A coffee with: Adrien Gassama

December 8, 2017

Adrien Gassama

Due to his proactive approach he unfolded himself as an agile and passionate Product Manager and Scrum Master. Meet Adrien Gassama, and listen to his story about shaping Dimebox’s platform, becoming a Scrum Master and boosting user and developer experience.

Adrien came into contact with payments for the first time as a consultant at PaymentGenes, located on the same floor as Dimebox’s office at the time. Through co-founder of both companies, Jan Joost Kalff, Adrien discovered Dimebox when it still was in its baby shoes. Excited about the possibilities, he decided to change his career focus:

‘One day I sat down with Ray and Hans and discussed the opportunities that Dimebox had in store for me. I told them I wanted to utilize what I had learned during my interdisciplinary research studies: to look at complex problems and find solutions. I got the chance to do so at Dimebox and grew into the role of product manager over time.’

For the first time in his career he started working with payment software as a product. He got really into it, although everything at Dimebox was quite abstract in the beginning. The platform was only just moving from a concept into the development phase at that moment and there was no live version or real clients running just yet.

In every beginning dwells a magic (abstract) force

Adrien’s first assignment included guiding the company’s PCI DSS assessment, making sure that our company maintains a secure environment when working with credit card information. This task included looking through the payment card industry’s guidelines and merging them into a formal internal policy. Setting this up without any live clients felt somewhat abstract, but soon Adrien witnessed the expansion of the company and how abstract ideas took form as explicit products and practises.

‘When I started at Dimebox we were already building our solution, but we didn’t have any live clients yet. It was possible to do card transaction over the platform for example, but that was it. We kept building our product and when the first customer went live, more clients started coming in. That was the moment the whole project became real.’

From a new User Interface to Developer Experience

As he morphed into his role as Product Manager over time, his main responsibilities changed into taking care of usability and designing the user interface and user experience of the platform. For our newest UI release he and his team had to upgrade the front-end framework Angular to a newer version to avoid legacy problems. Additionally, a new MapD framework was implemented as a tool for analytics and visualizing billions of data points.

Enhancing the UI, exploring what customers are looking for and detecting how Dimebox can fit that in the UI is an exciting day-to-day challenge for Adrien. His goal is to create an interface that is as pleasant and usable as possible, requiring a minimal amount of instruction. Furthermore, the touchpoint of the client’s developer must be considered:

‘Besides User Experience I focus on Developer Experience. Developers are using our documentation to connect to our API, so potential clients check with their development team how easy it is to connect with our API and how well it is designed. So the experience of using our product needs to fit the taste of different parties. Creating an interface that matches the needs of both non-technical users and developers without compromising on specificity is a great challenge for me. If the client’s development team can’t work with our documentation, it’s most likely that their interest will drop. If we get positive feedback from both sides, I know I’m on the right track and we keep moving in that direction to create a more complete experience than any other platform out there.’

Scrum Master in payments

After he started working in the product team Adrien also faced the challenge of becoming a Scrum Master for one of the development teams. He discovered that the concept of Scrum can be explained in under fifteen minutes, but applying it in the daily work life is a whole different story.

‘If you look up the Scrum method online you will understand the basics quite quickly. But applying them to real life is still difficult. To get it right every day, in every situation, can be complicated. As Scrum Master you’re not just doing it for yourself, it concerns the whole team. On the other hand it’s totally worth it when it works out and you get a grip on the process. It helps you to build an exceptional product efficiently, which makes our team and our partners happy.’

While a Scrum Master requires experience in the actual work environment, Adrien and his colleague Dwayne also went to an official Scrum training to become certified Scrum Masters. Next to gaining interdisciplinary knowledge and experience, whether you’re in development or product, diving deep into the payment scenery is an interesting opportunity at Dimebox.

‘People worldwide are familiar with buying goods, but very few people know about the whole process, what parties are involved and how everything works behind the scenes. Working in that landscape and applying your skills there holds a new surprise every day.’

For our Product Manager Adrien, it’s exciting to be right in the middle of that on a daily basis.

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