Communicate & Collaborate

How we communicate at FastPortal (& Sprint Report 4!)

Rik Visser Lean Startup, Software Project Management, Sprint

I’ll admit it: the weekly blog thing is not going to work. Sorry! I don’t want the sprint reports to simply be a list of stuff we delivered, that is boring. And I have too many other things to do to write a (hopefully) interesting accompanying blog every week. So the new plan is to every-so-often release a sprint report that might encompass one or more sprints. This week: how we communicate, multiple team members and clients per dossier!

Last blog I wrote about how we design our features, this week I want to talk about Slack, Jira, Pipedrive and Bitbucket. In other words: how do we keep everyone in the loop when things change all the time?

Communication within a five person multinational!

Perhaps you already know, but to a large extent FastPortal is a distributed company. Theodor & Maxim work from the office Iasi (Romania), but are free to work at home. Dylan, Koen and I mostly work from WeWork Metropool in Amsterdam, but Dylan also has an office in A Lab and I work in Eindhoven every Tuesday. Throw in some awesome third parties we work with, like designers, copywriters, domain experts and you have a tangle of people that need to be kept in the loop. It is not that easy to communicate efficiently.

Thank God for the internet! Who knew there were so many tools to make life easier and communication more efficient… Here’s a sneak peak of the stuff we use.

Nerd Stuff: As a software company we deal with a lot of code, feature wishlists and bug reports. I won’t go into too much detail here, but we rely on Trello, Elegantt, Bitbucket, Jira, Confluence and Google Docs to keep track of things we are working on and want to work on in the future. People in the know might point out that Trello and Jira have seem like duplicates and these people are right. For a long time we used only Trello for sprint planning, but we have outgrown it a little bit and need more fine grained control and better planning tools. It is likely that in time we will migrate everything from the Docs,Trello & Elegantt solution to the purely Atlassian solution of Jira & Confluence.

Projects: we at FastPortal recommend FastPortal for project & dossier management. 🙂

Sales & Relationships: we love Pipedrive. Pipedrive and FastPortal have very similar views on how user interfaces should work. Their CRM-like sales pipeline tool is awesome.

Email: we try to minimize email for internal stuff. Email is insecure. Email is messy. Email is cluttered with spam and newsletters. If we do send emails, we have a system where we prefix the subject with PRIO 1 through 5. PRIO 1 means “drop everything and do this at once”, PRIO 5 means “hey, you might like to see this”.

Intraday chatter: there really is only one tool right now: Slack.Our use of Slack can be an article on its own. Besides Slack we (still) use good ol’ Skype for voice communications. Sometimes we sin and use WhatsApp for internal business purposes.

Sprint Report

If this sprint report feels kind of light, that might be true. We’re secretly working on a few very cool (and big) features that we will only announce when they’re really done. A lot of our development capacity went into those! Keep following us to stay in the know.

Primary Feature: Multiple Collaborators

We have released new functionality that allows you to assign more than one employee and client on a dossier. I’m once again really proud of the team. It works like a charm and adds a whole host of use cases for our clients.

Communicate with multiple collaborators

Other features/fixes:

  • The documents page now has a live preview of the PDF, image of Word document;
  • We made the list pages look better by replacing a lot of the buttons and putting them in the menu;
  • We fixed a few missing translations;
  • We added a toggle to hide or show upcoming tasks to declutter the dossier pages;
  • Only admins can now add or remove document labels;
  • A few pages and forms were replaced by modals to speed up our users;
  • A lot of smaller bugs fixes.


If you have any suggestions on how we can improve FastPortal, please let us know. Just send us an email at or stop by our offices at WeWork Metropool in Amsterdam (The address is Weesperstraat 61, but please call ahead so we can make sure we can have your favorite drink ready for you!)