a bot for running agile style standups in IRC
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tender, a bot for running agile style standups in IRC

tender is an IRC bot that helps you run standups for distributed teams using IRC.

[11:00] <      tender> Time for standup! It's in #standup

[11:00] <      tender> Time for standup! Tell me 'start' when everyone's
[11:00]            --> bob has joined #standup
[11:00]            --> alice has joined #standup
[11:00] <    markpasc> tender: start
[11:00] <      tender> alice: your turn
[11:00] <       alice> i did some stuff and it was pretty awesome
[11:00] <       alice> tender: next
[11:00] <      tender> bob: your turn
[11:01] <         bob> i also got some things done
[11:01] <         bob> today i'm hell of rocking something else
[11:01] <         bob> i forgot i had to talk to alice about getting the
                       splines reticulated though
[11:02] <       alice> tender: park reticulating the splines
[11:02] <      tender> alice: Parked.
[11:02] <         bob> tender: next
[11:02] <      tender> markpasc: your turn
[11:02] <    markpasc> i also did some awesome stuff but today's stuff is
                       even more awesomer
[11:02] <    markpasc> tender: next
[11:02] <      tender> All done! Standup was 2 minutes.

back in #team:
[11:02] <      tender> Parked topics:
[11:02] <      tender>  * reticulating the splines

Getting started

You'll need these things to run tender:

  • Perl 5.10
  • Bot::BasicBot::Pluggable
  • Try::Tiny
  • POE::Component::Schedule
  • DateTime::Event::Cron

Once you have these, copy the standup-example.yaml to standup.yaml and customize it for your team. Specify any of Bot::BasicBot's attributes to set them for your bot. One attribute of particular note is:

  • ignore_list: the names of people to ignore. Include the other bots you use in your standup channel here and they won't be called on.

The standups are configured in the standups setting. It's a list in case you want to run multiple standups on your server, but you probably only have one at first. For each standup you can specify:

  • id: a code name for that team.
  • team_channel: the channel the team normally chats in. The bot announces standups to this channel, and afterward pastes the parking lot there.
  • standup_channel: the channel to run the standup in. Anyone in this channel (except for other bots named in the ignore_list) are considered "the team" and will be called on during the standup. If you have no lurking chickens, this can be the same as the team_channel.
  • schedule: a cron style specification for when your standups are. See man 5 crontab for how to write one of these. If not specified, standups only happen when started manually with the standup command.
  • schedule_tz: the time zone schedule is specified in. This is also the main time zone used by the when command, so it should be the primary time zone for your team. If not specified, times are in UTC.
  • additional_tz: another time zone your team uses. The when command also says what time the next standup is in this time zone. If not specified, when only lists one time zone.

Once you've configured it, run:

$ perl Standup.pm

to start the bot.

Using tender

Standups are better when held at a regular time, so when you can, configure tender with a schedule. Tender will tell you when it's time to have the meeting (though a little warning is always nice, so you should still keep a meeting alarm in your calendar). Use the when command to ask tender when it will call the next scheduled standup. When you need to hold a standup at an odd time, or if you can't really schedule your team's standup, you can ask for a standup manually with the standup command.

After using standup or if a standup was scheduled, you can start the standup with start or cancel it with cancel.

Once the standup starts, the last person to arrive in the standup channel will be called on first. Once you've given your update, use the next command to pass to someone else. Once everyone has gone, tender will say so and end the meeting. If you wonder who hasn't yet taken their turns, you can ask with the left command. (Don't worry if someone arrives late: as long as they join the standup channel before the last person has gone, they'll get called on to take their turn.)

During the meeting, if a topic comes up that needs discussion, park it for later with the park <topic> command. Tender will repeat these topics in the team channel when the meeting is over.

Everyone should try to stay present during the meeting to help keep it short. However if someone had to go AFK and it becomes their turn, you can also use the next command during someone else's turn to come back to them later. Tender will pick someone else to go next instead. However, if everyone else has gone, they might be the only team member left to pick, and will get picked again immediately. If someone is in the standup channel accidentally when they aren't actually present, use the skip <name> command and they'll be skipped for the whole meeting. (Avoid being that person by not lurking in the standup channel between meetings.)

  • standup: manually ask for a standup.
  • start: begin a standup that was scheduled or asked for with standup.
  • cancel: cancel a standup that was scheduled or asked for, before it's started with start.
  • next: finish your turn, passing it to someone else.
  • skip <name>: skip over someone for the rest of the meeting.
  • park <topic>: park a topic for later.
  • left: ask who hasn't yet taken their turns in the open meeting.
  • when: ask when the next scheduled standup will be.
  • help: ask tender about these commands.