Case Study: CircleCI

Jenneviere Villegas
Pingboard fosters a wonderful feeling of connectedness and familiarity among our worldwide remote team of over 70 employees. Jenneviere Villegas | Marketing and Culture

As the very first employee at CircleCI, Jenneviere Villegas has had a front row seat to the company’s growth and success. During her tenure, she has hand her hands in everything from accounting to operations, administration to marketing, with a role that evolved along with the company.

In four short years, CircleCI’s employee base exploded from a single employee to a team of over 80 people spread across the globe. While exciting for the company, it also presented a challenge: keeping staff connected and protecting the close-knit culture that had been integral to the company’s growth.

“I realized we had gotten big enough that I didn’t know everyone in the company by name anymore,” recalls Jenneviere Villegas, CircleCI’s Social Media Marketing and Culture Manager. “Having a connected team, where everyone knows each other, is really important to us.”

CircleCI needed a tool that would ease the introduction of new employees and help all of the team stay up to date on the who’s who within the company.

Time Zones and Tribulations

When your team is growing quickly, there are bound to be new challenges - even under the best of circumstances. Aside from the rapid onboarding of new employees, Jenneviere was becoming overwhelmed with the geographic diversity among their employees, and keeping track of multiple locations and time zones was becoming a headache.

She wasn’t alone in her struggles - employees across the globe were also having trouble keeping track everyone’s details.

“We had scaled to enough employees that everyone wasn’t easily recognizable by face and by first name anymore,” Jenneviere recalls. “We want people to be easily recognizable and feel connected with their teammates, even if they are in other timezones.”

Their complex and ever-expanding remote team meant Jenneviere, and spreadsheets, could no longer keep up.

“About two thirds of our team was spread over the globe and wasn’t working in the San Francisco office. We didn’t see everyone everyday, in fact, some people we didn’t see for a whole year.”

“We used to have a big spreadsheet with everyone’s shipping, personal information and emergency contact phone numbers on it, but that wasn’t scalable,” Jenneviere recalls. “A single person couldn’t manage it.”

We had grown so quickly that we had lost touch with who everyone was.

Seamless Transitions

Jenneviere knew exactly what they needed: a scalable, interactive platform that could be tailored to their unique set of needs.

However, finding the right system proved difficult.

“We are a cloud-based service ourselves, so having something that was outdated and heavy and required our own local development didn’t seem like a good fit for us,” explains Jenneviere. “I briefly considered other tools, but dismissed them because none of them had what we were looking for.”

When Jenneviere came across Pingboard, she knew she’d found something worth more than a cursory glance.

“I played around with their free trial and knew immediately that they were going to be a good fit,” recalls Jenneviere. “I pushed every button and clicked every link they had during the trial. I knew our needs well and, after testing it out, I knew Pingboard could fulfill them.”

Pingboard was completely adaptable to CircleCI’s unique needs, providing Jenneviere the opportunity to gather the exact information their team required.

“Pingboard gives us the ability to set our own questions for new employees to fill out so we have the information we need,” explains Jenneviere. “We include things like their t-shirt size and what their favourite ice cream flavor is; no other tool would allow us to customize content like this.”

On top of meeting all Jenneviere’s requirements, Pingboard also fit seamlessly into CircleCI’s existing programs and software making onboarding a smooth, simple, and quick process.

“Pingboard is compatible with our Google App accounts and was easily implementable - that was was huge for us,” she added. “We now have all our employee contact information housed in a single location, we were missing that piece locally before Pingboard - that has made a huge impact for our team’s efficiency and satisfaction.”

Pingboard gives us the ability to set our own questions for new employees to fill out so we have the information we need...no other tool would allow us to customize content like this.

Customized Content and a Connected Team

Jenneviere was impressed with the variety of unique ways Pingboard was able to achieve her goal of restoring a sense of community among the CircleCI staff.

“We’ve heard from members across all of our teams, either local or remote, that Pingboard helps to foster a feeling of connectedness. It promotes a good company culture for us,” Jenneviere continued. “Pingboard is important to us because it’s part of the way our worldwide team stays connected with each other. It fosters teamwork, friendliness, kindness, and trust - all of which starts with a simple profile photo.”

While she came for their employee database, Jenneviere quickly discovered added value in Pingboard’s entire toolkit.

Pingboard’s “Who’s Who” game, birthday lists, and location indicator have all made a real impact on Circle CI’s employees.

“We use the team location function because we have a lot of remote folks,” Jenneviere adds. “We have some satellite teams of employees who are all housed in a certain location, so it’s nice to see where there are little pockets of teammates, as well as those who are working remotely from their homes or wherever else they choose. It helps highlight the flexibility we love our employees to experience - to work where they are, at any given moment.”

“Our employees have had a great time with the ‘Who’s Who’ game as a way to get to know each other,” Jenneviere explained. “Administration utilizes the birthday and emergency contact functions, and the dietary needs tools have been helpful for team events at HQ ensuring we have things that everyone, no matter the dietary restriction, can eat. Pingboard has thought of everything.”

Pingboard’s versatility also proved to be the perfect fit for Circle CI’s diverse employee base.

“Different employee groups get different things out of Pingboard,” explains Jenneviere. “The developers use GitHub, so they see user names but not necessarily first names, last names, or faces. With Pingboard they are able to put a human face with a first name, last name and GitHub username- it’s a real advantage.”

“For the administrative team, it’s really a one-stop-shop for information when they are booking flights or planning meals for employees. It’s great to go in and be able to search really quickly to find out who needs what,” she continues.

Order and Sanity Restored

Thanks to Pingboard, team unity was restored, and Jenneviere was able to take a step back from administratives duties, allowing her to fully concentrate on her marketing role.

“We’re not paying someone to hunt down and update a big spreadsheet with contact information, with Pingboard it’s a much more personalized experience,” explains Jenneviere. “We don’t have to dedicate an entire employee to this because Pingboard gives us a more robust set of tools that are more personalizable than what we would have created.”

Pingboard’s uses and solutions stretch far beyond the platform itself. As Jenneviere quickly discovered, the support team behind the scenes at Pingboard has become just as vital to Jenneviere and her team at CircleCI.

“We’ve had great interactions with Pingboard, both the product and the company itself,” Jenneviere notes. “They’ve been really receptive to new ideas and they’ve always been really quick to respond to emails whether they are questions or problems.”

With continued growth on the horizon after having recently been named one of the top 10 fastest growing software companies in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Review, CircleCI is confident their company culture and team’s sense of community is secure, now and well into the future thanks to Pingboard.

“We chose Pingboard because it is a scalable product that helps to keep our team connected,” explains Jenneviere. “It’s done that and then some, which is why we’re happy to continue working with them.”

We’re not paying someone to hunt down and update a big spreadsheet with contact information, with Pingboard it’s a more personalized experience.

CircleCI is a software development platform dedicated to providing developers state-of-the-art automated testing and continuous integration tools. Their platform gives their clients the ability to confidently and accurately test code and fix bugs, while maintaining speed, all before releasing products and updates to consumers.