The OmbuLabs Workflow: working with GitHub and Pivotal Tracker

As a remote team, we work and communicate asynchronously a lot of the time. Additionally, as a software agency, we work not only on client projects but also internal projects related to various aspects of the company. This means we will have stories and pull requests opened accross different internal projects at all times and it is important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what needs their attention and what the next steps are.

We have shared more information on how we use Pivotal Tracker here. We also like to use GitHub to its full potential. Therefore, we needed a standardized workflow that would take into account how we use both these tools and ensure everybody on the team knows what is going on by looking at a Pivotal Tracker board or a list of open Pull Requests.

In this article, I will walk you through the workflow we created for our team. You can find a flowchart representation of the workflow here.

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How to Make Pair Programming Successful

Since starting at OmbuLabs as the Junior Developer I have had the incredible opportunity to pair with my teammates. A lot. Over the months we have begun to develop better practices and routines to make the most of our pairing sessions, and now I would like to share some of our practices and tips for making a pairing session successful. At OmbuLabs we are a fully remote company so all of our pairing sessions are done through Tuple or Zoom, but this advice could translate easily to in person sessions as well.

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Better Software Design with Coupling and Cohesion

One of the most fundamental tasks when writing or refactoring software of any kind is breaking the problem down into smaller parts. When you're first starting out - and even as you continue to gain experience - figuring out what those parts should be, and where they should live within a codebase can be a daunting task. Design patterns and principles can help, but trying to keep them in mind as you design and implement solutions can be overwhelming.

Thankfully, there's a pair of principles that can cut many of these gordian knots, and render decision making much clearer, simpler, and easier to articulate to others. Understanding and using the concepts of coupling and cohesion to guide my design and refactoring decisions yielded immediate results for me.

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Exploring Method Arguments in Ruby: Part 3

In the first and second parts of this series we talked about positional and keyword arguments, but we still have some extra options so that our methods can do anything we want.

In this final part we are going to explore blocks, array decomposition, partially applied methods and a few syntax tricks. We'll also study a few known methods to understand how everything is used in real world applications.

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Team Retreat: How They Can Help Remote Teams "Click"

Remote work is a growing reality. In the 21st century, we have distributed companies that work 100% remotely, with team members scattered around the world.

While remote work has its benefits - diversity in background and experiences, access to an immense talent pool, cut down office costs to name a few - it also brings its challenges. And the biggest one is communication.

There are several pieces of software that aim to facilitate communication in a remote work environment. At OmbuLabs, we use Slack for our day-to-day conversations and Zoom for our calls. However, as a remote team, we don't get to meet our teammates face to face. We don't have "water cooler" chats or as many opportunities for casual chats as an office environment.

So how can we bring our team closer together? How can we build that team spirit that comes from seeing everyone and talking about our casual, social lives? Well, last month we had a team retreat. And it was great.

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Exploring Method Arguments in Ruby: Part 1

Ruby is an object oriented language where everything is an object (even methods are objects of the class Method!), so everything we need to do is done by calling methods on objects. That also means that methods have to provide a lot of flexibility because they are used everywhere.

Ruby provides a lot of options to pass arguments to our methods, so we'll make this topic a series so it's not too long. We'll split the options into different categories and then break down everything with some examples and/or use cases.

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Our Core Values

At Ombu Labs we have many values that have been key to our success. This is an article about five core values that differentiate our company from the rest.

Every team member is expected to follow these values, especially when things get tough. This is a living document: It's open source and open to enhancements by design. We have been tweaking these values ever since I started the company.

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Some Resources and Advice For Junior Developers

Tough Love

One of the first things that a journeyperson programmer will have to learn when they transition from full time student to working developer is that things in the real world are never as cut and dry as their classes may have made it seem. At the end of the day, software is not written because we love building castles of logic in the sky, it's written to solve a real problem. That might seem like a trite observation, but it explains almost everything you observe as a working developer.

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Tips For Creating Contributor Friendly Open Source Projects

At Ombu Labs we are firm believers of open source. We use open source but also like to contribute back to the community and we have open sourced a few projects.

We know that contributing to open source can be a difficult task so we have been looking for easier ways help to onboard new and past contributors. Here is a list of tips and tools that we believe that can help you make your open source project a more friendly space.

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