Shaping our Tools to the Flow of Conversation: Issue Creation

Collaboration is hard. There are the essential difficulties of dealing with people, and then there are incidental challenges in the tools we use. Communicating with people, while clicking into to Travis to see the build status and asking: where is this deployed? Who tested it? I want to remove all those incidental challenges, even the tiny ones.

We collaborate with tools: Slack, an issue tracker, source control, many more. We want the best tool for each purpose, but switching between them is extra work for my brain. A tiny bit of extra work, but every distraction matters when I’m focused on a complex task.

For instance, we’re talking in Slack, and realize we need to track this with a GitHub issue. Sometimes two of us create an issue at the same time — oops! I want to create that issue right in the conversation where people can see it.

The Atomist bot can do this for me:

@atomist create issue

I don’t need all the functionality of GitHub Issues in Slack, just enough plus a link. This way I rarely have to switch contexts, and neither does anyone else there in the conversation. I can claim the issue and vote for it and add a label right here. If I pop over to GitHub and update the issue, the Slack message redraws when new information has come to light.

This is a small thing.

Small things matter when they let us keep more of our brain on the hard problems of coding and collaboration with people. Every tiny mental bump I can smooth out for my team makes each of us effectively smarter.

Create Issue is a tiny piece of Atomist’s built-in automation, interweaving the tools we have to suit the way we smoothly work. There’s more: commit messages are pretty and are integrated with build and deploy status, PR notifications are mergeable, even new projects are created in line with the conversation.

We don’t need a new interface for collaboration. We need to make the ones we have as perfect as possible, then customize per team.

As developers, we have the power to create the world we want: the world that gets the tiny problems out of our way so we can solve the hard stuff.

Spend some time automating your own work, with whatever tools you have. Invite the Atomist bot into your team to get Create Issue and other integrations. Join the development automation conversation in our community Slack. We’d love to hear how you shape your tools to fit your flow.