Tools and Utilities I use to be productive

Its been about 6 months since i started my adventure at @cirrent and i wanted to take a moment to jot down the tools and utilities i use that make my life so much more easier and productive.

In no particular order:

Slack

This is like inter-team messaging on steroids.

Things i love about slack:

  • Clear and crisp interface, lets me easily organize my conversations.
  • Search is just amazing!
  • All the various bot integrations. We have our own hubot integration called DrNefario and he’s made our life more fun and easier.
  • The digest messages at the end of the week confirms that my small team is indeed talking to each other.

AWS

IT in the cloud.

  • Enables us to scale very quickly and easily.
  • Allows us to spin up environments for testing/stage etc very quickly without disrupting normal flow.
  • Once you commit to using all of AWS services (dynamoDB, RDS, SQS, etc) I love how all of them integrate with each other so easily.

Jira

Keeping us organized

  • We use Jira primarily for our sprints and issue tracking.
  • Keeps us moving forward — It has a clear way to indicate who works on what.
  • I also like Jira’s widget elements that you can use to create a dashboard that informs us of trends on if we’re progressing forward and if we’re converging on our bugs etc.

Travis-CI

Helps us automate everything

  • Travis has made it easy to setup integrations with github/test servers/test environments/aws/slack to build, test, inform and deploy our code.
  • Being a small startup, its super important that we have good code coverage for our tests and are quickly notified if something is broken. Travis has been great in that regard and has allowed us to set up these integrations quickly so that we can focus on being more productive.
  • Their support has been very prompt and helpful.

Gliffy

Online diagramming

  • I’ve been searching for an online diagraming tool for ages. In the past i’ve been spoilt by MS Visio and so was looking for something that was as close to that as possible, but online. Gliffy has been that answer.
  • Its been great to use and i’ve enjoyed diagraming with it.
  • I love the auto-save feature on it that saves me from losing all my work when i accidentally press the back button!

Skype

Communication

  • An old friend of mine. Skype has been instrumental in enabling me to communicate with my remote engineers. Everyone seems to have a skype account, and so communication and screen sharing has been a breeze.

Upwork

Building my army of engineers… and more

  • Upwork allows me to be super productive. I am able to find the right person with the right skills to work on a project fairly quickly.
  • With this approach, i am able to get my projects done by experts in each area. Makes me look like i’m super productive ;)

TrelloEvernote

Keeping myself organized

  • I use a mixture of Trello and Evernote to keep myself organized.
  • With Trello, i like how i can easily move a task from In Progress to Done.
  • With Evernote, i like how i can jot down notes for myself and they are available on all my devices.

Thats my list as of now. I will post again in another 6 months to see how it changes.