Most IRC clients support a feature called stalk words. This feature lets you define words other than your name that you want to be alerted to. You could have the program alert you any time someone says build and broken so you know to fix it. You could also be alerted when someone mentions the subsystem you work on. Stalk words let you ignore the IRC window without worrying that you are missing something important.
Chapter 9 – Communicating In Real-Time