Tales from Fleep

Fleep: Q2 review and plans for Q3

The first half of 2016 is over – which means it’s time for our quarterly review blog post. Let’s take a look at what got done in Q2, and what we have planned for Q3.

Fleep q2

We had a furry friend visit us at our Q3 planning meeting :)

First, a review of what got done in Q2:

  • Fleep TeamsFleep Teams - Fleep Teams was our biggest project for Q2. This feature makes Fleep even easier to use for team conversations, allowing you to create and belong to several teams. Read all about it in this blog post.
  • Conversations bulk actions - this is a powerful feature that lets you quickly apply conversation actions to multiple conversations at a time: delete, archive, mark read, add and remove members.
  • Invite people – we added a button that you can use to invite your friend or colleagues to try out Fleep. Find it on the left pane – or if you’ve disabled it, you can always find it in the Account menu popup.
  • Sign in with Microsoft - we’ve supported sign in with Google for a long while already, and now you can also sign in to Fleep with your Microsoft account.
  • Several improvements to UX – new conversation flow rehaul, ability to create tasks and pins from taskboard/pinboard respectively.

So, what’s next? Here’s what we have planned for Q3:

  • fleep email integrationEmail list behavior - we’re putting the finishing touches on this one. It’s the option to have Fleep conversations acting as email lists for email participants, using the conversation email address as the sender. This will significantly improve the experience of big group conversations that include email participants.
  • Custom conversation email address – this feature will let you edit the conversation email address (that currently looks something like conv.3ak374r9djzioqoj@fleep.io), making it easier to remember and share. Also, it’ll go really well with the email list behavior described above.
  • Server infrastructure reorg - we’re continuing work on scaling our server infrastructure to better serve increasing server load.
  • Managed teams and managed conversations – while all of Fleep is pretty democratic, some companies need admin controls over teams and conversations. So, we are developing what we call managed teams and managed conversations that will allow for administrative control.

Hopefully you like the direction we’re going in! Should you have any feedback or questions for us – don’t hesitate to reach out to us at support@fleep.io. Let’s also stay in touch via social media: TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagram.

Fleep: How to work in a remote team?

How to work in a remote team

Fleep is a distributed team. Our people work remotely from two different cities, and for most of our team members, working at home is common. So, we have our own tips to share when it comes to the oh-so-current question: how to work in a remote team?

Handling the team in itself is not really an issue for Fleep, however… trying to pull all the people together virtually can be a challenge in itself.

How to work in a remote team: Communication

It can’t be emphasized enough how important good daily communication is for remote teams. Especially for the ones that are building a communication tool themselves.

Our day-to-day business, conversations, development, bug chats and discussions all take place in Fleep. We pride ourselves for dogfooding our own product. This helps us understand best if we are building a useful product that would work for start-ups and teams similar to us and helps us pull our remote team together.

Jeff Atwood from Stack Overflow writes: “You need a way to casually ping your fellow remote team members and get a response back quickly. This should be low friction and available to all remote developers at all times. IM, IRC, some web based tool, laser beams, smoke signals, carrier pigeon, two tin cans and a string: whatever. As long as everyone really uses it.”

And that’s the case with us as well. It’s not unusual that conversations in Fleep carry on during non-working hours in the evening or even on weekends. It’s up to the team members to decide whether they’ll respond right away or when the new workday starts, different people have different approaches, but the conversations stay there, always in sight, whenever you sign in.

With Fleep it’s easy to see who has read the messages and who’s currently active in the chat as well (with our Presence features). This adds speed and relevance to the lean development efforts.

Face-to-face conversations for longer topics

Regardless of how great the chat application is, it can never really replace human behaviour and honesty in real eye-to-eye conversations. In our team, whenever we see that a chat conversation is taking a wrong turn or misunderstandings arise, we call each other using Skype. Adding audio to your communication adds a special layer of trust and understanding. From someone’s voice you can easily detect if they’re agreeing with you or are hesitant and confused.

“Regular catch-ups and conference calls should be scheduled so that work can be fairly distributed and everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing.” states The Guardian in the article How to manage remote working teams

It’s the same for us, we have a regular weekly meeting either in-person or via a Skype call with the team during which we discuss topics that need further discussion or clarifications. We also use these opportunities to share what we did during the previous week and what we will be up to in the upcoming one.

