The PM tools we use at ENS

We launched the ENS permanent registrar on May 4. It happened exactly two years to the day after the original ENS registrar launch.

Launching on the two year anniversary was our goal. I feel happy we hit the deadline!

I thought this might be a good time to share the PM tools we use at ENS. I wrote a bit about how I’m trying to practice shadow PM as ENS' project manager. The tools we use are consistent with that approach.

Here’s the list -

1 - for real-time chat

I’ve accepted that real-time chat is a necessary evil. We try 😬and limit Keybase use to short-form, transactional messaging. At least that’s the intention 😊

Keybase supports multi-threaded team chats. If we're going to use real time chat, I’d rather see individual chat channels for specific purposes, rather than a single catch-all channel. It also feels like Keybase strikes a healthy balance among security, reliability and usability.

2 - Discourse for longer-form conversations

We have a public Discourse forum here. We use a private group on that forum for our internal conversations. These are usually the conversations that we’re still thinking through. They aren’t formed-up enough to share publicly in a useful way.

These are longer form conversations, where historical context is important. Using Discourse instead of Keybase for these conversations results in more efficient communication.

I like Discourse a lot. It’s open-source and provides an effective and pleasant UI/UX. Using Discourse encourages thoughtful dialogue.

From a shadow PM perspective, I often find myself encouraging team members to move chats from Keybase into Discourse. Many times I'll move the conversations myself. I'll then let the team know to pick up the conversation in Discourse and point them to the specific Discourse topic.

3 - Github project boards and for Kanban boards

We track current sprint work in a Github project board. I felt happy to see Github project boards now support multiple repos, through the use of organization-wide boards. I used to and still may use Zenhub too.

I use to keep track of other project work, that falls outside the scope of development. Taiga, while open to the team, is for the most part used by me to track projects.

While this may seem inefficient, using more than one tool like this is an aspect I’ve come to accept. It's another approach that falls with the scope shadow PM.

When used together, these tools combine to form an essential, effective, yet unobtrusive structure to manage work and related communication. They do this effectively, while implementing the lightest possible administrative burden on the team.

P.S. - This post was first published in my free Blockchain PM newsletter.

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