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Innovation week at Tempo

Last week, the Tempo team staged another successful Innovation week. A week dedicated to searching for new ideas and solutions, and our developers had the opportunity to work on something completely different from their usual projects. The goal was for team members to come up with ideas that our developers might develop going forward (developers are surprisingly talented at that sort of stuff). The kind of ideas which emerge from these innovation sessions are, for example, prototypes of new features or products, feature redesigns, automation of something which we are getting tired of doing manually, or something that might benefit Tempo and our team generally.

Then our developers said they needed more space to let their minds wander, so we moved our offices one floor up to a brand new, airy work environment. And since we had all that space, we invited 13 new people on our team.

This must have worked because there was no lack of exciting new ideas and our developers presented some really inspiring and innovative concepts! Out of the many ideas, a few were selected to hash out, and our developers formed teams to further build on those ideas. Here are some highlights of what the brains of our awesome developers cooked up during the week:

photo 2A group of Tempo team members getting ready for a demo

Awareness (Hue Lights)

The Team: Arnþór, Árni Fannar, Árni Reynir, Malte Bjarki, Rúnar, and Sonja Bára

This idea grew out of a problem that we at Tempo have faced on a regular basis: Tempo staff members wanted to see the status of a particular meeting room, e.g. to be able to walk into an empty meeting room knowing it has not already been occupied. Our team members decided to sit down and figure out a solution to this problem.

image-hue-packPhillips hue lighting

The solution presented was installing Phillips Hue lights in our meeting rooms, which would indicate if the meeting room was taken or not. If the light is red, that means the meeting room is busy. If it is yellow, that indicates that a meeting is schedule to start within 15 minutes. And if the light is green, the room is available. The team programmed the hue light so it will sync to our Google calendar, which we use to book our meeting rooms. Simple and brilliant!

photo (1) (1)Our very own Batcave (meeting room) with a red light indicating it's unavailability

Just when we thought the Awareness Team had outdone themselves, they implemented another idea using the hue lights: they connected the lights to Atlassian's Bamboo, which notifies the developers when their current project builds fail or are successful. If the build is fine, then the light stays green. If the build fails, then it turns red. This will be very helpful when making sure that a current development project runs smoothly and keeps everyone on their toes.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 12.41.31A green light indicating that the current project build is successful

Epic Status Board

The Team: Árni Freyr, Björn Orri, Jón Þór and Viðar

The idea for this team initially was to focus on performance improvement for our Tempo Planner add-on, and they ended up creating a whole new feature called the Epic Status Board.

The Epic Status Boards offers a different view of program planning, and displays program data at a high-level view. All epics can be viewed with this new feature, and their statuses can be updated at any point in time.

By clicking on an epic, users get a list that breaks down all JIRA issues within the epic. The Epic Status Board also allows for an easy view of the number of estimated hours for a specific epic, and the number of hours that have already been devoted to it. This new feature offers a simple way to view what each group member is working on.

photo 4Viðar our Product Manager demoing the Epic Status Board

The biggest incentive for this program was to squeeze an even better performance out of Tempo Planner. This feature was a great success, and will most likely be added to the Planner in an upcoming release — stay tuned!

Hubot Robot for Hipchat

The Team: Axel, Haukur, Kristján, Marinó, Tómas

Last but not least, was the Hubot Robot for Atlassian’s Hipchat. Hipchat is an application service provider for internal and private chat and instant messaging, which we use throughout our team. Our developers wanted to add functionality to our Hipchat rooms, and decided to implement the Hubot Robot to our very own Hipchat instance.

68747470733a2f2f6769746875622d696d616765732e73332e616d617a6f6e6177732e636f6d2f626c6f672f323031312f6875626f742e706e67Hubot Robot

A bot is a user in a group that’s controlled by a computer program (instead of a human), which responds to specially formatted commands. Hubot can answer questions, notify our users of important events, and can also be a source of fun.

Our developers really had some fun with this idea. We added Hubot as a user in each of our HipChat rooms, and he is available for chat individually. Hubot can be asked about a JIRA issue number or ID, and can even find which team member is assigned to work on that particular issue. Hubot can also answer more ordinary questions, such as what the weather is going to be like today, what’s for lunch down at our cafeteria, and which meeting rooms are available.

Here’s an example of a query that Hubot solved within just a few seconds:

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 13.01.39A sample query solved by Hubot

Hubot is entirely written in Javascript and Node.js, and ships with a few core scripts such as Google Maps and Google Translate. A number of other useful scripts are already available for Hubot.

At Tempo, we really strive to offer our team members the opportunity to grow in their positions, develop their great ideas, and have some fun while doing it. If you're a world class thinker and are interested in joining our team, feel free to contact us!