Jimmy is a services company for the new era of remote and hybrid work. Serving clients in the auto, mobility, transportation, and fintech sectors, they build digital products for a world that's constantly on-the-go.
As their team grew from just three former co-workers at an auto corporation into a 30-person software development company, they realized they needed a system that would not only help them get organized internally, but also, stand out to their impressive clients that include PwC, Carvago, and Volkswagen.
Jimmy was founded in 2019 by Gerasim Farafonov, Jiri Stepanek, Martin Javier Stojka, all former colleagues at ŠKODA Auto, the Czech carmaker now under the umbrella of the multinational Volkswagen Group.
Through their work at ŠKODA, the three cofounders noticed an opportunity in the ways outside developers typically interacted with clients.
These outsourced devs would sign onto a project —for instance, building an app— start working on the project, and then immediately forget about the client, Jiri explained.
There was a disconnect between the two sides. And often dissatisfaction with the results.
"Vendors were charging too much for very little work. The results were not really aligned with the vision of the clients. It took longer. It was [more] expensive that it needs to be. And that's the thing that we wanted to change," Jiri said.
With this mission, they struck out on their own. And while all the founders were based in Prague, they knew that they wanted to form a remote-first organization.
Jimmy takes a comprehensive approach for its clients, and thus have to stay extremely organized within their team.
As software development consultants, they act as the technical brains for teams who are tackling complex problems in society, from transportation to finance.
"Basically what we want to do with the clients is to give them the space to really focus on the business development," Jiri said.
He cites the example of a company that's developing a scooter-sharing program for a large city. The scooter company has to deal with everything from safety compliance to securing government contracts, to building the scooters, to hiring drivers to drop them off and pick them up. Jimmy takes one major piece off their plate, by building and managing their digital products, such as mobile apps and webpages.
Jimmy covers the whole technical product lifecycle for its clients, including:
Jimmy has 30 team members around the world, most of whom are product owners or developers. Jiri describes the company culture as "open, honest, and friendly," with a focus on transparent feedback. The structure of the company is very flat, with few, if any, middle managers. This is baked into their remote philosophy — employees have to be self-starters.
However, as the team scaled, Jiri noticed that some tasks were slowing employees down. Even the most skilled developers had questions about administrative and operational work, such as filling out timesheets.
They needed a more standard approach to company process.
Jimmy's founders firmly believe in a flat organizational structure, and divide managerial tasks equally. But a flat organization, perhaps even more than a hierarchy, still needs a home for company information.
So they started looking into documentation solutions. First, they tried Google Docs, and found them scattered and hard to follow, especially when it came to commenting.
They moved on to Confluence, which fit nicely with their other Atlassian product, JIRA, but was not very user-friendly. Very few employees were reading important docs.
Finally, they found Slite. After comparing it side-by-side with Notion, the team found Slite more engaging and simple to use. They moved forward with their documentation, and have been using Slite for over three years.
Their first channel was the Jimmy Handbook, and they then went on to form different "streams" based on which cofounder was responsible for what.
Now, Jimmy's Slite is comprehensive. They use Slite to document processes internally, and externally, such as:
But when it came to knowledge management and team success, the real breakthrough came when they developed the Jimmy Framework.
The Jimmy Framework is a system the cofounders developed to keep everyone on the same page for projects. In the framework, which is documented in their Slite, there is a standardized procedure for designating roles, responsibilities, and outcomes, so that work can continuously run smoothly.
The guide outlines the responsibilities of roles such as Delivery manager, Product owner, and Developer, as well as Designers and QA specialists and there is also a Design and Engineering guide, so those processes do not have to be re-invented for each project that kicks off.
With the framework in hand, Jimmy can get complex projects up and running in a short amount of time. And clients can get the white-glove treatment they deserve. Perhaps most importantly, the project steps and roles are transparent, so everyone can quickly align, and find opportunities for improvement.
Since using Slite, Jiri says he's already noticed a marked difference in two vital areas of the business: product quality and customer happiness.
Through a commitment to knowledge management, they've been able to achieve:
Their standardized documentation system has allowed Jimmy's team members to work creatively and independently, instead of getting stuck in the how to get it done phase.
Keeping customers happy is the number one priority for services companies like Jimmy. What many client-facing businesses can learn is that transparent and up-to-date process, stored in a central location, can strengthen those external relationships.
Jimmy found a way to improve product quality and client happiness through a documentation system that their team is happy to use on a daily basis. Their advice for other teams looking to do the same? Don't overcomplicate things.
"Focus on the things that have impact for your business," Jiri said. "Ask yourself how this specific activity will help my business. Start small, build it step by step and again focus on the value."
Melanie Broder is on the Marketing team at Slite, where she works on all things content. She helps Slite users gain new skills through guides, templates, and videos. She lives in New York City, where she likes to read novels and run loops around Central Park.