Screenshot 2023-10-25 at 10.48.41 PM.png
Beyond the script
Working at Frappe is challenging but immensely rewarding. This is my 5-year journey.


Michelle Alva


May, 29 2024



min read

"Why do you want to join Frappe? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

“I'm passionate about open source, problem-solving, and customer interactions, and I love Frappe's culture and values. In 5 years, I see myself leading a team.”

I remember having this conversation with a candidate during one of the interviews I took recently, and it made me wonder if I would even have passed my own interview had I asked myself the same questions 5 years ago. My honest answer at that time would have been "I need a job, and I don't know."

Luckily, I wasn't asked either of those questions.

From the day of starting my engineering program, my goal had always been to pursue a career in teaching, because I enjoyed it, and let’s be real, teachers get regular vacations. I also absolutely dreaded having a 9-5 job hearing how bad the corporate life was. However, life seemed to have other plans in store, and through a series of fortunate events beyond my control, I landed at Frappe as a Consultant.

Little did I know then how much my motivations and aspirations would evolve over the next 5 years.

Small beginnings

When I joined in 2019, we were a small team of 35. I spent my initial days learning the product. After a few weeks, I was asked to write the product documentation for the HR module since we were rewriting our manual. Excited to start my first project, I readily agreed. Soon, I realized I did not enjoy it. I slacked off and wouldn’t proactively seek help either (though my colleagues were kind enough to help always). I remember Rushabh reviewing it weekly, and one day he said, "Look, it's been almost 2 months since you joined, and the reactive approach won’t work. If you want help, ask for it!". This was probably the first time I got a sense of Frappe’s culture. With the sole fear of losing my job, I spent the next 3 days sprinting to deliver the documentation, proactively asking for help whenever I got stuck, and finally completing it, though not my best work.

After this not-so-great start, I had the choice between sales or support. I opted for support because the idea of coaxing someone to purchase anything didn't seem fun to me. Nonetheless, support proved to be quite enjoyable. It helped me gain a deep understanding of the product and customer issues firsthand, mainly through emails at that time. I think I performed well in this role and looked forward to assignments, as debugging customer issues felt challenging and gratifying.

We eventually recognized that once customers were onboarded, they struggled to set up their ERPNext sites. To address this, we set up a customer onboarding cadence, taking calls with newly converted customers and guiding them through the initial setup. I got a chance to be part of this small team along with support and that gave me the much-needed exposure of getting on customer calls and interacting with them.

Level up

One fine day, around 6-7 months into my job, I overheard a senior colleague suggest giving me a project implementation lead role, as they felt I was doing well in support. While this comment may not seem significant now, it meant a lot to me. The sheer amount of trust to lead a project at that stage felt great, almost as if I had “graduated”.

This marked my official shift from support to implementation. Back in 2020, Frappe handled ERPNext implementations internally. Although I had assisted senior colleagues occasionally, leading a project on my own instilled a strong sense of accountability. Gradually, I led many small implementations, with my work revolving around understanding customers’ business, proposing ERPNext solutions, and suggesting workarounds where needed. This customer-facing role exposed me to diverse industries, and working with stakeholders across companies made me more responsible, collaborative, and adept at managing expectations.

Take charge

After COVID hit, we transitioned to remote work. After the initial phase of denial and acceptance of how life was going to be, I started settling into this new routine. This meant more video calls, more writing, and more doing things independently. My experience across customer support, onboarding, and implementations helped me deeply understand the product and customer issues, most importantly our internal problems.

Post Zerodha’s investment in 2020, Frappe grew rapidly, with even our team size crossing 100. This growth led to new teams, avenues, and challenges and Frappe offered countless opportunities to turn these challenges into learning experiences. The approach was simple: "Found a problem? Propose a solution, take feedback, and fix it." Your team, role, or experience didn't matter, and you had the complete freedom to pick and choose your work.

This culture challenged me to constantly look for new problems and ideas, leading me to voluntarily take on side projects and work on long-term asset creation. I worked on initiatives like churn analysis, conducting competitor product studies, organizing internal training sessions, and creating resources like consulting guides, sales discovery questions, and implementation test cases, with the help of my teammates.

One notable project was the plan migration initiative. While analyzing customer plans, I realized we had many legacy plans grandfathered since the start. I proposed migrating these customers to new, appropriately priced plans, benefiting both Frappe and the customers. After extensive data cleaning, revenue analysis, and lots of internal convincing, we successfully migrated these customers, earning an additional annual recurring revenue of nearly INR 1 crore. It wasn’t easy to put faith in a 1.5-year-something experienced employee to drive this whole project from start to finish given the huge risk of revenue churn it had. But Frappe had that in me, and to me, it meant a lot.

