The team at Chromatic maintains Storybook, an open-source tool that streamlines the development, testing, and documentation of UI components. Chromatic is a platform where anyone can preview elements built with Storybook by publishing them to a secure cloud. This full plate of responsibilities means that Amanda Martinez, Engineering Manager at Chromatic, has to optimize work across multiple GitHub repositories and Asana projects. The open-source nature of Storybook means she has to create processes that can withstand contributions from hundreds — if not thousands — of collaborators.
In this case study, find out how Amanda and her team used Unito to work across Asana projects and open-source GitHub repositories.
Two different planets
Asana and GitHub are about as different from each other as two work management tools can be. One is a project management powerhouse while the other is considered the de facto version control software by many organizations. They’re both excellent at what they do. Unfortunately, that creates little overlap. While most engineers could happily work without leaving GitHub, Amanda needed to hop back and forth between the two tools to figure out how things were progressing. Not only did this waste a lot of her time, it involved significant work. It was going from planet Asana to planet GitHub, trying to make sense of what was going on there, and bringing the information back home.
Because there was such a gap between tools, it was hard for anyone to get a complete picture of what was going on. Engineers could chew through their GitHub issues like nobody’s business, but they struggled to see what their work was contributing to. Likewise, managers often had to leave their bird’s-eye view in Asana and drill down through GitHub: “It’s fun checking off a milestone in Asana, but it was hard to see what needed to be completed without going through GitHub to see if certain issues were closed,” Amanda says.
The struggle for a middle ground
Before Amanda found a way to bridge the gap between Asana and GitHub, Chromatic’s teams were trying to force each tool to become something they weren’t. This was most obvious on the GitHub side, where collaborators were trying to make it look more like Asana. As Amanda puts it: “When I first came in, they were using boards in GitHub to try and manage the project work, and then also duplicating that effort in Asana. I said ‘there has to be a better way.’” Everyone had a sense that they needed some way to make the two tools work together, but everything they’d tried so far wasn’t cutting.
How things changed with Unito
When Amanda turned to Unito, she built flows between Chromatic’s Asana projects and GitHub milestones. GitHub issues are organized under these milestones, which reflect the feature-driven project work Chromatic is doing. Because Unito has robust, two-way integrations, each GitHub issue is matched up with an Asana task, meaning progress updates are automatically synced between tools. “I can live in Asana and find what I need on the GitHub side without actually having to go in there,” Amanda says.
Centralized project management
Part of the challenge for the workflows Amanda was building was the dual nature of her team’s work. Any work that needs to happen for Storybook takes place in an open-source GitHub repository, while work on Chromatic’s own platform originated from a different repository. Without Unito, centralizing updates from these two repositories meant hopping back and forth between them. Now Amanda and her team can manage projects for both platforms from the same place in Asana, without leaving their tool of choice.
Robust information filtering
Working with open-source repositories brings its own challenges. One of them is information security. Just because the team at Chromatic is responsible for maintaining Storybook doesn’t mean they want everything they do to be open-source. There’s some information they don’t want external collaborators — or competitors — to see. With Unito’s rules, Amanda can choose what kind of information she wants synced; there’s no obligation to send everything from GitHub into Asana and vice-versa. “I need to make sure I’m keeping the worlds separated where necessary. On the GitHub side, I use rules to only sync things from specific milestones. On the Asana side, I have rules that look for specific tags so only certain tasks go back to GitHub.” This is something Amanda wasn’t seeing from other integration solutions.
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