Turning risks into opportunities
through remote visual collaboration

Mission QA Analyst

How leboncoin reimagined its innovation and problem-solving workshops to extensively leverage virtual visual collaboration’s features

Garnering more than 250 million page views every day, Leboncoin.fr is one of the largest web platforms in France. If you don’t already know the brand, think of it as a huge online yard sale, filled with over 25 million classified ads promoting furniture, clothes, and cars for sale, apartments for rent, and a whole lot more. The website is owned by leboncoin Group, which includes other popular websites—like Videdressing.com (luxury fashion) and Largus.fr (second-hand car sales)—in its portfolio of brands.

Leboncoin employs 1,500 people, including more than 250 engineers. The company’s Paris-based tech and product teams are organized into 35 feature teams and grouped into four tribes. The teams’ managers are fueled by a relentless vision to promote an Agile- and learning-based organization, one where teams and tribes have the freedom to collaborate with each other in unique and oftentimes self-directed ways.

Read more about leboncoin’s approach to “Open Organizational Work” in this article written by CTO, Julien Jouhault.

Wilfrid Lancelle has worked at leboncoin Group since 2011. He started his career there as a Developer, then became a Manager, and finally, over the last five years, has been helping internal teams as an Organizational Learning Coach. His mission is to help people and teams adopt a learning trial-and-error process to solve problems incrementally through innovative collaboration methods.

Guillaume Grillat, on the other hand, has led the company’s tech community for a little less than a year now. His number one priority is to connect the company’s tech teams with those at other businesses and organizations, so they can all share their experiences about technology, architecture, frameworks, and organizational excellence together. Throughout the year, he organizes workshops, Q&A sessions, meetups, conferences, and events in partnership with the country’s leading tech and engineering schools.

Working Environment

“I was afraid that participants would not have enough room to think and express themselves freely.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic happened—forcing us all to work remotely for the foreseeable future—Wilfrid wasn’t too keen about facilitating team workshops via a digital collaboration tool. He simply thought it wasn’t possible. For him, facilitating his favorite kinds of workshops, typically inspired by the Systemic Consensing, Six Thinking Hats, and Solution Focus methods, required participants to be able to walk around, talk to each other, place sticky-notes on the wall, and collaborate in more traditionally interactive ways.

“When we are all in the same room, I know what it takes to facilitate a workshop efficiently. But in a remote working environment, all of those in-person best practices suddenly went out the window.” Wilfrid was convinced that he wouldn’t be able to host a successful workshop anymore. In fact, he was afraid that “participants would not have enough room to think and express themselves freely, keep track of the agenda, stay focused on the workshop’s objectives, and encourage teams to take initiative on their own.”

With the help of Draft.io, he has now not only discovered a way to replicate real-world interactions successfully in the digital space but has also created new opportunities for collaboration and engagement that weren’t necessarily possible before. “Now, I can start a workshop at any time by inviting anyone to join a board—without ever needing them to sign in. Plus, polling booth mode gives participants an opportunity to jot down their own ideas independently without influencing one another. And last but not least, participants don’t hesitate anymore before placing sticky notes on the wall.”

Working Environment

Taking full advantage of the capabilities of a digital collaborative wall

In a workshop exercise where participants were asked to place sticky-notes along a timeline, Wilfrid found that doing so remotely saved a tremendous amount of time. Participants directly put their sticky-notes at the right place while writing it, preventing pointless discussions about where sticky-notes should be exactly placed like: “It should be before. No, after!” Rather than that, participants can focus on sharing their understanding of the described situations and take more time to talk about their story and perception.

The goal of any workshop is to create alignment and shared understanding across teams. Taking this one step further, Wilfrid now encourages participants to present the ideas that others have posted to the digital wall, creating an environment where everyone respects and takes ownership of each other’s ideas.

And because everyone loves playing with new tools, learning the basics of Draft.io has, almost by default, become a sort of “ice breaker” at the beginning of these workshops: “People naturally poke around a bit, add jokes as sticky-notes, and have a little fun when they discover the tool for the first time. It’s a great way to get to everyone involved!”

Even more, leveraging digital collaborative boards also makes it possible to work on the same topic consistently across several workshops. This is incredibly convenient for tackling larger projects with extended timelines.

A great example of this is the work Wilfrid workshopped to help QA (Quality Assurance) Engineers and QA Analysts design a new QA organization. Documenting this process via a collaborative board has allowed them to extend the thinking process and work towards solutions to unanswered questions together—even once the workshop has ended. “We don’t have to leave a workshop with final deliverables or final decisions anymore. We just have to make the most out of our time together and then, in a future workshop, address the specific problems for which we haven’t yet found solutions.”

Therefore, Draft.io has helped create a workshop experience for leboncoin where participants feel more empowered to bring their ideas, thoughts, and perspectives to the table without letting any perceived roadblocks limit their ability to participate freely.

From a simple collaborative wall to a genuine visual document

Guillaume has also started using Draft.io to organize leboncoin’s first tech conference, lbc2. After collecting insights and expectations from various tech teams, he mapped out a series of topics and identified three potential conference themes: “Draft.io helped me select the hottest topics to talk about during the conference. For example, I remember seeing our CTO manipulate notes around the draft to prioritize topics by category. We determined the whole strategy in less than 15 minutes!”

To identify the specific problems faced by his internal tech teams and create an easy way to put them in contact with the right external teams who can help them work through and overcome those problems, Guillaume needs a tool that will allow him to: gather information, jot down ideas, map out problems and manipulate ideas, share the document with stakeholders, and facilitate decision-making and consensus-building, all while documenting the entire thinking process in one unique place and keeping track of the decisions being made. “Draft.io could definitely be the right fit,” says Guillaume.

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