Odds & Ends

What’s Your Favorite Engineering Tool? Featuring Mesh Studio’s Taylor Halliday

What’s your favorite engineering tool? is a Q&A series where we explore how some of the most successful leaders at startups and large companies use their resources to accelerate their product development. This week, we’re featuring Mesh Studio’s Founder Taylor Halliday.

Mesh was founded in June of 2016 by Taylor Halliday and Kevin Coleman after they were accepted into the YCombinator fellowship program. Taylor previously ran mobile development at Chariot, a private transit startup based in San Francisco.

What is your favorite engineering tool?

Standup. Full disclosure – we built this tool, but we created it so that we could have automated engineering status reports.

Standup demo (via Standup)

What is one of the top challenges that this tool has helped you and your team address?

The morning standup meeting is important for keeping your team in sync, and we think that Standup makes it easier to achieve that. From a management perspective, it’s difficult to lead projects when you have partial information on the work already performed. Standup gives us a concise and clear view of issues worked on, and code contributions from the previous day.

How has this tool helped accelerate your development efforts?

Standup saves us 10-20 minutes every morning, as all of the information about the past day is available to us. While that may not seem like a lot, that time adds up over the course of a week, month, etc. We believe it helps our team keep focus, and deliver informed reports when communicating with team members.

It’s just funny how difficult it can be to remember all the separate things you worked on from the previous day. We use it as a visual queue for all of our daily standups and let it drive the discussion.

Have you used the tool in an unconventional or creative way to address you and your team’s needs?

`Unconventional` is an interesting point, since we’re building Standup to address needs we do not see being solved with other products in the market. We’re about to release Jira, Slack, Bitbucket, and Gitlab integrations in two weeks, so we think that merging all of those data sources with Github data will be an unconventional, or uncommon way of summarizing the team’s progress.

Snapshots of Standup workstreams and features (via Standup)

Is there a specific functionality or feature you’d like to see added to this product? What would the next iteration of this tool look like?

Since we’re the creators, this translates into ‘feature roadmap’. Outside of the integrations listed above, we’re targeting to release gamification features such as leaderboards, more robust reporting, and analytics tools. While looking back at the previous day is great, we see this tool helping drive your engineering team forward through a variety of means.


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