Internal tools to the rescue

Internal Tools to the Rescue

Not long ago we confronted a communication challenge that was felt across our entire company: we were having trouble keeping the sales team up to speed on the progress made by developers.

When we were smaller, it was easy to nudge the person next to you when a new feature was ready. But as we grew, and our system incorporated data from hundreds of transit systems all over the world, this became impractical. We needed a way for the sales team to track development progress, and none of the tools we could find were working. So we decided to build our own tracker and share it with the world as an open source project. The result is a simple WordPress plugin called WP Github Pipeline which was featured both in issue 275 of Net Magazine and on Smashing Magazine’s website.

The plugin makes it very simple to present data from Github on any WordPress site. In our case, we created interfaces where the sales team could check the status of specific transit agency integrations, as well as the progress releases. This allowed the sales team to manage client expectations more effectively, and saved developers time by making the information available without anyone having to ask them.

We are proud of this project for several reasons:

  1. It’s always rewarding to build a thing that works and solves a problem.
  2. We were able to get all the flexibility we needed simply from combining two existing off-the-shelf tools in a new way.
  3. It helped us grow as an organization by bringing together members of the team who would not normally interact. Developers ended up with a better understanding of the sales process, and the sales team got a taste of what goes into creating software.

We hope other teams find the tool useful, or perhaps find inspiration to build their own internal tools.