In the beginning of the web we had a lot of IRC and chat rooms, but the time was passing and this rooms were losing strength. To be fair IRC always was very strong in the open source community, but I admit that in my old jobs we never got the team's chat room.

Recently, the remote job and distributed teams have become a thing, the way we work changed and our collaboration tools are getting better, reducing even more the need of presencial communication. I know that the "inner old you" start to get angry when someone say something like this. However, the good thing is that we are rediscovering the chat room. The success of HipChat, Gitter and Slack is a proof of it.

After a while we began to realize that we have a lot of repetitive communication patterns going on in our workflow. I guess you probably already read some of this phrases sometime:

- Hey, can you accept my pull request ?

- Someone already deployed the new version ?

- Let's go to the daily meeting. * z Z . . .* ?

- Guys, a user notified us that the X feature has a bug, nobody saw the ticket on the Help Desk ?!

Automate all the things

If there's an advice that I can give to anyone who is starting to working with any type of management is: Automate everything you can.

The manual tasks will drain your day and you will feel that you are "losing time" or "the day need more hours". Everytime you need to check if that important ticket in your Help Desk was solved or if the Trello card was updated you are losing time and focus.

Other aspect of it is that it's only you checking this things ! What about the rest of the team ? They know that John Doe pushed a very cool feature yesterday in the company side project that can soon become a new product ?

There are too many things happening and it's easy to let something important pass unnoticed. So the question is: how to solve this problem ?

ChatOps

You need to integrate your team about everything that is happening in different fronts, everything happening quickly. Why not use your chat ? Everyone is there and it already notifies everybody, why not ?

This is what chatOPs is, it's about bring your communication and tools all to the chat. Not only things related to devOPs, but everything you can. I will show you a few thing that you can do.

Integrations

I will use here Slack as example to show you how powerful your chat can become. Do you remember the annoying questions that I used as example before ? I will use Slack on the following examples to show you how can we integrate our chat with the workflow of the team. But don't worry, most chats have this features, so you can choose what you like more.

Github

Most startups and the open source community uses Github as a way to share code nowadays, so let's integrate it. The chat services usually have some of this integrations out of the box, you just need to authenticate with a Github account that has access to repository of interest. This way you can be notified every time someone on your team change a branch or push new commits like this:

pull request notification

Say good bye to people letting your pull request gather dust my friend.

Deploy

You will deploy a new version of your app and we know it's a very good feeling right ? Why not share with the team ? Just do it:

deploy notification

Your manager will not ask you about the new version anymore. Actually, sometimes he will ask you anyway !

Help Desk

This is one is really useful. You can follow the help desk to know if your user answered the bug that you solved:

help desk notification

Continuous Integration

I'm sure you write tests to your code right ? Please say yes ! Anyway, you can verify if your tests are passing through your CI too:

ci notification

Bots

You probably noticed the BOT in some of the screenshots above. It's because this is how this integrations are made, through bots !

If you think that the integrations I showed to you until now were cool, now you will get excited. And since we are talking about bots, there is a very friendly guy that I would like to introduce to you:

Hubot

Hubot is a bot created by the guys at Github, I definitely recommend to you start with him. He already has a lot of features good to go and it's very easy to create your own plugins !

- But what can I make with this bot ?

Well, you can do basically anything you want, a plugin to show you random pictures of pugs or a bot that helps you to choose where to drink coffee as we did in the last post !

Wrapping up

Hope you enjoyed this introduction to chatOPs, I'm excited to see what you will do to help your team through your chat. See you around !