The turning point

As Frappe took on more enterprise customers, we needed to streamline our internal processes, leading us to pursue the ISO certification. Rushabh randomly added me to the kickoff call with our prospective ISO consultants as a learning opportunity. I had no context or clue about what would come next. After being a silent observer on the call, he suggested I drive the certification as a Management Representative (MR) which essentially meant leading the ISO 9001 certification.

It wasn't just about Frappe's systems and processes; I also learned how other companies ran their operations. We conducted gap assessments, documented new processes, set measurable goals for each department, and established monthly goal tracking. As part of the ISO team, I managed meetings, coordinated with departmental SPOCs, monitored progress, suggested improvements, reviewed systems periodically, and identified non-conformities.

I thoroughly enjoyed this work as it enabled me to deepen my understanding while broadening the scope of my role, keeping me consistently engaged and challenged. In December 2021, we achieved ISO certification, thanks to our collective efforts. Simultaneously, I became part of the leadership team and took up more leadership activities which was a turning point for me.

No limits

Frappe pushed me outside my comfort zone! I learned to be more outspoken and stand up for what I believe in. I would actively participate in multiple company-wide discussions, suggest new ideas, and execute them. The best part? Frappe encourages everyone to do this, no matter their role or experience. You can always share your ideas, even if they challenge the status quo. It's a culture you won't find everywhere. Sure, sometimes your ideas might not work out, but at least you won't have that nagging feeling of "what if?".

In 2022, Rushabh decided to take a backseat from the CEO role. He wanted to set up a new leadership team, and after multiple discussions, I took up the role of the COO. The major expectation was to take Frappe to the next level. As the COO, I worked on many operational aspects like working on the business plan, suggesting new revenue channels, tracking profitability, hiring, and setting new processes. I got to work with many leaders within the team, some of them were my peers, and others were a bunch of senior folks who also brought a lot of new ideas and perspectives. All of them were kind enough to teach me on the go and collaborate as well.

It wasn't always easy being the COO. The role came with a ton of responsibility and pressure, both professionally and personally. At times, I felt like an imposter and would hesitate to even tell outsiders my title, worried about what they might think. Other times, I felt extraordinarily empowered and in control. Overall, while the operational side went well, the bigger vision of taking Frappe to new heights didn't quite come together as I'd hoped.

Everyone fails

This time last year was a challenging period. Internal conflicts and my limitations in seeing the long-term picture led to me stepping down as COO. I spent many sleepless nights retrospecting. Maybe I wasn’t the right fit. Or maybe this didn’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things? It most probably didn’t.

After 2 difficult weeks, I accepted it and moved on. This time I focussed on the bigger picture - which dimmed the noise. I continued driving operations and invested time in self-learning, something which I didn’t prioritize earlier. I started reading and writing more, picked up more operations-focused projects, and drove them to completion. This helped me regain my motivation and got me back on track.

Onwards and upwards

As adventurous as the journey sounds, it wasn’t easy. I had lots of valuable learnings, both professionally and personally. I learned that success may be fleeting, but perseverance is the key to lasting growth. I also learned that it's important to push yourself beyond limits and that it is alright to fail. I wouldn’t have been where I am today without failing multiple times, because each experience helped me become more resilient, mentally stronger, and wiser. Does this culture work for everyone? No. Did I ever want to give up? Absolutely. But each time that thought arose, I chose to push forward, and I’m glad I did.

What am I doing now? I am working on driving operations, marketing our new products, and helping to build a better Frappe. I am grateful for the countless opportunities and learnings that Frappe has given me in the past 5 years, and all that I have achieved would not have been possible without the guidance and support from my mentors, and teammates.

As for where I would see myself after 5 years? Only time will tell.

Published by

Michelle Alva


May, 29 2024


Add your comment




CA B.C.Chechani


May 29, 2024

It's very interesting to learn about this story and inspiring to read the section that perfectly highlights and discusses the spirit of growth and collaboration at Frappe. Seeing how Frappe encourages innovation and supports each team member to step out of their comfort zone and contribute meaningfully is inspiring. The journey of becoming the COO and navigating the challenges is genuinely commendable.

Rushabh Mehta


May 29, 2024

Amazing journey! You have incredible energy and an indomitable spirit. Keep learning and reaching new heights.



Paul Mugambi


3 days


Beautiful read, and an insight into an individual I respect and have learned a lot from. Am inspired to trust the process and never give up.


Anna Dane


5 days


I must say this is a really amazing post, and for some of my friends who provide Best British Assignment Help, I must recommend this post to them.

Add your comment