Company Profile

  • Company Name: Ruffnote Inc.
  • Interviewees: CEO Mr.Nishiogura, Engineer Mr.Tobioka

Ruffnote, doing development with remote work

ー Please tell us about Ruffnote Inc.
Our company develops the time sharing tool "TimeCrowd", and runs a business that we call "Cost Sharing Entrusted Development", in which customers can share operating hours, or in other words, all costs by utilizing TimeCrowd. It's a company where everything is done by remote work. Members live in many parts of Japan, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south. Different from developing in the same place, many problems occur when remote working, such as not being able to share little bits of information or telling how busy someone is by just looking. By learning from the issues we actually had in our development environment, we work on our services so that we can help others also do remote work comfortably.


The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced in their White Paper on Information and Communications in Japan 2014 that by 2020 they aim to "increase the number of teleworkers who work from home all day at least one day a week to up to more than 10% of all workers in Japan". In Ruffnote, we strive to adopt work and development styles that compliment these movements and to provide the knowledge we gained from it through our services such as TimeCrowd.

We share information with members who work remotely by communication through daily online chat and GitHub, and also a 30-minute weekly regular video meeting. In the regular meetings, we don't use daily or weekly reports. We have the meetings on Skype while viewing the logs of our respective activity history managed on TimeCrowd and with KPT.

Proceeding remote work with quantification

In trying to work remotely, we often hear voices from companies and people in superior positions worrying about management of such employees, like not being so sure people will work as properly when remoting or wanting to check that they're on work. It's natural for opinions like these to surface since there are many things that you won't be able to be aware of when working in separate places that can be easily checked by just taking a quick look when in the same place.

However, taking measures such as requesting detailed daily reports or setting up a camera in one's workspace brings up concerns about privacy. On the other hand, there are also voices wanting to know about the fellow workers they work with.

In other words, there is an issue that both sides feel the need for sharing information but can't consent on what kind of information to share so that both sides are satisfied.

In Ruffnote, we solve this issue by "realizing quantification easily".
Frequently inputting text to share little bits of information that can be easily shared when working in the same place like what task one is doing now is bothersome and lowers your work's efficiency, and also can be stressful. Also, there are times when small things cannot be confirmed smoothly since there are many cases where time lags occur in the communication. If information like these can be easily shared, work can be done smoothly as if it's done in the same place.

Sample of TimeCrowd's Management Screen

Texting "I have done this task for 30 minutes" after finishing some work can be a bit troublesome, but just clicking the chrome extension button when starting your work allows TimeCrowd to save the title of the screen you are currently working with. Information sharing tools such as Trello are often used when developing, and organizing such information makes it able to easily collect quantitative data.

In remote working, it's crucial how simply you can share information that feels like trivial matters when in the same place. By keeping logs, you can give them a panoramic view later, so it's a vital tool that provides information on deciding priorities of tasks and doing KPT.

Mr.Nishiogura, talking about the quantification of remote work

SideCI and Remote Work

ー Please tell us about the advantages of using SideCI in remote work
In remote work, exchanging small information takes much of your time. From this, situations where indications on small parts of the code become fewer, leading to the decrease in code quality, tend to appear more frequently.

It's the same thing when working in the same place, but making trivial indications like about coding standards is stressful, and when there are more indications the more stress, making indications fewer.

On the other hand, continuing indicating such small matters have much influence on maintainability and the team's development efficiency. We introduced SideCI so such code reviews can be done mechanically.

Development with SideCI took root right away since indications appear in the comments on GitHub. There was a time when we singly introduced RuboCop, but using SideCI which notifies indications to GitHub, a place where everyone in the team views, made members respond and deal with the indications from RuboCop much regularly than before.
Following this, a culture where Bots are used for indications that could be done mechanically was born. Now, we integrate all information from CirleCI(Test coverage), RubyCritic, and notification of deployment to Github. The emergence of such a culture is one of the unexpected effects of introducing SideCI.

Future Works

We think of "productivity" as "the resulting achievements" + "the time spent", and our TimeCrowd service has quantified the latter. We aim to quantify and improve "productivity" by proactively utilizing mechanisms that can quantify the former like SideCI.

At the entrance

At the time of this interview, SideCI was our product name and was used in these interviews. As of June 13th, 2018, we have changed our product name to Sider and updated the product name in the past interviews accordingly.

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