During Teamwork Spaces 12 Days of Christmas, we'll be sharing tips, best practices, use cases, and releasing new features to help you get the most out of Teamwork Spaces.

As the Technical Team Lead for Teamwork Spaces, I have used our product to help steady the ship through these tough times by utilizing some key features within the product. In Teamwork Spaces we have dedicated spaces for each of the engineering teams as well as a general Engineering Space to capture high-level information required by all teams.

Here are the top 4 areas that Teamwork Spaces can assist you with when running an Engineering team:

Developer Onboarding

It is crucial to ensure your developers have a smooth transition into their new team and it is imperative to get them up to speed with your technologies and environments as quickly as possible. A negative onboarding process could make your company seem unorganized and unprofessional.

In the Teamwork Spaces team, we have worked together to construct an extensive set of onboarding documents. These include everything a new joiner needs:

  • The tools they need to access

  • Subscriptions

  • Locations of key HR information

  • An overview and 'who's who' of our team 

  • Location of the code

  • How to run the code locally

We use code snippets to show example configuration files; tables to help layout what they need and who to contact; as well as internal links to other key Spaces and Pages for the new joiner to quickly review. 

With the Required Reading feature in Teamwork Spaces, we can also assign some additional reading to each new hire. This enables them to work through both the HR and other relevant documents at their own pace so they have a clear understanding of what is required from them. And with the move to a fully remote work environment the value of this feature became even more evident as individuals no longer have colleagues to turn to, to ask them a quick question as they might have had in the office environment.  

Our feedback from new joiners has been very positive, both from the ease of navigation of Teamwork Spaces to the knowledge within it. In addition, we also encourage new hires to add their questions or queries as inline comments to our documentation when they are reviewing so we ensure the information within is always up-to-date.

Process Documentation

With teams being increasingly remote and co-location being far from the norm, it's important that your team knows how they are expected work. 

This year we transitioned to 2 week Scrum Cycles to help us better manage our planning and workload. This has ensured we can release as many high-quality features as possible, while not burning the team out in the process.

To do this we created an end-to-end process documentation within our Development Space. This explains the principles of Scrum and Agile, to ensure the team knows what we're aiming for, down to our flows within Teamwork and how we manage our tasks and Epics.

Process/Workflow

To visualize these flows and processes, we used our Draw.io plugin. This is an excellent feature built into the Spaces Editor that allows you to create visual flowcharts and diagrams.

Draw.io

We also encouraged feedback from the wider team on our propositions. Everyone has a voice within the team and being able to add reactions e.g. thumbs-up, and inline comments helped people show sentiment, as well as providing more detailed, targeted feedback that we could use to enhance our process.

Having this single source of truth has been very useful for myself and the team as we're now able to refer back to Teamwork Spaces as our Knowledge Base of answers for any questions we might have.

Technical Specs

  • Templates

  • Code Snippets

  • Mentions

  • Inline comments

  • Version history (diffs)

When working on a new feature, or a major improvement to an existing feature, it is good to get everyone on the same page - knowing exactly what is being delivered.

To help us achieve this we used a few page templates that we put together within the team. These were easy to develop within Teamwork Spaces, we simply created the page and selected the "Save to Templates" button, making it available to everyone to re-use - handy!

Templates

Our Product Designer uses a Behavioural Spec template to create the user stories and acceptance criteria. We have an API Endpoint template and a Frontend template that allows us to take those user stories and detail the technical requirements needed to build new features.

We use our code snippet app quite extensively to build our expected JSON request and responses that our RESTful API will expect and return. We call out the new endpoints being added, any endpoints being modified and also use tables to layout our response codes and what they mean.

Code snippet app

Our Front End developers also use their template to call out impacts the feature could have, areas of impact in the code and identify areas they could re-use existing components.

We also find the Version History feature within Teamwork Spaces beneficial here as it allows us to view a timeline of changes to a spec, view who has made changes and with diff highlighting - getting to see exactly what those changes were.

The Mentions functionality is also very useful when we need feedback from someone on a feature. If it involves another team or area of expertise, we can simply @mention that person and they'll receive a notification with a deep link to the spec where they can add their feedback.

Meeting Minutes

Teamwork Spaces is key for us in both organizing and documenting our meetings. One important meeting we have is our weekly Level 10 (also known as team meetings). Following the EOS model, the goal of an L10 is to identify, discuss and solve any issues that come up as well as reviewing the progress being made on feature work. Using Teamwork Spaces, we are able to collaborate with ease, as we prepare, review and document the meeting minutes - no matter where we are in the world.

Again, this is another instance where Templates were very useful, as we created a page template to outline the structure and format of our L10 meeting, which is now continually used. This saves valuable time as it automatically removes a lot of the meeting preparation each week.

Real-time collaboration is how we drive our meetings. Attendees will navigate onto the page editor and complete their individual sections (automatically generated by the template) all at the same time. Each person in the document can see one another's changes update instantly. Each L10 meeting has a lead and a scribe, who walk through the meeting format and take notes, document outcomes and create tasks to execute on by using the Teamwork project task list widget integrated into Teamwork Spaces. The scribe will then assign the person responsible for the task right from within the document in Teamwork Spaces.

Document editors have the ability to add inline comments to any piece of content in the draft. This can be really useful for making suggestions to get tasks completed or if outcomes need to be adjusted. All of this work is carried out in the document, during the call, without interrupting the flow of the meeting. This functionality has been key to successful collaborative meetings, and it has reduced unnecessary interruptions and questions during meetings, especially since we moved to a remote work environment.  

Conclusion

Teamwork Spaces works flawlessly as a solution to keep all your developers informed about your processes, as well as being a useful design tool for new features or procedures.

With our tools like Code Snippets, Draw.io diagramming, mentions and inline comments, developers can create highly detailed informative living documentation and quickly share it to get feedback. They no longer need to go to another app, create something, then open emails and ensure they've attached the correct information -  it simply all works right within Teamwork Spaces and Teamwork.

We hope you are enjoying our 12 Days of Teamwork Spaces Christmas. We'd love to hear how you are using Teamwork Spaces to create a knowledge base for your developers and let us know if the above has given you insight into how to help improve your developers' experience. Please leave your feedback in the comments area below or contact us at spaces@teamwork.com.