Bringing the team together

Staying in touch with the team using chats and calls is not all it takes for remote teams to feel like they’re connected. Every 2nd week we bring the whole team together to Tartu or Tallinn and make sure that people get enough time for those important one-to-one conversations. Oftentimes that is all that it takes to get on the same page and get some of those invaluable insights shared between team members.

“Developers and designers often need long, uninterrupted periods of time to get meaningful work done,” explains Chad Halvorson, CEO of thisCLICKS in the article Are Remote Teams the Future of Work? written by David Hassell.

Apart from design talks and development discussions (read: heated conversations) it’s also crucial to make sure that the junior engineers working in the team get the chance to learn, progress and tackle the more complicated tasks together with the senior engineers who are not always co-located. This works a lot easier if the person who is helping you is sitting right next to you.

How to work in a remote team

Always in touch, but not stuck together

It’s easy to fall out of touch with remote team members if you’re not sitting across the table with them and it’s vital from the start-up culture point of view to make sure people get the feeling of being united, whenever they come to the office or even when they don’t. That’s why we have a continuous Skype call going on day in and day out between the Tallinn and Tartu office TVs. That way we can see if someone is in the office, if they’re currently busy or simply joke about the fact that they’re playing ping pong on the other end of the line.

Ultimately, the decision about how distributed a team can be comes down to the needs of that team: do you need to talk every day? What type of people are in your team? What are the personal habits of the team members? Once you know all this, you can easily decide which of the solutions works best, or which 2-3 tools you need to make the most out of communication.

We hope you found these tips useful! What kind of tools are you using to make sure the team feels united even when there’s a long distance between them? Feel free to ping us via Twitter or Facebook to share your thoughts!

Fleep: a look back at Q1 and plans for Q2

The first quarter of the year is over, which means it’s time for our quarterly review! Let’s take a look at what Fleep delivered in Q1 of 2016 – and what we will be working on in Q2.

fleep

A picture from our quarterly readouts & Spring offsite. We’re not really that aimless, honestly.

First, a review of the biggest improvements and launches in Q1:

  • Fleep emailEmail linking - the feature that enables you to connect your email account with Fleep. This means you can send and receive emails in Fleep with your existing email address!
  • ­Labels 2.0 – this update to Fleep conversations labels lets you manage the labels in an improved way. You can customize what conversations will be shown in the conversation list and which conversations will appear under the Recent and Muted labels.
  • Forward message action – this feature means you can now forward messages with just a few clicks. Simple as that!
  • New integrations – we added outgoing webhooks, IFTTT integration, Slack integration and the Giphy integration.
  • Some UI redesigns – in case you haven’t noticed, the Taskboard, All Conversations view, and Create new conversation flow got a new, fresh look!
  • API v3 – this means a new syncing logic that significantly improves speed upon sign in across platforms.

So, what do we have planned for Q2? We’ll start with finishing unfinished business and then move on to new things. Here’s an overview of what we will be focusing on in Q2:

  • Conversations bulk actions – this is something the Fleep users who have gradually replaced their email clients with Fleep have fleeprequested, but all users will appreciate. A quick, handy way to organize your conversations: delete, archive or mark several conversations read with one action.
  • Teams - We are closer than ever to this long-awaited functionality. The teams feature will enable you to create teams – and then add or remove the whole team from conversations with a one click action. Perhaps even more importantly, if someone is added to an existing team, they will also be added to all team conversations. And vice versa – if someone is removed from the team, they will also be removed from all of those team conversations!
  • Email list behavior – we are working on the option to have Fleep conversations act as email lists, using the conversaiton email address as the sender. This will significantly improve the experience of big group conversations that include email participants.
  • Server infrastructure reorg - Behind the scenes, we’re also working on scaling our server infrastructure to better serve increasing server load.

We hope you like the direction we’re going in! If you have any questions or feedback for us – do not hesitate to reach out to us at support@fleep.io.

Fleep in 2015: What we shipped last year

Fleep 2015Another year is coming to an end – and as we fare well to 2015, it’s time to review what we built this year.

At Fleep, we ship a lot – with two releases every week, we’re always updating and improving your experience of Fleep. Needless to say, we shipped A LOT in 2015.

