Today I want to put some light on some services we use to organize our work. Actually, it’ll be more like whose happy customers we are. Being a small tech company we pay much attention to optimizing our workflow. We want it to be more efficient, stressfree and besides that easy to understand. Personally, I believe in the power of people over the processes. But a great team with the smooth working scheme can produce much more value and stay happy.
Enough said, let’s dive into it.
We are all about code. Code is our craft. The code is our product. And to manage our code, to collaborate on it we need the best possible solution. I’m sure it’s not only my opinion that nowadays there is no better service than GitHub for that.
We use it very extensively for all the code we have. That’s our customers’ projects in private repositories, our fun or OSS projects, and our private individual stuff.
We rely on GitHub.Issues to manage our tasks. We use all the power of code review possibilities.
Even this blog is hosted on GitHub.Pages together with our temporary site (which we are struggling to renew) and couple other projects: php-guide and The Book of Knowledge. I’ll post some details on later soon.
Even though it happens so that all of us come to the office to spend a day or two to collaborate in person, it’s quite rare. Most of the time we operate as a totally remote team. Being separated one from another in space we need something to communicate almost as in person but also with fewer interruptions. And here comes HipChat to the rescue.
It has everything we need: group and private chats, nice API and integrations with other services to notify us about things that happen in our GitHub account, for example. The ability to easily bring guests to our chats is also very useful to bring anyone we need to discuss any question.
We don’t practice communication with clients using HipChat, yet. But maybe we’ll be in the nearest future.
Speaking about clients. At first, we didn’t have a necessity for a special instrument to communicate with them. Email, phone calls and meetings worked just fine. But as those things tend to spend more and more time as we grow, we started to look for some solution and for the moment stayed with Basecamp.
Service turned out to be very suitable to discuss project details, gather information, outline plans and even collaborate on some documents needed for a project.
Also it is separated from the code. Generally, most of the clients don’t care much about the code itself. They need a working product. And at the same time, programmers don’t feel the pressure of someone watching their work, how often they push or how much lines they change. Those are some metrics that can make a wrong impression and treated incorrectly.
Hetzner & Amazon
As we’re developing for the web ourselves we need a place to test our projects and host them. We need staging server while in development, production servers and someplace to run our applications’ tests.
Both Amazon AWS and Hetzner turned to be suitable for us. Depending on the purpose, of course. We are able to set up, config and control the machine without any interaction with the support. And comparing with some Russian hosting providers it’s like a breath of fresh air.
I think it won’t be any kind of revelation that in the company like ours the biggest part of expenses is salaries. And comparing to them the price of every service that we use can seem very insignificant. So, for us, it’s not even a question as to whether to spend this money or not. If something makes our work better we’ll pay for it and for sure it’ll pay its way.
We’ve just reached the limit of Bronze plan on GitHub and for sure we’ll go further for Silver. Our half-year trial for HipChat ends up in a matter of days and we’ve already setup everything to pay them. Same can be said about Basecamp and hosting providers.
To some up I’ll just repeat myself one more time: if anything makes our work more efficient, better in speed and quality we’ll pay for it with no doubts because it not only will pay back but make us happier.
And what service do you use in your workflow?