Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yammer Me This

It is not often that a web service or a piece of software makes my work life better but I felt compelled to speak out about Yammer. My team at Ringside Networks would always hang in an IRC channel because we were spread out across the US. This worked great and made us feel like a co-located team but it had its drawbacks. You had to be logged in all the time or have a bot collect what was being said when you were not around.

Then came Yammer. I was already a Twitter micro blogging fan. I already use Twitter to stay involved in my friends lives and share mine with them but Yammer allowed my software development team to coordinate like never before. While Twitter asks you to answer the questions, "What are you doing?", Yammer wants you to ask the question, "What are you working on?". As my work day progresses, I would just Yammer on what I was working on and read what the rest of the team was up to. You would get more frequent, meaningful updates than I would ever see on IRC.

The big difference was, there was no pressure to respond right way or even be online all the time to do it. It just feels less stressful. Yammer also does not limit you to 140 characters or less which is handy when describing the details of what you are doing.

Another useful difference between Yammer and Twitter is that Yammer has an implicit group of people in its community. You must have a email address at a mail domain like ringsidenetworks.com to join Yammer. Joining and using the service is free and anyone from your company who has an email address can join. Yammer provides cross platform clients and clients for mobile devices as well so you can stay in touch with your team wherever you go.

You might wonder how they plan to make money. They charge for the ability to administrate your domain. If you want to administrate the community then a company representative must pay Yammer for this feature.

If you are looking for a team building tool for your remote development team you should give this a try. Follow this link to see the TechCrunch50 Video from the yammer team.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting...so if I read this correctly, you're talking about a more detailed level of granularity of information you were sharing. So instead of saying something general on Twitter like "Working on feature x for company y" you would say "working on project x, some.jsp to implement feature y. Expected duration 1 day". That's certainly more informative to your team then what you would share on twitter publicly with the world. The public doesn't care about the specifics. Interesting.

My hang up with Yammer at Alfresco is that well, I'm not on a development team, and therefore the specifics of my current project don't matter to anyone else. Therefore, publicly sharing general information about what i'm working on is sufficient.