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Scaling our permission model

When Productboard started in 2014, our clear focus was on product managers in smaller teams who lacked a great product management tool. Nowadays, we help much larger companies with thousands of employees, and we need to solve quite different needs and personas.

More granular access control 🔐

Productboard currently works with only four user roles — maker with admin accessmakercontributor, and viewer. You can quickly imagine how this can become an issue when larger teams want to use Productboard to store everything related to their products.

To help, we recently introduced Product Permissions to prevent accidental changes. But we realize that larger companies need to support a much wider spectrum of roles, including product ops, system admins, and product marketing managers, and our original focus on product managers just does not cut it anymore.

Another important aspect of access control is definitely security — we need to make sure our customers can give access to their employees in a much more granular fashion to keep classified information safe.

Scaling our architecture 📈

Going upmarket and focusing on large companies also meant that we had to scale our architecture and infrastructure. We started breaking our Ruby monolith into microservices, did the same thing on the frontend, and shifted to creating nx modules.

This is another place where our original permission system does not work well anymore. If we decide to introduce a new role or change an existing one, we will have to check and update all our services to work correctly and securely.

We need to improve our permission model and functionality, and in the short-term that means we have to crawl all over every service, every stack, every language, every piece of the frontend that this touches, and we have to fix it and that’s not going to work for our tribe long-term.

— Joshua Samberg, Director of Engineering

Reimagining permissions 🖌

Our goal now is to establish a focused expert team that would create and maintain a scalable and highly reliable permission architecture from the ground up.

We imagine that this team will design a toolkit for other teams at Productboard, so that they can implement permissions needs in their respective domains.

Our aim is to have a system that is highly resilient, performant and that allows the product teams to adopt it at their own pace, regardless of the stack they are using now or in the future. A foundation on which Productboard can build great Enterprise features in the years to come.

— Tomáš Prchal, Senior Engineer

Removing the fog of war 🔦

We are aware that building a highly available and performant permission service will be a huge challenge that we cannot underestimate.

Although we already have excellent engineers in our tribe, we are looking for a permission expert with a lot of experience with solving access control in complex systems like ours. This leader would boost our understanding of the permission domain and help us move much faster and prevent setbacks in this difficult topic.

We want a really strong technical person, but we want someone who’s seen a version of this that works for enterprise-size customers, someone who can really double check our ideas in the earliest stages.

— Joshua Samberg, Director of Engineering

Lead us to success 🏁

Do you have deep experience with access control? Do you want to architect the new permission model at Productboard that our huge global customers will love you for? Can’t wait to talk to you!

Check out the Permission Expert position at Productboard Careers! 🔥

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