What tools are in your toolbox?

Jessica Villeneuve
Mon, March 06, 2017

What tools are in your toolbox? Jessica Villeneuve

Mon, March 06, 2017

I really wanted to make this a tongue and cheek blog post….but instead will head down the nerd path today (and giggle to myself as I do).

The thing that I love about our toolbox is that it’s weaved in weird and wonderful ways for various reasons and it just works. While we could whittle down our toolset (as we have multiple tools of similar nature) we find it is important to have flexibility, especially amongst the different teams.

Our toolbox here in the Symphony team is probably far from unique. We don’t have the luxury of creating proprietary tools as we really do focus every minute moving our core product forward. Why re-invent a wheel when so many other nice and shiny ones exist?

Problems/opportunities/ideas/challenges present themselves in various ways…

  •  Our clients provide us feedback directly via Zendesk. This normally occurs by filling out a form or by sending Client Services an email.
  • All team members can contribute to our Roadmap via Jira. As a Product Team, we go through each and determine how it falls into the overall priorities.
  •  Trello is great for its simplicity and allows us to easily add ideas, categorise and prioritise during ideation sessions. We use Trello when we want to focus on a key feature at a very high level.

From Idea to Roadmap…

  •  We create a roadmap epic requirements page in Confluence. Here we get down to specifics laying out high level details and breaking these down into User Stories.
  •  Product will engage with the UX team to start working through the design process. Tickets will be raised and connected via Trello.
  •  The UX team will then begin their design process, initially with good ol’ paper and pencil. From there, they use Adobe Illustrator to generate concepts and wireframes.
  •  For UX testing, they’ll use InVision to collaborate, test and validate ideas. This they can use directly in user tests or via GoToMeeting calls with users around the world.
  •  The Development Team will then lift our User Stories and transfer these into Jira. They’ll break each User Story down into the tasks required to bring that user story to life.

Let’s Develop!

  •  Developers break down their Jira tasks even further into Development Tasks using a tool called Waffle. This tool is integrated with Github.
  •  Once a Developer is ready to work on a task, they’ll use Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft SQL Server to do all the coding and database magic.
  •  They’ll use these tools along with Github to create branches, make commits, do pull requests, and process code reviews. In between all of those steps, they use Stylecop to ensure their code is up to spec.
  •  Once the tasks have reached the definition of done, the Dev Ops team then use Jenkins to package the builds and unit tests. Once that is all successful, Octopus is then used to release the package through our various environments.
  • The QA team will do their magic in the initial staging environment. Armed with their Jira Test plans, they will review each Jira User Story both manually and with a testing automation tool called Selenium.
  •  When all tasks in the build package have passed QA, the Dev Ops team will release to additional environments using Octopus until all is said and done.

Close the loop… COMMUNICATE!

  • Once we are ready to push to Production, the Product Release process begins.
  •  We communicate with our Client Services and Sales team via Hipchat so that they are aware of an impending release.
  •  The Client Services team will login to Confluence to view a pre-release report generated from Jira.
  •  Once the Octopus notification is distributed for the Production environment, the Symphony Release Notes are generated via Confluence and distributed via Google Mail.

The End! Rinse and Repeat for the next idea!