We spoke to Kevin Gorjan and Jani Maljanen, who work on PWAs at Vaimo. Kevin is the Technical Lead for PWA at Vaimo Global, and Jani is a Technical Manager at Vaimo Finland. They talk about the exciting world of Progressive Web Apps and how they manage to work closely together while based in different countries and working on different projects.
PWAs (Progressive Web Applications) are innovative tech stacks–a way to give you a high-performance site and enable your business to reach customers in many new ways. You can find out more about PWA here.
To kick things off, can you tell me a little bit about your journey–how you came to work on the PWA team at Vaimo?
I started working at Vaimo Benelux two years ago. I was familiar with the technology that we use in PWAs from my previous job, and when I was discussing my contract with Vaimo, we talked a lot about this new technology. Within a year, I realised that I want to only focus on PWA, so last year, I became the PWA Tech Lead for Vaimo Global.
I organise PWA meetups in Vaimo to let people taste the new technologies, see what we can achieve with them, and how they could be integrated into current projects. I also work on a couple of PWA projects. I work for all the units at Vaimo, for example, Dubai, Benelux and the US. And not just with development, I can help sales, talk with clients, and even do interviews.
I joined Vaimo around 5 years ago. For most of my career, I have been a full-stack developer, with an emphasis on the front-end side of things. Now I work as a Technical Manager for Vaimo Finland.
I have always been interested in human-computer interaction and User Experience. And not just the visual side, but more in-depth–how we as humans interact with digital solutions. I like to approach things from a humane perspective: think about how the end-users feel and perceive the product or solution.
I have always felt that we need to look for ways to bring added value to our clients. This is why I have ended up working with PWAs–it opens up new opportunities the Magento’s traditional stack doesn’t.
What is it about PWA in particular that excites you?
The thing I like the most is the curiosity and wonder when people see what is really possible with PWA. I enjoy seeing people working with this modern stack and seeing them grow and enjoy this new easier way of doing things. It makes me really happy to see the teamwork between units in Vaimo and how people want to learn more.
What is really exciting is that I have seen us move forward in our knowledge of PWA: we are using PWA technology for projects like dashboard applications and not just eCommerce. PWA is almost like a small child–we can see the potential of what it can hold in the future.
With PWA, we open up new opportunities, especially in the areas that are traditionally seen as mobile application only. It is these new opportunities and being able to take things to the next level that makes PWAs really interesting to me personally.
Working on the PWA team involves a lot of investigation and research. We are doing proofs of concepts and evaluating how PWA fits with the needs of our current and future clients. It is not one size fits all–I see the projects with our clients as puzzles, and PWA is a puzzle piece that fits really well for some of our clients.
Tell me more about the PWA team: how does it work, and what is your mission?
My mission is to promote PWAs in Vaimo as much as I can. I want everybody to learn about the new stack and be aware of the new things on the market because of the PWA events. It’s also important that Vaimoers understand the applicability of PWAs in their specific projects. Or maybe when a client comes to them with a request, they can say, ‘Hey, maybe we can use this part of what Kevin talked about.’
What we are trying to do is share knowledge and learn from each other. We discuss our projects and challenges with people like Jani, who also work on PWAs. We have started a group-based knowledge base for PWA. The front-end is moving so fast. The things we were using three years ago are not used any more or are totally different. So we try to make sure everyone is on the same page.
We have people in different roles from different countries working on PWA, and we also have different project teams working on PWA projects. We are trying to take the learning we have from these projects and share them across Vaimo. Working as a team we can look at a project from different angles and gain a deeper understanding of its inner workings. When we have considered the PWA as an option, we can trust that our expert knowledge will help us offer clients something that truly benefits them.
The mission for the PWA team is to take our front-end development to the next level, so we can continue to meet the expectations our clients have for us.
What achievement are you most proud of as a part of the PWA team?
One example that I can think of is a small project here in Benelux. I was working alone on the project and asked for a junior developer to help me with styling. This junior developer who didn’t know the programming language I had used, learned to integrate this to the project in two months. Later on, when a new junior developer joined the team, he could teach the new junior developer how to use everything. That was a really proud moment for me–he could understand everything and he could transfer his knowledge to the new junior developer.
In general, I am very proud of how I have grown as a person within Vaimo. My manager brought me out of my shell by saying that we need a voice for PWAs within Vaimo and that I need to do it. I had never held events before—my English was so bad. And, during the year, my English has improved, and it is easier for me to talk to everybody. A year and a half ago in this conversation we are having now, I would have only answered Yes and No.
I would say that there is no single achievement or event. It is the combination of all the work we have done and the fact that we have PWA projects live, adding value for our clients. I think we should be very proud that we have PWAs as an option when we talk to our clients and prospects.
What four words would you use to describe Vaimo?
The future, open, challenging, and a family. Family because I have worked for a lot of different companies, and this is the first company where I feel like this. Especially now during COVID, I feel like I can talk to everybody, and even though I am far away I am still close to everyone. I moved around a bit during my first year at Vaimo and made many friends. Vaimo is like my second family.
Engaging, flexible, collaborative, friendly.
A big thanks to Kevin and Jani for taking some time to talk all things Vaimo and PWA. Stay tuned to our blog to hear more stories from Vaimoers across our global offices!
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