Here, we’d like to give you an overview of Fleep in 2015, and highlight the bigger deliveries. Just follow the links if you’d like to read more about any specific feature or launch!

More or less chronologically, here’s an overview of Fleep year 2015 product releases:

  • Fleep username – this was a big one. Your Fleep username (previously, Fleep ID) is your identity in Fleep and it is compatible with email. It’s what others can use to find you in Fleep – and the email-compatibility means you can receive emails sent to your Fleep username. Many people are happily using their Fleep username as their primary email address!
What’s next?

In early 2016, you will be able to connect your Gmail or Google Apps email to Fleep. This will allow you to send and receive email messages in Fleep while maintaining your existing email address. Yeah, that’s the same feature that Business Insider is excited about.

fleep_illustration_01But that’s not all. Linking Gmail and Google Apps to Fleep is the first step – links to other email services will be added gradually.

Other things in our pipeline include the forward message action, Google Drive integration, support for multiple accounts and more… Stay tuned.

 

What about our team? 

In 2015 the Fleep Team grew a bit and we’re officially going as strong as ever.

Fleep Team

We welcomed a few colorful characters to the team, who don’t just get stuff done, but also enjoy themselves along the ride.

This year, we had quite a lot of fun with our team, too – at our quarterly retreats, at WebSummitSlushRefresh as well as… in the office and outside the office :).

What about the users?

We wouldn’t be doing any of this without our users.

We love our users. It’s incredible how many of you are dedicated to giving us feedback, how many of you love sporting Fleep shirts and hoodies, and how your reviews have made Fleep the messeaging app with the highest average rating on Google Play.

fleep_illustration_10We also love how our user base keeps growing. In 2015, we continued sharing Fleep User Stories and also did a few of those in video format (Bigbank and Team Naw). Get in touch with Fleep Support if you’d like to share your Fleep User Story on our blog!

From all of the 16 Fleep team members, we’d like to say THANKS for a great year everyone!
We look forward to a fleepin’ awesome 2016 with you.

Fleep: Integrations improvements

fleep_illustration_10Fleep is a great team communication tool and alternative to email, but it’s even more powerful when it speaks to the other tools you use in your everyday work. This is why we have made sure there are many Fleep integrations with the tools and services our users work with on a daily basis.

Recently, we added quite a few new Fleep integrations and also improved existing ones to make your experience even better. So, without further ado, we are excited to announce…

Fleep integrationsDropbox!

The fresh-out-of-the-oven Dropbox integration lets you choose files from your Dropbox and post them into Fleep conversations. It does not require any setup and is super easy to use. Curious to see how it works?

Take a look at the Dropbox integration info page for an overview.

Sameroom

The integration with Sameroom is pretty magical. If you’d like to use Fleep as your universal communication tool, you can use Sameroom to set that up. Within minutes, you can use Sameroom to bridge your Fleep conversation to a conversation on Skype, to HipChat and others.

Read more in this blog post or take a look at the setup process on the Sameroom integration info page.

Bitbucket Server

We built the integration with Bitbucket (in the cloud) a while back, and now we also have a customized webhook for Bitbucket Server. This is so you can receive updates about the changes in your Bitbucket repository into a Fleep conversation.

You can have a look at the Bitbucket Server integration info page for an overview of how it works and how to set it up.

Zapier

fleep zapier integration

We love the Fleep and Zapier integration because it connects Fleep to literally hundreds of other tools out there. You can set up Zapier to send messages from other services to Fleep conversations – and it’s really easy to set up.

Read more about why we love the Fleep and Zapier integration in this blog post or take a look at our Zapier info page for more info on the setup.

JIRA updates

The Fleep-JIRA integration is a popular one among our users – and recently it got even better. It now supports a bunch of new events: configuration related events, sprint events, board events, worklog events and workflow transition events.

Check out the Fleep-JIRA integration info page for more info.

fleep_illustration_03

What’s next?

We have a few more integrations brewing for you, the most exciting of which is probably the upcoming Google Drive integration that will work in a similar way as the Dropbox one currently does. Let us know if you have any requests or feedback for us! As always, you can reach out to us at support@fleep.io. Happy Fleeping!