I’m currently “vacationing” on the coast of Brittany, France, for Easter.
The house where I’m lodging isn’t covered by the 3G network. But this little shack, above, in the back of the garden is. So I move in there during the day to work amongst the nails, the paint, and the gardening gear.
My usual setup is my large living room at home in Northern France. Being able to leave it at times is pretty awesome, even if there’s a downgrade in comfort.
This said, I thought I’d share how we work at Wysija. We’re highly mobile after all.
We’re four guys who live in four different towns. Three in France. One in Spain.
Adrien works in his office. Ben in Madrid’s coworking space. Jonathan and I from home.
Our collaboration is exclusively online. Much like Automattic, the company that runs the WordPress project. See a map of their employees’ locations.
It has its advantages, but also some disadvantages. We’ll discuss the latter at the end of this short post.
We manage to work quite efficiently together. At least, that’s what I feel as the Project Manager of Wysija.
It takes a bit of discipline, a few essential tools and some “human touch” for motivation.
Here’s the software that powers us:
Redmine: this is the ultimate bug tracker.Now replaced by GitHub.
- Gmail: all our email, notifications, etc.
- Update: Helpscout which is great to offer support via email. It turns email into a ticketing system.
- Update: we are now using Trello for our to do list. It’s a good way to know what everybody is doing right, right now.
- Google Talk or Skype for chat. Both are used equally. Update: we also use Ventrilo as an alternative.
- Skype for our weekly conference call. It last an hour and I share my screen. Google Hangout when Skype fails.
Our support site is a modified theme called SupportPress by WooThemes.We switched to HelpScout entirely.
- All our online presence is on WordPress. But of course!
We hail RedMine. One of the partners, Jonathan, introduced it to us. It’s a Ruby on Rails Open Source project to which we gladly donated to.
Take note, if you’re using free Open Source software, you should donate too. For example, you could give a few bucks to VLC, everybody’s favorite movie player.
There are other practical tools we use:
- We have
anthree internal blogs to share thoughts and ideas. We use the practical P2 theme.
- DropBox to share some files.
- Balsamiq for our wireframes and mockups. See an example.
- Google Docs for text documents, some sheets and forms too.
- OpenOffice for accounting.
- Photoshop, of course.
GitA private GitHub for our code versioning. I purchased Gitbox myself.
A special mention goes to Balsamiq and GitHub for their ease of use.
We rarely use the phone. I’m probably the only one who seldom calls the others.
Can’t Beat Face-to-Face Time
There’s no digital dreamland, fortunately. We meet physically once every 3 or 4 months.
There’s a double reason. First, the four of us don’t know each other so well. We’ve never worked together before Wysija and only met a handful of times. Second, we need to debate and discuss. On Skype, after an hour of talking, we become distracted. Not good.
We last met in Madrid for a week in March. It was a lot of fun both to work and party with the “boyz”, as I call them. Berlin is our next destination for a week in early June.
We’ll be able to meet Nadjah, the illustrator who drew our mascot, Maily, and some of the themes included in our plugin.
If you’re in Berlin yourself, do let us know, we’ll be happy to meet you.