Top 5 Collaboration Tools for Developers Working Remotely
With the rise of the gig economy and globalization, more and more developers are working from the comfort of their homes or hubs. According to the McKinsey Company report, A Labour Market That Works, by 2025 online platforms will contribute to $2.7 trillion in annual global GDP. This rise will be highly attributed to various factors such as the rapid growth of technology companies, the need for change of technology within companies hence the demand for good software developers and engineers. Fast Internet (Kenya is leading the pack in Africa, high Internet speeds), rise of platforms like Gebeya, companies needing to reduce their overheads are other factors that contribute to the need for remote developers. There’s also the emerging trend among today’s professionals: preference to flexible working hours, easier working terms over fixed hours. With a conducive environment and Internet the developers are essentially able to plug and work.
In as such, as a company attempting to reduce its overhead expenses, you’ve decided to have your developer work remotely or outsourced your software development needs to a company (link to best outsourcing practices). You’ve only spoken to them via Skype or phone call and you now hope that they’ll be able to perform according to the contract signed. How then do you keep a track of what they’re doing? How do you avoid micro managing them, yet at the same time ensure that they deliver within the set timelines?
At Gebeya we recommend the following collaboration tools:
Communication is essential to ensure that everyone is on the same page with regards to timelines and project specifications. It is available for free and you are able to create channels where individuals can share various topics pertaining to the project. This makes it easier to keep a track of any changes or suggestions that are being shared. It also integrates so well with common techie tools you can think of. From Git to Project Management (PM) tools such as Trello, Asana or even Active Collabo. For those who want more, you can integrate slash commands which simply enable users to interact with your apps via slack
Hot on the heels is your code repository management tool. A developer isn’t a true developer if they don’t have a code repository account. How then are people able to see your code and changes that you are making? Git allows you to check in your code in addition to this, it allows the Dev and the Ops guy or girl work together in a continuous delivery pipeline. The most popular are GitHub, GitLab and BitBucket. There are freemium plans that exist to help one manage their code. We’ve done a bit of homework on them:
Github :- Host unlimited number of repositories for your open source projects. Private repositories are available at $7 per month.
Gitlab:- You can choose to download and install the community edition (CE) version on your own server and pay no single penny. Or go ahead and create an account on their cloud and still host unlimited private and public repositories.
Bitbucket:- Has free plans, allows you to have unlimited private repositories. If in teams, your team can have up to 5 collaborators by default.
Think of it as google docs for your documents; the “documents” is the source code files and “google docs” is Git.
These two social media applications are quite popular for communication especially in low bandwidth areas. They allow for voice calls, texting, image and document sharing as well. You are able to get instant feedback from your developers and developers can communicate quite easily with each other.
Skype/ Google Hangouts
These are great video call tools for when you want to see your developers and discuss issues over video. Hangouts seems to work really well in low bandwidth areas as compared to Skype.
Google Drive comes in handy when handling documents whether it is the write up about the project or sharing updates or creating project tracker on Sheets. It allows for individuals to access the information in real time as they happen. It also allows for one to store their files and documents on Google Drive to access them easily from anywhere. Similar tools in this category are Dropbox and SkyDrive.
Try using these tools and you won’t have any worries about working with developers remotely. Always remember to use an agile methodology and delivery of projects happen within the stated timelines.