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How we use HipChat to encourage collaboration

HipChat is our main instant text messaging tool at netguru. Each of us has the HipChat application running for most of the day, and uses it to communicate with the rest of the team.

HipChat is our main instant text messaging tool at netguru. Each of us has the HipChat application running for most of the day, and uses it to communicate with the rest of the team.

Each project has its own Chat Room

As a consulting company that creates custom software, we work on many projects simultaneously. Every project we are working on has its own room on HipChat, which only includes people who are directly involved in it.

Each room has its own integrations and displays notifications that only concern a given project.

Integrations with external tools

Integrations with tools we use are very important to us. Thanks to them, notifications from various tools we use are in one place.

  • integration with CircleCi, thanks to which we know whether the test are passed and whether a new feature hasn’t wrecked the project
  • integration with auto-deployment, which allows us to do deployments from HipChat’s level and get feedback on HipChat whether a deployment succeeded or not.
  • integration with Pivotal Tracker – shows all new tickets added to the backlog and informs about all the “accepts” and “rejects” in the already completed tickets
  • integration with CodeClimate – shows whether recent changes improved the code, or rather broke it

One common room for the whole team

Netguru Team chat is a meeting spot where we talk about everything and nothing. We test out new HipBot extensions as well as paste funny memes. Netguru Team is a virtual water cooler of all sorts, a meeting spot, a serendipity generator.

One of the most important feature of Netguru Team is the ability to give props to colleagues from the team. Props are kind of a virtual “thank you” and a pat on the back – they can be given for anything. The props are saved in the team member’s profile in our internal dashboard.

The seniors’ room

Senior Developers have their own room, where they solve all important problems and help the team. Seniors have higher permissions and more responsibilities related to helping others.

It’s always possible to easily “call a senior” in every chat room, which amounts to sending a short message, which is displayed in the seniors’ room. If you need to change something in the server configuration, have some kind of problem, or are in need of some other form of technical support – simply write a message, and one of the seniors is sure to help you.

TradeGuru, or the commit exchange

We believe in Peer Code Review; i.e. programmers assigned to different projects cross-checking each others’ code. Each commit has to be checked before it’s deployed to the staging server, which is why everyone is interested in finding someone to review the code in a given project.

That is why one of the most active rooms on our HipChat is TradeGuru, where programmers exchange commits for the Peer Code Review.

Our Hipbot helps out in TradeGuru – it can give suggestions on whom to ask for a review in exchange for checking the code in a different project.

Hipbot

Hipbot is present in every room and has access to every conversation. It’s our bot, which can do many things. Here’s some of them:

  • can deploy a project to any environment on demand
  • can google a picture or a definition
  • can talk about life

HipChat is a very important place for us. With it, we don’t waste time on digging through email notifications and we do many things faster. It’s also an important method of communication within the team.

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