A 2022 recap and prospects for 2023 with CAKE.com’s VPs of Engineering
The first quarter of a year is the perfect time to sum up the previous year, think back on all the major events that transpired, and wrap it all up.
It’s also a suitable moment to look forward to the current year and contemplate what we might encounter.
This is exactly why we decided to pick the brains of our VPs of Engineering at CAKE.com and hear their thoughts on the previous, and expectations for this year.
Ljubomir Simin, Nikola Bosic, and Milos Jovanovic — VPs of Engineering at CAKE.com’s products, Clockify, Pumble, and Plaky, respectively — shared with us their favorite and not-so-favorite moments from the previous year and gave us their two cents about what they expect this year to be.
If you want to find out who likes to talk, who was inspired by Messi, and who has found Neil deGrasse Tyson mesmerizing, keep on reading!
But first, let’s find out more about our VPs.
Get to know our VPs of Engineering
What are the basics you should know about the VPs of Engineering at CAKE.com?
Ljubomir Simin is a software enthusiast, hardware hacker, and food aficionado. Currently the VP of Engineering at Clockify — the world’s best time tracker, according to Forbes — Ljubomir successfully leads a team of 55 developers.
Nikola Bosic is a full-stack developer, who enjoys building sustainable software solutions and solving concrete problems. As VP of Engineering on Pumble, Nikola is currently in charge of leading a team of 25 developers.
Milos Jovanovic is a tech fanatic with extensive experience in software development. He loves clean code and home decorating. At the moment, he’s using this experience in his role as VP of Engineering at Plaky, leading a team of 22 developers.
Now that we’re done with the introductions, let’s move on to the Q & A with Ljubomir, Nikola, and Milos.
Question #1: What are you currently working on, and what’s your favorite part about it?
Ljubomir: Since the growth of Clockify in all fields implies the expansion of technical teams, it is necessary to constantly improve processes, cooperation, and the way we share knowledge and information. In that light, I’m always trying to find the next inefficiency that we could optimize — regardless of whether it’s an architectural or organizational problem — to figure out a way to work more reliably and consistently. The good thing about it is that it often involves me talking, and I like to do that. 🙂
Nikola: I am currently preparing Pumble to be able to handle third-party integrations. I enjoy working on this — it is a challenging technical task and it will allow our users to use Pumble in any way they imagine.
Milos: I’m wearing multiple hats at the moment, covering management and engineering areas. I must admit, engineering is definitely something I enjoy more. Maybe my favorite part about it is working on infrastructure. There are numerous challenges — but also great results.
Question #2: How would you recap 2022 in one word?
Question #3: What was your greatest professional success in 2022?
Ljubomir: Clockify released the largest number of major features to date with the least number of regressions by far.
Nikola: We managed to expand the team without losing much productivity and without a lot of bureaucracy.
Milos: Last year we went live with Plaky, and that alone was a huge success. Next to that, we managed to grow our development team by 300%. That was challenging, but I think we did a great job.
Question #4: What feature developed in 2022 are you most proud of?
Ljubomir: So many teams worked hard on all parts of the feature lifecycle that I can’t single out one. Behind every major feature (which you can see on our roadmap https://clockify.me/roadmap), there are countless hours invested in specification, design, implementation, test automation, and infrastructure management.
Nikola: We finished the video conferencing feature at the very end of 2022. That’s the feature I’m most proud of.
Milos: Live updates, no doubt. Whenever someone makes a change in data, that change is instantly visible to other users. We made the whole application much more interactive. Everybody loves this feature!
Question #5: What was your biggest challenge last year?
Ljubomir: The most difficult part was to make sure that everyone in the team gets stimulating tasks adapted to their interests and abilities. With so many new colleagues, it was necessary to invest additional effort in the preparation of tasks (investigation, coming up with architecture, discovering dependencies). So, the biggest challenge was to organize work in such a way that everyone feels sufficiently challenged, to ensure they get an opportunity to grow, and that they are satisfied with their contribution to the project.
Nikola: The biggest challenge was expanding our team and onboarding new colleagues. Namely, in the previous year, a lot of new colleagues joined our team. The challenge was to onboard them seamlessly and not let it affect our productivity. We managed to do that successfully.
Milos: Management-wise, finding good people to bring into the team. That’s a time-consuming process — you need to be focused, and there are a lot of downs. In engineering, there were a lot of challenges. I think the biggest challenge is performance. You’re never completely satisfied, and there’s always room for improvement.
Question #6: Since you’ve successfully overcome your greatest challenges last year, do you have some advice for our readers? What are some of the things you usually do to seek solutions to problems?
Ljubomir: I schedule an event in my calendar (or a series of events, if necessary) to create time and space in my head to devote myself to the problem.
Nikola: I like to think about the problem I’m facing in silence. After I collect my thoughts and consider different solutions, I usually consult with my colleagues. Since our company is already pretty large, there’s a great chance that someone has already faced a similar challenge. They probably overcame it — more or less successfully. If they solved a similar problem successfully, I know what I can do — follow their lead. If their solution was unsatisfactory, I know what not to do.
Milos: My advice is to think the problem through and then sleep on it. Usually, the solution becomes much clearer in the morning.
Question #8: The movie/book that inspired you most in 2022?
Ljubomir: I don’t have time to watch movies. As far as books are concerned, I managed to read Persepolis Rising from the Expanse series.
Nikola: I’m usually not inspired by movies, series, or books. However, I was inspired by Messi winning the FIFA World Cup in 2022. It was well deserved. He truly crowned his career with this achievement.
Milos: I’m not that much into books and movies, but here’s something similar: I enjoy listening to Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about science and explaining all sorts of everyday things through the eyes of an astrophysicist. I became a huge fan last year.
Question #9: Your expectations from 2023 in one word?
Question #10: What are the biggest plans for 2023 for your product?
Ljubomir: Launching a marketplace for third-party addons for Clockify.
Nikola: We’re planning to seriously improve the user experience on all our applications. That’s something we’ll be working on.
Milos: Our biggest plan is to do everything we can to enable people and businesses to move to our platform with their existing projects and data. Next to that, we’re working on introducing paid plans and some of the premium features which will be available within them.
Question #11: What is the most important feature of your product you’re planning on developing in 2023?
Ljubomir: I’m an engineer — it’s hard for me to compare which features are more important than others. That’s the job of the Product team. 🙂 In addition to the Marketplace, we are also working on expanding the functionality of most features on Clockify.
Nikola: We will start working on integrations with other software apps. That is what is most important.
Milos: Integrations, generally speaking. It’s a broad topic covering integration with different apps — both inbound and outbound — and data integration for organizations wanting to transition to Plaky.
Question #12: In your opinion, what is the future of work?
Nikola: This is a good question! I have been thinking about this. First of all, I think remote work (in some form) is here to stay. There’s no turning back from that, although I don’t like it. I work from the office and I think it’s amazing when we all are in one place, together. So, I think the future of work is somewhere in between remote and in-office work models. I don’t mean a hybrid model of work (working 2 days in the office and 3 from home), but rather a VR version of remote work. Virtual and augmented reality tools will enable us to feel more connected, no matter where we work from. I think that’s the future. We’ll see when it’ll become reality. To sum up, the future of work is working from home with the help of VR or AR.
Milos: In light of recent developments in AI and robotics, I hope humanity will avoid all pessimistic scenarios and reach a state where everybody can work less, especially when speaking of manual labor.