It takes quite a lot to manage a development team and oversee software projects from start to finish. It gets even more challenging when you have to deal with a remote team.
Granted, remote work is no longer a new thing. But that doesn’t change the fact that walking over to a co-worker’s desk to track bugs and errors doesn’t have its perks.
However, remote work has many benefits that show in many successful projects and teams. But without the right tools, development teams will struggle to collaborate, communicate, and even function as cohesive units.
That’s why we’ve put together different tools for software engineering teams.
Time tracking tools are essential for programmers as they help with time management, productivity tracking, and automated timesheet creation, among many other things.
Using a time tracker is the best way to calculate billable hours for developers who work by the hour and it’s also helpful when it comes to workload management.
Managers will be able to track their team’s performance by looking at time reports and assessing how many tasks each worker completed over a period. That way, they’ll be able to efficiently assign tasks and provide support for workers struggling with specific issues.
There are different time trackers out there that suit different purposes, and you can choose one that fits your team size, budget, and operations.
Development teams using Azure DevOps have to check out 7pace. It’s easily the best time-tracking program for software developers in this space.
The time-tracking solution is built for developers by developers and is dedicated to allowing individual programmers to have autonomy and ownership of their time.
7pace keeps monitors when work items are active and records how long software engineers spend on platforms tied to the application lifecycle management. That way, developers can easily complete their timesheets by reviewing and submitting entries.
Team managers will also enjoy the ease of managing workflow, tracking task progress, and monitoring employee activity. The tool provides insights, analytics, and reporting that you can use to understand a worker’s schedule and how best to work with them.
Traqq Time Tracking
Traqq is a time tracker that focuses on ethical employee monitoring. It keeps workers comfortable with the idea of time tracking as it doesn’t give away sensitive information.
The tool sends screenshots and screen recordings to supervisors but blurs out the screen’s contents. That way, managers will know which program a worker is using without seeing its contents.
But that’s not all.
Traqq is great at recording and calculating billable hours. It uses those billable hours to automatically create timesheets and invoices for whichever duration you choose.
The program also allows developers to identify and get rid of time-wasting activities since it records time spent on each application and platform.
Timecamp is a free time-tracking tool that tracks billable hours, creates automatic timesheets, and generates invoices. It allows you to monitor your team’s performance and work rate and compiles helpful data that can aid in efficient workload management.
The tool also has features and capabilities for reporting, monitoring project progress, and implementing timesheet approvals.
Timecamp can integrate with project management tools like Asana and collaboration platforms like Google Drive so that you can do more from one place.
Collaboration Platforms for Developers
Collaboration platforms allow developers to share and work on files in real time. These solutions make sure programmers are all up to date with the latest versions of their files. Using collaboration tools also means developers get to save time working on files in the cloud without having to send them back and forth.
There are different collaboration tools that you can go for, and many are specifically designed for programmers.
GitHub is a cloud-based version control platform. It allows developers to share the latest versions of their codes with team members, who can also track and work on them from anywhere.
It’s one of the most popular platforms among software engineers to the point that it’s now synonymous with development.
Software development teams can host different versions of their code online, making real-time commits and updating repositories remotely.
Having a Gmail account means you have access to Google’s cloud services. If you don’t have it already, you should. That’s because Google Drive offers one of the best cloud services designed for collaboration.
Google’s Docs, Sheets, and Slides platforms are cloud-based equivalents of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These solutions allow you and your coworkers to collaborate on simple files.
That said, Google also has a platform dedicated to developers. Here, you can automate Drive to handle repetitive processes and tasks, using Apps Script. You can also leverage Drive API and other tools to make things work the way you want.
You’ll agree that merely speaking about code isn’t always enough to get ideas across in most situations. Most times, you have to show your work to get the best feedback.
That’s also the case for code auditing and bug tracking.
Developers often find themselves in situations where they have to share their screens with team members to show progress or work on a problem.
That’s where TeamViewer comes in.
It’s the most popular tool in the screen-sharing space, thanks to its numerous collaborative features. The program allows managers to remotely manage devices as long as they run Android, Linux, and Windows 10/11.
You can also do other things such as file-sharing and encryption with TeamViewer.
Project Management Tools
Organizing a project from scratch, assigning tasks, and closely monitoring project progress is easier and more straightforward with project management tools.
These software applications are built to help managers and teams to complete tasks efficiently and boost productivity.
There are developer-friendly tools that can aid the software development lifecycle.
You can use these solutions to do everything from budgeting, expense tracking, and resource management to task tracking, workload management, and file sharing.
Let’s go through two of the best project management solutions for development teams.
Jira remains one of the most popular project management tools among developers, thanks to many native features that support software engineering.
Initially focused on development teams, Jira has recently expanded its capabilities to cater to all types of organizations. It now includes traditional project management features for marketing, finance, human resources, legal and other operations.
But it’s the bug-tracking solution coupled with project management that developers will find helpful and interesting.
Your small remote team can easily use Jira to do everything from streamlining your workflow and tracking tasks to reviewing code and setting project milestones and objectives.
You can visualize and customize your workflow using different Agile methodologies like Kanban boards. There are also robust reporting options to make task management more efficient.
Asana is an easy-to-use all-purpose project management tool with a Kanban-style interface. It’s making this list because its free package is feature rich that some teams may not have to go for the paid version.
The project management tool offers unlimited messaging, projects, and teams. It also provides multiple project views, assignee due dates, project overviews, and more than 100 integrations.
The tool packs many features that allow managers to follow up on multiple projects and closely manage tasks. When it comes to collaboration, Asana offers file-sharing and communication capabilities.
You can also use the solution to automate different project management processes and repetitive tasks like:
- Alerting the next person on the workflow
- Cascading due dates
- Alerting team members when a project is complete
Asana works for different operations and industries, including software development.
Communication is the backbone of teamwork, especially in development teams. Software engineers have to communicate with each other through the software development lifecycle to ensure a successful product launch.
For teams working remotely, communication is no longer an issue, thanks to tools designed to keep teams in touch.
Slack is one of the most popular communication platforms around. It’s mostly a messaging app focused on helping small to large businesses communicate, thanks to its channels, audio messaging, and integrations with Zoom and Google.
According to Slack-sponsored research, development teams using the platform achieve time to market 23% faster, need 27% less time to iterate and test, and improve output by 5%.
You can easily organize channels by teams and sub-teams to keep conversions more structured. Discussions about a particular subject can be limited to its channel, and workers can use direct messaging for one on one interactions.
You can also automate Slack’s integrations to receive alerts about things like code reviews and outage resolutions in Slack channels.
The tools you can integrate with Slack include GitHub, PagerDuty, Jira Cloud, and AWS Chatbot, among others.
Microsoft Teams was introduced in 2016 and it replaced other Microsoft platforms such as Skype for Business. The number of organizations using the communication solution shot up after it was included in Office 365.
One of the tool’s greatest features is keeping conversation threads accessible so that team members can always check out a project’s decision and activity history.
The Planner tab in the program also allows managers to create a lightweight project management utility in Teams channels to give team members an idea of a project’s status. It’ll allow you to organize tasks into swimlanes or buckets and design and track them without breaking a sweat.
These tools are great for facilitating collaboration and bringing teams together. You have to mix them with practical management strategies to expand your team’s horizons. Remember to always use an application’s free version or free trial before going all in.