Category Archives: Uncategorized

Making More Time for Meaningful Work with GitHub Actions

Back in November 2018, GitHub announced GitHub Actions. Actions are a way to run scripts in your GitHub repos in reaction to events that happen in your repos – creating an issue, commenting on a pull request, deploying a branch, etc.

While I imagine many people in the GitHub community will be creating actions to run tests, automate deploys, etc, I decided to create some GitHub Actions to save time managing work and collaborating with others.

Most humans spend about 10-15% of their time staying organized – planning, making to-do lists, scheduling things, filing things, etc. Working on a project in GitHub is no different. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have some of that time back to do more meaningful work. So I decided to create a few GitHub Actions to automate mundane and repetitive project management tasks – to eliminate toil.

✅ Issue Checklist Checker Action

A GitHub Action that makes sure checklists are complete an issue is closed. Source code.

🏷 Issue Bulk Labeler Action

A GitHub Action that adds labels to an issue based on a string in the issue description. Source code.

👩‍👧‍👦 Mirror Parent Issue Label(s) to Child Issue(s)

A GitHub action that mirrors a parent issue’s labels to a child issue. Source code.

💬 Comment on Issue from Commit

A GitHub Action to comment on an issue from commits. Source code.

🚊 Label Repo(s) on PR in Monorepo

A GitHub Action that labels PRs with the repo(s) impacted in a monorepo. Source code.

I’ve been using these actions along with Waffle.io and have been savings lots of time! They’ve been super useful to me and I hope you find them super useful as well.

Issues and pull requests are welcome to keep improving these Actions!

Also check out my previous blog post, My First Week With GitHub Actions.

Let’s Waffle! Bot

As a Developer Advocate at Waffle.io, my mission is to make sure everyone who could benefit from Waffle.io knows about Waffle.io and has a chance to try Waffle.io for themselves. One of the most loved features of Waffle.io is WaffleBot – which lets developers provide updates their team members and product status directly from GitHub issues, branches, and pull requests. WaffleBot takes care of updating status, assigning team members to issues, and showing the real-time status of branches, pull requests, automated tests, and deployments.

However, it’s hard for some users to find out about WaffleBot and give it a try. Since WaffleBot integrates into your development workflow, it can be hard to learn about using the specific keywords and patterns that activate WaffleBot. Many of our experiments provided some improvement, such as a Waffle Automation Cheatsheet, a Waffle Automation landing page to highlight the automation features and explain how they work, and a Getting Started with Waffle Automation onboarding document sent to all new users.

But then the best idea came along. One day, I received feedback from a user suggesting that WaffleBot should teach users about WaffleBot. What a great idea! WaffleBot could teach you about itself by walking you through performing the different actions that automate project status updates. And that’s how Let’s Waffle! Bot was born.

Let’s Waffle! Bot teaches users about Waffle.io and WaffleBot through a series of tasks that illustrate how to get the most value out of Waffle.io and WaffleBot! Brilliant! Check out the demo and source code below!

Source code available at https://github.com/adamzolyak/letswafflebot

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Making More Time for Focus and Doing Meaningful Work

Early in 2018, I started a new adventure at Waffle.io as a Developer Advocate. Waffle.io makes project management awesome for developers and developer teams by automating work tracking and providing a single view of both the work and the code – which is awesome if you’re on a development team!

As a Developer Advocate, my mission is basically to make sure everyone who could benefit from Waffle.io knows about Waffle.io and has a chance to try Waffle.io for themselves. In the startup world, this is otherwise known as acquisition and activation. But to me, it’s really about trying to help people have more time to focus and do meaningful work. If I can help someone to have a bit more time to build some awesome thing or solve a big hairy problem – that’s what’s in it for me!

One of the things I love about being a Developer Advocate for Waffle.io is that I can approach my mission in any way that achieves the outcomes. I can write a blog post, I can give a talk, I can make a video, I can write code, I can run a hackathon, I can pair with a user. It’s all about the outcome.

One of the things I did a lot of in 2018 was speaking. Speaking is a great way to share new ideas with people, giving them knowledge and options to take back to their jobs and life to make an impact.

So much speaking in 2018!

One of my main themes for 2018 was speaking about making more time for focus and doing meaningful work. If you’re a maker – a developer, writer, woodworker, etc – you probably need a lot of focused time for uninterrupted work. Especially for developers, there’s a high cost associated with interruptions and context switching. And interruptions are in no short supply, with many people only having 25-50% of their time for making at their jobs. What’s worse, about 50% of these interruptions come from ourselves.

It’s been very fulfilling to share what I’ve learned about the state-of-focus, why interruptions happen, how to prevent interruptions, and how to get good at being interrupted – knowledge and options that can be equally beneficial to makers and people who work with makers. But out of all the speaking this year, I think All Things Open 2018 was my favorite.

In addition to helping staff the Waffle.io booth at All Things Open 2018, I was scheduled to give a talk Making Time for Focus and Getting Shit Done for Makers! However, the day before my talk, I lost of voice. Joking about what to do as a whispered to my co-worker, I joked “I could write a bot to give my talk for me.” But then that night I thought about it and decided why not! And that’s why you can listen to my talk spoken by a robot voice while you follow along with the slides! Enjoy!

What’s even better, my talk is now version controlled in GitHub and accepts Pull Requests.

You can find links to my talks, including slides and videos, at https://github.com/adamzolyak/speaking.

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Where’s The (ele)Vator?

Demo of my hackathon to recommend which elevator to select at work.