#14 : Meeting with Theodo

written by
Clara Cros

Theodo Group is a digital technology consulting and implementation firm. Founded in 2009, Theodo helps its clients design and code digital products that have a lasting impact on their processes and their business. With offices in Paris, London, New York and Casablanca, Theodo works with both large corporations (Safran, BNP, Kering, BPI) and established start-ups (BlaBlaCar, ContentSquare, ManoMano, Evaneos). Theodo is active in web and mobile technologies, AI, DevOps, Fintech, and Medtech, and uses its Lean and Agile-inspired methodology to rapidly develop high-quality, customized digital products.

Theodo and its various start-ups, united within the Theodo Group, now employ 600 people - 180 of whom work for Theodo France alone.

During this meeting, we talked with Eden, who arrived at Theodo as a developer NoCode in October 2020. When he arrived, the work of evangelizing the techno in-house had already begun thanks to people already convinced by the advantages of NoCode.

However, the need to concretely integrate technology within the agency was felt more and more strongly on various projects. It is this need that led to the creation of a tribe NoCode within Theodo that same year. Eden is part of this tribe and his goal is to make it grow and evolve further. For Eden, the Product and the NoCode are complementary and he now holds the role of Product Manager.

At Theodo, all employees must go through the Product Owner position for a minimum of 6 months to understand how projects work.

Creation of a tribe NoCode

It is important to know that developers have the possibility to choose the tribe they want to integrate.

Theodo's NoCode tribe is now composed of 4 people and Alexis - whom we also met during this exchange - is the first "traditional" developer to have joined this team. Being already an aficionado of NoCode even before his arrival in the start-up, his choice naturally fell on this tribe. Thanks to his knowledge of NoCode, he quickly realized that projects made in code could also have been realized in NoCode.

The NoCode, guarantee of speed

Theodo being a web development agency, the teams are composed of 80% of developers. NoCode therefore appeared as a way to go beyond the blockages encountered on certain projects and to help the teams in terms of development speed. The start-up can therefore adopt a hybrid vision, called LowCode: NoCode + code, which allows them to accelerate the rendering of projects. This also frees up time for developers so they can focus on the most complex issues.

Knowing which tools to use and limiting its stack

When NoCode arrived at Theodo, we first had to do a lot of research in order to know which tools to use for each project: which tool should I choose for an e-commerce site? For which use?

After starting to work with many tools such as Webflow, Bubble, Airtable, Zapier or Stacker, the demand and need for these tools NoCode started to grow. All projects could no longer be managed solely by their internal team. Two decisions were therefore made:

  • Some of the projects have been outsourced
  • The range of tools has been reduced - some are now only dedicated to internal use, such as Make or Notion

Today, Theodo is mainly positioned on WeWeb and Webflow and makes sure to internalize as much as possible the competence. The question of the integrated approach - Bubble - or modular also arises in order to eventually work with a different front and back as Weweb allows.

For the moment, the two ways of working coexist perfectly and the choices are made according to the customers and their needs.

Indeed, it was quickly noticed that the choice of tools used depends mainly on the use-case and the customer's needs. The use of tools for the front, back and workflows will not be relevant for projects that have to fit into an existing stack . In this case, a modular approach will be more appropriate. It is therefore a question of technical relevance in relation to a technical problem.

BPI Flash page made in WeWeb

Today Alexis has a view on all incoming projects and estimates, according to the customer's needs, if NoCode can be proposed.

The NoCode is therefore a growth lever and allows them to reach a more diverse clientele. The speed of NoCode allows them to meet other needs.

Hybrid profiles: NoCode + code

There are no so-called "NoCoder" profiles at Theodo, only developers who become familiar with the tools NoCode and therefore become hybrid profiles NoCode + code.

According to Alexis, the transition from developer to "LowCoder" is simple. It's quite natural for developers to get to grips with the tools NoCode, especially Weweb and Xano, which are among the most widely used tools at Theodo NoCode .

According to Eden and Alexis, this hybridization of teams - NoCode + code - is essential, especially with regard to legacy. The NoCode also allows the maintainability of applications by their customers and allows them to understand how these applications were built.

The use of NoCode internally

  • Notion for all internal knowledge, documentation and project management
  • Glide for the creation of an application during a seminar
  • Airtable for internal projects
  • Make for the automation of internal processes - all employees are currently trained in the use of the tool via Notion and practical cases.

The idea today is to train everyone on these tools in order to facilitate all internal processes and thus be less dependent on developers.

More and more in-house developers are interested in NoCode tools like WeWeb and many of them see the added value of the tool, which they would like to integrate into their stack. This is partly due to the evangelization done by Alexis and the managers. For example, Alexis regularly presents the developers with projects carried out in LowCode at Theodo. This allows them to see if the hybrid format NoCode + code can be integrated into their current projects.

This integration of NoCode at Theodo has been widely validated by the top managers and especially by the CTO. They themselves are now pushing the teams to work with NoCode tools and thus support the evangelization work.

Application developed on Glide for internal use

Overview of the company's Make scenarios

Future vision

According to Alexis, the limitations currently encountered with NoCode tools should imply the creation of a new type of profile: people who would have the role of directly helping publishers to further develop their tools and thus overcome these limitations.

Today Alexis is still learning code and is transitioning to a "LowCoder" position (see the profile we mentioned earlier). His goal is to acquire enough knowledge of code and NoCode to know when to use code, NoCode or both, depending on the client's needs.

As far as training is concerned NoCode, Alexis is very self-taught but is also supported by the editors and partners when he has the slightest question or by the other members of the community NoCode.

NoCode developer, LowCoder, Maker, Product Builder...

According to Alexis, the term "LowCoder" is the one that best corresponds to his job. Indeed, the term "Product Builder" does not sufficiently emphasize the developer side and the term "NoCoder" has a pejorative side because it can be synonymous with "fake developer" in the minds of people. Does the term "NoCode" represent the profession correctly? According to Eden, maybe this is the term that should be changed to "optimized development" for example.

Eden and Alexis also notice that the names are increasingly based on the tools used and the expertise developed: Bubbler for the Bubble experts or Maker for the Make experts.

To conclude, Eden and Alexis believe that after Theodo, there will be a work of evangelization to do with the other start-ups of the group.

Thanks to Eden and Alexis for this very enriching exchange!