Over the past few months, the Open Health Development Team (Tristan Penman, Ahnaf Shahriar Abir and Francisco Di Persia) has been working hard on the software development for Open Health.

Open Health Co-founder and development lead Tristan Penman shared with us what the team has been up to and what they have planned going forward.

Q. What has the team achieved since the internship began?

Tristan: So much! Already the Open Health platform feels more feature-complete, and robust.

Q. What is the team dynamic like?

Tristan: The team has been working really well together. Ahnaf and Francisco often help each other out, while working through challenging problems. And if they get really stuck, they often only need a small hint to find the solution.

Q. What tools does the team use to stay organised?

Tristan: Our two main tools are Asana, GitHub and Slack. We use Asana to manage tasks on a week-by-week basis. GitHub is used for managing our code, and for providing feedback on code changes. And Slack is used for general conversation throughout the week.

Q. What kind of challenges has the team faced so far?

Tristan: I think the biggest challenge is that we have to work asynchronously. As much as I would love to work side-by-side with Ahnaf and Francisco, I have other work commitments that take up a lot of my day, and make it impossible to be co-located with them on a day-to-day basis. Our solution to that has been to meet face-to-face one day per week, and use that to focus on higher-level design work and mentoring.

Q. When faced with a challenge, how does the team respond?

Tristan: On a smaller scale, I think we all like to tackle challenges head-on, trying various ideas. If that doesn’t work, we’ll consult the rest of the team. On a larger scale (e.g. asynchronous workflows), we take a more measured approach, and will try things over a longer period of time to see if they work. At the end of the day, these problems are never really solved, and so it becomes a matter of continuous improvement – always looking for ways to collaborate more effectively!

Q. Is there anything you’d like to share about staying healthy, or balancing work and stress?

Tristan: It is challenging to maintain that balance. I have work-related commitments, and I’m often anxious about how long it takes for me to give Francisco and Ahnaf feedback on the great work they’re doing. The reality is that our asynchronous workflow means there is an opportunity to include physical activity in my day. I’ve noticed that by doing this, I can review Francisco and Ahnaf’s work with more attention to detail, and can give them higher quality feedback.

Q. What will the team be focusing on next?

Tristan: So far, we’ve been fixing up issues in the social and collaborative aspects of the site. While there is a lot to be done there, we’re now ramping up on content management functionality, so that the Open Health content developers have the tools they need to prepare content, and build out the Open Health program.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Tristan: When working remotely, it is really beneficial to know that your coworkers are reliable and motivated. Both Ahnaf and Francisco have shown that they have great work ethics, and it has been a delight working with them through their internships!

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