Communicate early, Communicate often, but don’t repeat yourself!
Communication can be pretty tough, especially when people with very different backgrounds are working together to translate vague business requirements into a crisp web application. There can be e-mails, phone calls, Skype message, as well as messages that get posted to any of a number of project tracking services like Basecamp.
Without a plan, this gets out of hand really quickly. At Highgroove, we have a few very simple rules that help us get things done and deliver the best experience possible to our customers:
Pivotal Tracker is the authoritative source of information about every project
Most of our customers are pretty good about putting things that they want us to do into Pivotal Tracker, dragging and dropping them to prioritize what they want us to work on next. This is great because it keeps everyone in the loop and lets us look over past work and enables effective planning of when future work will be complete.
6am on a Sunday and you’re wondering about project status? Just open up Pivotal Tracker and you’ll know exactly where things stand, even if Matt has been up all night fixing bugs!
In fact, we’ve been using Github’s post-commit hook to update Pivotal Tracker stories automatically when we make changes to the code for a project. This means that when we fix a bug or implement a feature, a link to the details of the change automatically appears in the comments for that story.
That said, using a software tool can be pretty impersonal, so on to our second rule…
Talk to us on Skype, contact us, or call us at 770.817.6373 any time you need something related to your project (or just to say hello!). We love to hear from you, and we’re here to answer questions and make changes to the plan for your project.
As soon as you get in touch with us, we’ll pull up your Pivotal Tracker project so we know exactly where things are. We put anything you ask us to do in a a Story, and tag things that we need something from you on with “needs-input”. If we answer questions for you, we’ll include the question and answers in the description or comment of the related story in Pivotal Tracker so that it’s easy to find again.
Everyone has their own preferred method of communication, so pick your favorite and get in touch with us. We’ll keep Pivotal Tracker updated with all the details so you’ll know that you’re getting what you’re paying for. If you decide that getting your pillow-pets ecommerce backend up and running is more important than fine tuning your space probe launching system, it’s just a drag and drop or a carrier pigeon message away.