A new college grad’s journey: Building Team Spaces at Lucid Software

Thomas Stansel

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  • Behind The Scenes
  • Career
Hey there! 👋 My name is Thomas, and I’m a recent college graduate and a software engineer at Lucid. Since joining Lucid, I’ve had the awesome opportunity to work on one of our latest initiatives, Team Spaces. This is a new enterprise feature that helps teams connect in new ways. In this post, I want to share my experience joining the company, iterating on a brand new user experience, and why I believe Lucid is an amazing place for software engineers to grow and make an impact.

The excitement of a new product

Lucid launched the Beta experience in May of this year and its launch was my first project here at Lucid. As a new grad, helping to launch something as a new Beta provides an unique experience to learn a lot. Working at Lucid on something new like Team Spaces meant quick iteration cycles and the opportunity for each engineer to have high ownership.

Quick iteration and learnings

While the Team Spaces project was already underway when I joined Lucid, those that have been here since the beginning shared their experiences from those early days. They described working directly with UX and Product to decide a general concept of what a prototype should look like, building it as quickly as possible, and then sharing it to get feedback. We often follow this same process for new ideas and features today. The prototypes that users resonate with make their way to getting on the roadmap. Once on the roadmap, work is estimated and discussions on how to build the feature in the right way take place. Prototypes are often completed within a sprint and learnings are made shortly thereafter. I think it is important for software engineers to have experiences on both sides of this spectrum: Building things the right way with proper software design principles and getting things to work even if it means it’s duct-taped and glued together. Having both has allowed me to widen my knowledge in a short period of time, boosted my ability to estimate work, increased my understanding of what is needed for features and ideas to make their way into production, and greatly increased the ownership I have felt for Lucid’s products.

High ownership

One of Lucid’s core values is individual empowerment, initiative, and ownership. Even as a new grad, you’re entrusted with significant responsibilities and have the autonomy to make decisions that directly affect our products. This means opportunities to lead large projects early in your career. For me this has meant two things: Building the right solutions, and building those solutions in the right way. To build the right solution, I’ve led brainstorming sessions with the team, helped define minimum viable product (or MVP) requirements that still add value for the user, and served as the go-to person for technical questions from UX and Product. To build in the right way, I’ve met with experts around the company, planned architecture and design of the MVP, and even met with the CTO to get input on the architecture and design. Taking the opportunity to be the technical lead on parts of a project, working with UX and Product to define requirements, planning and estimating the work, and working with others to design the project in the right way has strengthened my abilities and my confidence in those abilities.

Why Lucid?

From my time at university or at past internships, I have always learned the most when I was doing or implementing something. This combo of quick iterations and high ownership at Lucid has allowed me to learn the most because it creates opportunities to do the most. As a software engineer and especially as a new grad, my biggest priority is to learn, and Lucid’s unique culture and position has provided me opportunities to do just that.

About Lucid

Lucid Software is a pioneer and leader in visual collaboration dedicated to helping teams build the future. With its products—Lucidchart, Lucidspark, and Lucidscale—teams are supported from ideation to execution and are empowered to align around a shared vision, clarify complexity, and collaborate visually, no matter where they are. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucid.co.

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