Is your software development team having trouble staying on the same page? Are your team members tired of switching back and forth between different communication platforms just to share ideas? Then a collaboration tool can help, and we will reveal which are best for software developers so you can pick one that fits your specific needs.
Importance of Collaboration Tools For Software Developers
The use of collaboration tools exploded during the coronavirus pandemic, as many offices were shuttered in the name of social distancing. With developers unable to exchange ideas and feedback in an in-person setting, they turned to Zoom calls and other forms of communication to continue their work from home.
Even without the pandemic, however, collaboration tools have become an essential part of everyday life for software developers. In many cases, the modern workplace is no longer a centralized office, as some teams are made up of developers who live on different continents. They use the Internet to communicate via avenues like email, messaging, and video chat, and while sufficient to stay in touch, those methods can be clunky and sometimes confusing. With a collaboration tool, that clunkiness and confusion go out the window, which can make a development team more efficient and prevent costly miscommunication.
If you are still not convinced that a dedicated collaboration tool is crucial for a development team’s efficiency, the findings of a study from the McKinsey Global Institute say otherwise.
According to the study, 61 percent of an employee’s typical workweek is spent on collaborative tasks, such as reading and answering emails, communicating with other employees, etc.
By using social technologies to streamline those tasks, a team’s productivity could see a 25 percent increase. The more productive a team is, the faster it can complete projects while also saving money in the process.
With the right collaboration tool, software developers can boost productivity via a wide range of features, such as group messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, online storage, task assignments, and more. And while there may be apps for each of those purposes, having them all in one spot is what makes collaboration tools so effective at increasing productivity.
Best Collaboration Tools For Software Development
Can you collaborate with members of your software development team via email or a quick Skype call? Sure, but the purpose of this guide is to show you how to take your collaborative efforts to the next level. Here are some of the best collaboration tools for software developers to help you achieve that goal.
When you ask software developers which collaboration tools they use most, you will probably get GitHub as one of the most frequent answers. This cloud-based, open-source tool offers many collaborative features to make a developer’s life easier, such as:
- Code review – Lets developers and project managers review new code, see any visual code changes, and merge changes with automated status checks.
- Pull requests – Lets contributors you specify let you know of any changes they pushed to a repository.
- Notifications – Gives you updates to specific GitHub activities you’re interested in.
- Multiple assignees – Lets you track who is working on what by assigning up to 10 people to work on a task.
Developer collaboration is made simple via Trello since it lets you organize projects into boards. Each board is then broken down into lists that contain cards. Your team can easily see what’s on the to-do list, what’s being worked on, and what’s done, so there’s no confusion about a project’s status.
Instead of having to dig through lengthy email chains to find attachments, you can drag and drop them onto cards for easy access. Add in features like checklists and integrations with Dropbox, Slack, Gmail, Outlook, and more, and it’s no wonder why Trello is such a popular collaboration tool among developers.
Read: Trello Review: Features, Pros, and Cons
When surveyed, many software developers cited Jira as their collaboration tool of choice. It works well in terms of issue and bug tracking and test case management, and if your team prefers Agile methodologies, it can suffice there as well, thanks to its Kanban and Scrum boards.
Nobody in your team will feel like they’re out of the loop when using Jira, as it lets everyone see what needs to be done, what’s being worked on, and what is completed. The same holds true for stakeholders, as you can use roadmaps to share your plans with them.
As for integrations, Jira is particularly strong in that department. Regardless of which communication tools you use, you can probably integrate them with Jira as it boasts support for 3,000 plus apps, such as Gmail, Slack, Zoom, etc.
Read: Jira Review: Pricing and Features
Major organizations like LinkedIn, NASA, and the New York Times use Confluence to collaborate, and your software development team can do the same. Use Confluence’s collaborative workspace to give and get instant feedback, and integrate it with over 3,000 apps like Google Drive, Dropbox, Office, and more.
Slack Messenger Tool
Have you ever tried to complete a project when collaborating via email? If so, you know that simply sifting through and reading the back and forth emails can take up an entire day.
While email is good for some things, it’s not ideal for software developer collaboration. That’s where Slack can save the day, as it eliminates the need to sort through massive email threads by organizing conversations into Channels. Is that all Slack can do? Nope, as it also comes equipped with video calls plus integrations to extend your collaborative capabilities.
G Suite Developer Collaboration Tool
G Suite, aka Google Workspace, puts all of the tech giant’s collaborative tools in one place.
Instead of having to jump between Google’s most popular apps like Drive, Gmail, Sheets, Docs, Calendar, Chat, Meet, etc., you can enjoy all of their functionality at once.
Read: Best Project Management Software for Developers
You can enjoy several basic collaborative functions for your software development team with Hibox. Companies like Samsung and 3M use it for its task management and communication features.
You can create new tasks with ease and assign them to specific devs on your team so they can be completed by a specific deadline. And to stay on top of projects, Hibox has a helpful project calendar view so you can see what’s complete, what’s in process, and what needs to be started.
The company chat feature lets you share announcements across your entire organization or initiate conversations with specific developers in a secure and private environment. Group video chat, meanwhile, offers one-click face-to-face calls without the need for any downloads or integrations.
Hibox bypasses the need to search for vital information amongst hundreds or thousands of old emails too. Use its search function to find past conversations to view them in their original contexts. There’s also file sharing and integration with the most commonly used apps, such as Google Drive, Gmail, Dropbox, and more.
Zoom Collaboration Tool
What did many people use to communicate and collaborate once the coronavirus pandemic appeared? Zoom, as it makes it incredibly easy to make video calls.
While Zoom may not offer as many bells and whistles as other collaboration tools in this list, it can give you face-to-face communication with members of your development team if you’re looking for a simple solution. And if you’re not one to take notes during important calls, you won’t have to here, as Zoom can record calls for later use.