Communication between tools > Communication between people
April 20, 2018
Did you know that less than 10% of businesses are able to execute their strategy because of poor internal alignment? We think that the 'poor communication' debate over-indexes on the people part of the problem.
At Hugo, we broaden our focus on communication to include the flow of information between our apps too.
Let me show you how this enables us to ship faster, give our customers agency in the product-development process and pack a punch like teams 5x our size!
The linchpin of this loop is Trello + Slack + Segment. All information and work between teammates and their tools flow through this core stack. It is how information is available in real-time, and how we link products together for attribution.
- New Users - the second a new user signs up to Hugo, Segment sends that data to Intercom where their details are enriched, and intercom sends a message to our #new_customer Slack channel with the name and email address of the individual. The moment you join Hugo, a guardian angel from our team is there for you to jump on any issues that might hurt your first experience and resolve them on the spot!
- Onboarding - after signup, Segment will also send that data to Chameleon, triggering a step-by-step product walkthrough that runs for new users.
- Customer Support - With Intercom chat, users can speak to a member of our team as easily as texting a friend. For real-time problem-resolution, chats initiated by our users will post a message to Slack. From there the entire team will know who has assigned themselves to the issue so we don't double-up and that rep can even respond directly from Slack to avoid app-switching.
- Catching Bugs - in addition to direct customer-support, we leverage Bugsnag to automatically catch and aggregate errors in our app so that we can get a fix out before users even notice there was an issue. Bugsnag will create tickets in our Bugs Trello board and notify Engineering in Slack based on escalation policies.
Testing and Shipping New Features
- Feature Flags - with Launchdarkly, we can hide/expose certain features based on customer data available from Segment. This means that we can safely beta-test new features without additional engineering work.
- Quality Assurance - When a ticket from Engineering is ready for testing, Jira will notify someone on the Product team via a Slack message. This means our engineers can stay focused on their work and new features can be tested a-la-carte by Product which makes things a lot more manageable.
- Shipping Features - to save more time for our Engineers and provide more control to the Product team, we built our very own Slackbot, called Nigel! Using a combination of CircleCI and Slack, our Product team can ship features without Engineering, by using a simple /deploy command in Slack. This has been one of the biggest timesavers internally. Nothing is cooler than shipping new features directly from Slack, on your phone!
Capturing Ideas and Feedback
- Feature Candidates - We leverage Slack again to connect our Sprint Candidatesboard in Trello with the team. Anyone on the team can submit a candidate, and when they do it sends a notification to the team via Slack. This automates team-awareness around what work is upcoming and allows for debate via comments and reactions so that gaps can be surfaced and solutions debated ahead of time.
- New Designs - Zeplin is great because it contains all the details that Engineering need to build to specification. When our Design team publishes new designs or ask questions on existing boards, the activity is posted to our #zeplin Slack channel with a link to the design. This allows anyone from the team to have visibility over new designs and to provide input if they think tweaks need to be considered.
- Customer Feedback - When it comes to Hugo, we are our own best customer! Notes from every customer conversation are saved in Hugo. This means that we can publish feedback to Slack for team discussion, and bugs/feature requests can be sent to Trello directly from our notes. Not only is this more efficient for our customer-facing teams, but attributing design and engineering work means that our team can see the notes behind these requests and we can then get back to those users when their requests have been shipped!
Celebrating the Wins
- New Customers - when a new team upgrades to a paid tier, Stripe sends a 💰 notification to us via Slack, and triggers a siren in the office. Why do we do this? Because it's cool and because we can!
Based on our product, you can see that Hugo is deeply focused on how information is generated and used to create unfair advantages within companies. A peek inside our own processes shows that we bring these values into the way we choose and use tools to deliver more for our customers!
Now that the state of SaaS integrations is so strong, you can't afford to have any tools in your company that doesn't integrate with the rest.