What are Jams?

Back when we used to go into offices, some of the best times were when we’d huddle together at someone’s desk or go grab a conference room to chat about some new idea. Oftentimes those discussions would interest others nearby in participating, and some really great things could be had from it all.

Remote, asynchronous work can make this sort of thing a little more challenging. While some schedule specific time for this via video conferencing, we believe the best way to replicate that behavior of old is to make it seem most like what came before. This is what we call “Jams.”

Jams:

  • Typically take place in Discord
  • Are open to others
  • Are unstructured
  • Are unplanned or ad-hoc
  • Don’t need a recap*
    • Note: If any decisions happen to be made during a jam that might affect others in any way they should be communicated out through a post in HQ

Discord

Discord is our tool of choice for jams because:

  • It’s easy to discover who else is jamming at any given time
  • Anyone can easily join
  • Multiple screens can be shared without permission, so it’s a perfect environment for something like a code review or pairing session

Lacking structure or planning

Jams are ad-hoc in the moment get togethers. Maybe you’re working through a particular problem and could really use some other eyes. Or maybe you just want to sit around and have someone else to have a casual chat with while you work. Either way, in an office setting both of those things were easily possible…not so much while remote.

So setting up a jam is as simple as firing up a room in Discord and perhaps letting others know that they’re invited to come jam with you.

What if decisions get made?

If there is something that’s decided in a meeting where others should be informed, it’s important to capture that somewhere either as action items in Height or as a topic in Discourse. The key here is ensuring that anyone who was not in the jam could benefit from what was discussed there.