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How VTEX helps their Software Engineers work happier with Shortcut




Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; London, UK; New York, US; Worldwide

Brazil based VTEX is an auto-updating ecommerce platform that provides retailers the fastest time to revenue and the most up-to-date functionality, with no software upgrades required. That sounds impressive, which is probably why they’ve been so successful.

Their usage of Shortcut is driven by one key question:

What if Software Developers actually liked their PM tools? 

Does any Engineer actually enjoy using their team’s Product Management software? It might be useful, or at least more useful than not using anything. It might give managers a look at how teams are progressing with their work, or at least more of a look than just pestering those teams over Slack. But do developers want to use that software? Are they engaged with it in a way that actually makes it anywhere near as valuable as it could be?

“My experience with Jira was really intense,” says Denise Biscaro. “I was responsible for creating all the workflows and setting everything up for the teams there [at my last company]. Even though I was a power user, I don’t have fond memories of it.”

It’s become more or less acceptable to simply put up with a bad user experience when using Product Management tools. Shipping software is work, obviously, so it’s perfectly fine if interacting with your Product Management software feels like a lot of work. That’s ok if you want Developers to frown a lot and seem busy, but it’s not quite as ok if your primary goal is to build new features as quickly as possible.

The best thing about Shortcut is that our Engineers are happy to use it. In my experience, Engineers only begrudgingly use Jira. The opposite is true with Shortcut.Denise Biscaro, Product Manager, VTEX

That’s why VTEX uses Shortcut.

A magical user experience

“Everything is so magical, everything I want to do is so simple.” says Denise. “It just works.”

Instead of forcing users to manage their projects in one of a few specific ways that our software best supports, we instead provide flexible options that adapt to the way individual companies and teams handle their workflows.

Something that VTEX takes full advantage of. VTEX Engineers don’t have to deal with a lot of bureaucratic overhead that forces them into un-intuitive situations with our software. Using a mix of Projects, Epics, and Labels, anyone within the org is able sort their work in whatever way is most convenient to them, without it impacting leadership’s ability to keep an eye on the bigger picture.

There is no mental switching of the sort that takes everyone out of their work, slowing them down. Shortcut is a natural part of the workflow: update co-workers on a task in progress, then immediately go right back to coding.

It’s all about usability

“It’s the UX, really,” says Denise. “Shortcut just does what you think it should do. I’ve never had to read any documentation because it was easy to understand everything I clicked on.”

In Denise’s experience, convincing developers to use Product Management software has previously been a chore, requiring that she invest an excessive amount of time configuring that software to ensure her co-workers could spend as little time interacting with it as possible. This isn’t a problem she and the other VTEX Product Managers have had with Shortcut.

“Shortcut is very powerful because of its usability. There’s no friction involved in getting anyone to use it,” says Denise.

Instead, Developers happily do so, ensuring no part of any project falls off the roadmap.

Everything is so magical, everything I want to do is so simple. It just works. Denise Biscaro, Product Manager, VTEX