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How to use Slack as your Command Center for software projects

Being a stakeholder in a large software development project increasingly means keeping track of what’s going on across multiple different systems. Development planning becomes less and less managed in word documents and spreadsheets, and more and more tracked in specialized software. Confluence, Jira, DevOps, Github, CI/CD services, and more are typical systems to keep track of if you want to know what’s going on at all times. In this article, we’ll demonstrate how you can configure each of these services to share updates with a Slack channel, allowing you to centralize your overview of ongoing activities. Our focus will be on the Atlassian SaaS suite, particularly Confluence, Jira, and Bitbucket. We’ll also explore the integration of the Laravel Forge server management system with Slack. Moreover, you can likely apply the techniques discussed here to other comparable systems, like Microsoft Teams.

Confluence – the truth is in the cloud

Confluence is your place of truth in the cloud for all information about a project. You can use this platform to store important files, share links, and arrange content into interconnected pages resembling a wiki. Confluence is the place where your top-level stakeholders work, your product owners, and business analysts.

1. In your Confluence space, you can navigate to Space Settings -> Integrations -> Slack notifications and use Add Subscription

2. Adding, editing, or commenting on a page in Confluence shows up in your slack channel. Here, you can interact with the confluence message directly from Slack.

Jira – Planning and executing the development

Jira is where you plan the development of a project with your development team. You can divide the projects, Epics, stories, and tasks, and plan your work in sprints and versions. As the development team works on the tasks, they transition them between different statuses: “TODO”, “IN PROGRESS”, “QA”, and “DONE”. You can push these status changes, along with comments on the stories, to a Slack channel and actively engage with them there.

Screenshot from Jira settings
  1. Find your project in Jira and navigate to Project Settings, Select Apps, and select Slack Integration. Here, you can connect your Jira project to a channel on your Slack.
  2. Your changes in Jira will show up in Slack-like messages in the channel.
  3. Now you can interact with the stories by adding comments, assigning the story to someone, or transitioning the story to a different status.
Screenshot of Jira messages in Slack

Git – Bitbucket

There are several popular git repository services on the market – the most famous one is (Microsoft-owned) GitHub. Due to the seamless integration with Jira, our choice for version control is Bitbucket by Atlassian.

Posting pull requests and branch merges to a Slack channel ensures precise awareness of when the new code is ready for review.

Navigate to your repository on Bitbucket and find the Repository settings and Settings under SLACK. Here you can Add subscription and have bitbucket push messages to Slack.

Screenshot from Bitbucket settings

Pull requests and merging show up in Slack and you’re even able to interact with them here.

Screenshot from Bitbucket messages in Slack

CI and CD – Bitbucket and Laravel Forge

Automated testing for your code becomes invaluable as your project attains a certain code volume. By generating unit tests that execute automatically whenever new code is merged into both your develop and master branches, you can streamline your development process. If these tests fail, you can notify the team in Slack.

In a similar vein, when utilizing a continuous deployment system like the one integrated into the Laravel Forge server management platform, you can receive notifications upon the deployment of new code to the server.

Screenshot of the notification settings of Laravel forge

Navigate to your server and site on Laravel Forge, and select the Notifications item on the menu. Here, you can configure and connect the Laravel Forge to a Slack channel. And if a deployment fails or is successful, it will push a message to the channel.

Dashboard demo project

At a glance, you will see that some stories were worked on in Jira – initial code was committed to Bitbucket and new code was deployed to the server. No need to ask anyone or log into multiple services to see what is going on.

UptimeRobot – is the website up?

Lastly, it’s important to consider receiving notifications in the event that the website or app the team is working on experiences downtime. For this, you can use a service called UptimeRobot. This service will ping your URL on regular intervals and notify you via email and Slack if the website is down.

UptimeRobot integration

Someone may ask you “did you see the changes in Confluence?” Or better yet, have you ever asked your development team “is the new code deployed yet?” Integrating all the activity in your project into a slack channel allows you to easily stay on top of things.

Need more help? Contact us today and get that development team right in order!