Launched in 2006, HubSpot currently has more than 700 employees and is adding around 30 more a month. When you're growing that fast, how do you stay true to your founding principles of collaboration and transparency?
According to HubSpot’s chief information officer, Jim O'Neill, the company sustains its innovative, start-up–like culture with Atlassian's key collaboration products, Confluence and HipChat.
Like Atlassian, HubSpot uses the wiki, Confluence, as its knowledge management system, where ideas are nurtured from start to finish. As a result, engineers and operations staff at HubSpot enjoy inboxes and calendars that are free from clutter, says O’Neill.
Rather than answering anything one-off, O'Neill says the default answer at HubSpot is, "It's on the ‘Wookie’" (as the wiki is lovingly referred to). Within the Wookie you'll find lively, cross-departmental discussions on feature ideas, product roadmaps, pricing strategy, board meeting minutes, and more.”
HubSpot's engineers rely on HipChat and JIRA to develop software at start-up velocity. Anyone in the company can log a feature by starting a thread on the wiki or filing an issue through JIRA.
Certain code pushes, such as critical updates, instantly notify select team rooms through HipChat. As a result, the company can ship code to production about 2,000 times a month, a nearly continuous deployment cycle. It’s even gone so far as to have a friendly bot named Wooster that can produce memes for any occasion and prod engineers to “#shipit” when the chief product officer is hanging in the rooms.
Confluence and HipChat may facilitate HubSpot's strong crowdsourcing environment, but ultimately it's all about the people using the products.
“At HubSpot, collaboration begins from the top down, with executive members being some of the company’s most prolific contributors,” O'Neill notes. For example, the company's CEO might post minutes from a recent board meeting or future product ideas on the wiki, and within 24 hours the post will get dozens of comments or likes.
“We began using Confluence practically as soon as we had cash in the bank," O'Neill jokes. "So it's hard to imagine life without it."
"We love, love, love HipChat," O'Neill says. "We've been using it since before you guys acquired it and were so happy when you did." Part of HipChat's appeal was its support for group rooms and various clients, including mobile, he adds.