In the midst of the pandemic, workplace cultures have turned on their heads, and investment and growth have not slowed for many tech companies. As a result, they still need to involve new technical managers, even if best practices for remote management are far from being codified.
With changes in remote work habits, many new tools have emerged to help engineers be more productive or managers to communicate faster with direct reports. Okay takes a more observational approach and aims to provide managers with dashboards that quantify the performance of their teams so they can get an idea of where there is room for improvement.
The startup that was started from Y Combinator Earlier this year, TechCrunch announced that they had raised $ 2.2 million in funding under Sequoia and are starting the open beta of their service.
Co-founders Antoine Boulanger and Tomas Barreto met while working at Box – Boulanger as Senior Director of Engineering and Barreto as VP of Engineering. They told TechCrunch that in building a set of in-house tools to help Box managers better understand their teams, they recognized the possibility of a subscription toolset that could help managers across organizations. For the most part, Boulanger says that's okay today largely replaces tools you have built yourself.
To get an idea of the productivity of an engineering team, you need to hook up these tool sets and collect data into a digestible feed. Okay integrates with a number of toolsets including software like GitHub, PagerDuty, CircleCI and Google Calendar.
"Part of the problem for managers is that there are so many tools. So how do you get a signal from the noise?" Barreto tells TechCrunch.
A big part of selling Okay seems to be making sure managers can actively monitor and keep the common pitfalls of scaling up quickly so that the direct reports are happy. On an individual basis, managers can quickly see statistics relating to how much time an individual manager is spending in meetings compared to the uninterrupted "maker time" in which they actually have the opportunity to get their work done.
People don't like being micromanaged and the idea that everything you do is fed into a pie chart that judges whether or not you are a good employee isn't the tastiest sale to engineers. Okay's founders hope they can strike a balance and give managers data they can't rely on too much. Instead, they default to team-level insights whenever possible, so that managers are included in general trends such as average duration of projects or how long it takes to review pull requests.
In the past few months, investors have been using bankwork tools at a faster pace for remote work, and things have been especially fortunate for young companies that were ahead of the trend. For his part, Barreto has been a scout at Sequoia since 2018, according to LinkedIn.
The team says their product, as it stands today, is best suited for companies of 50-200 engineers who are high growth and may have some of these growing issues. The company's early customers include teams at Brex, Plaid, and Split.