.

User personas

In current case, we had 2 user personas, which represent 2 major user groups, there are Customers and Professionals. Focused on the needs and expectations of these user personas, we figured out a clear picture of user’s expectations and how they are likely to use the site.

Wireframes

We used wireframing to provide a visual understanding of a platform early in a project. A website service was separated at the structural level. Content and functionality were laid out on the platform with taking into account user needs and user journeys.

We use this practice early in the development process to establish the basic structure of the website before visual design and content is added.

Technology

Challenges

Customers

iSimplify finding occasional demand of some services for businesses, NGOs and private sector. As well as provide guarantees of quality and reliability of these services.

Professionals

Provide oportunities for existing market of people who are looking for a part-time job on regular and flexible basis as well as increasing a number of clients.

Achievement

  • Developed a platform for professionals who are looking for part-time job.
  • Developed feature for managing schedule of professionals.
  • Developed easy search of appropriate candidates among different fields for a range of goals diversity at one place.

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