In our past experiences we have all worked on a team where things just didn't go right. We all knew what we were doing and had to be done, but we didn't know how to express ourselves to each other so that everyone had the same vision. Often times the projects were scrapped because we couldn't move forward.

This is where it all began. To start with, we spent a year working with Cog'X, a company specialized in cognitive research, to identify 8 character traits that are essential to promote a good working environment. From this research we have developed a questionnaire to measure how the members of a team interact with each other based on these 8 character traits. The outcome of this analysis enables us to build a customized coaching program to help the team work on specific areas that risk causing problems in their day-to-day working environment.

What it does

TeamGether is integrated as a chatbot into Microsoft Teams and Slack. Using this channel we can discuss with our users by sending them individual and personalized coaching session, tips and exercises directly into their existing collaborative tools. They have the possibility to respond to multiple-choice and open ended questions as well as to participate in challenges that involve the entire team to help build team spirit and cohesion. The team's manager also receives a guide with insights to help them run the weekly challenge.

How we built it

When our CTO joined the team in 2018 he inherited 4 different websites on 3 different platforms and developed using many different technologies...all of which did basically the same thing!

The first step was to understand what was already in place and how to consolidate it all into a single application. We started by consolidating just the Wordpress websites, which included implementing the personality test using javascript embedded in the Wordpress pages (another nightmare!!). Once that was finished we started the real work on integrating our database with, at first, Slack and eventually Teams.

The largest step in the development history was the day we finally went live on Teams. Since then our clients use almost exclusively Teams, however everything is developed to work with many different front-ends. All it takes is a simple interface to translate the messages between our internal structure and that of the external client.

We currently have a database that contains over 7000 different messages that can be combined together to form a coaching program and which can be currently sent to our users via Teams or Slack and eventually to others (such as Google, Citadel, Steeple, etc.) based on the client's needs.

Challenges we ran into

Our first challenge was the day that our old database was hacked. The original applications and databases were not developed using robust technologies and unfortunately security was completely ignored.

Luckily everything was ALMOST ready and three days later we were up and running with the new version developed in Java using a Cassandra database - and of course much more secure!

Another challenge was integrating AdaptiveCards into the messages sent to Teams. When we started, the only API available in Java was for Android and not useable by our application. We had to implement the classes needed to handle the structure ourselves and understand how it works based on the documentation available. We can thank the dedicated team from Microsoft Dev support pour their assistance in finalizing this step.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud to have a multi-language and multi-cultural application that can be widely deployed, thanks to Microsoft Teams, to practically any team and/or company in the world. For now, our content is available in French and English, but it can easily be adapted to other languages and cultures as needed.

Little did we know four years ago that our solution would become so important. Because of the current health crisis, the change from going to work and seeing your co-workers everyday to not leaving home for days on end, our solution provides managers with the tools necessary to to keep their teams together and involved. We are finding that more and more large companies are interested in TeamGether and are subscribing for a long-term commitment.

Thanks to TeamGether, we were, along with our coach partners, able to assist over 100 employees in 15 teams with very positive results!

What we learned

As a small startup we have all learned how to work on many different things all at once, but also to let each other be in "control" of our own areas of expertise. We use each other's strengths in order to accomplish a better team atmosphere. In fact, we use our own application to maintain our effectiveness, cohesion and motivation.

What's next for TeamGether by EFFENCY

We are in the process of raising funds in order to develop a more realistic AI experience for our users, including natural language processing. This will allow our users take full advantage of our wealth of information.

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