It’s proven that remote teams work more productively than teams in an office environment. One survey found 77% of workers were more productive when working remotely. Another found that 76% of workers were distracted less often than when working in an office.
Remote workers may be more productive, but there are still challenges to working efficiently in a distributed team. Coordinating developers across time zones can present a logistical headache. Remote developer teams need the right tools and platforms to ensure they can share work efficiently and capture the full benefits of productive remote work. These are the best ten tools for helping distributed teams of developers coordinate.
GitHub (and Git) offers a cloud-based location for storing, testing, sharing and collaborating on web development projects. GitHub is a staging platform for developers to share projects, edit, and build on each other’s code. From code review to project management to social coding and integrations, GitHub is the backbone of any remote developer team project.
Every remote team needs a collaboration and communication platform, and this is where Slack comes in. Favored by remote teams of all sizes, Slack provides both a space for water cooler chat and for sharing documents, getting feedback, and coordinating on coding projects. From soliciting beta test feedback to shipping projects out the door faster, Slack facilitates a remote team culture as well as more productive work.
Bitbucket, formerly Stash, is a tool designed to keep developers productive when working in Git. Git repositories can get unwieldy fast – and Bitbucket provides a way to structure repositories with an easy, user-friendly interface. Like GitHub, Bitbucket offers a platform for planning projects, collaborating on code, testing, and deployment. Plus, set up free unlimited private repositories.
Jira is an absolute necessity for agile development teams. The planning and tracking tool helps your team make new user stories, plan sprints, and assign tasks to keep everyone accountable for their work. Bug tracking and reporting is made clear with the platform’s transparent workflow, giving everyone visibility no matter where they are in the world. Plus, Jira integrates with Confluence, Bitbucket, and hundreds of other developer tools.
Basecamp is a great alternative (or supplement) to Jira. The beauty of Basecamp is that it brings together all the tools a remote team uses in one streamlined place. The platform promises that a remote worker will “know what to do, where things stand, and where to find things they need.” Basecamp includes message boards, to-do lists, file storage, group chat, and more for a great all-in-one productivity solution.
Prototyping in a remote development team can be a challenge, and that’s where InVision comes to the rescue. This app has been used by companies like Airbnb, Amazon, Lyft, and Netflix to collaborate on design and prototype projects. Interactive whiteboards and design tools built into the platform allow for streamlined feedback, smart coordination, and efficient handoff between development and design teams. InVision has a slick user interface and lots of integrations (including Jira, Slack, and Basecamp) to help your team work as efficiently as possible.
Screenhero is a screen-sharing tool developed specifically for remote coders. Voice chat and multiple mouse cursors make it easy to collaborate and pair code or de-bug in tandem. “Designers can iterate faster by reviewing designs with stakeholders or clients in real-time — no passing files back and forth,” writes one reviewer. Move beyond screencasting to a more collaborative way to work virtually.
Every team needs a good way to share files. Google Drive offers 15 GB of free cloud storage – that’s a fair amount for codes, images, stories, designs, and other documents you may need to keep for your development projects. The flexibility of the cloud storage platform means remote developers can access files on any device; files sync automatically and the auto-save function has saved many a project plan in case of emergency.
Every Time Zone
Sometimes even the most simple tools have the biggest impact on a virtual team’s ability to work efficiently. Every Time Zone shows what time it is where each developer is located. Instead of waiting for an answer from a colleague who is offline, a developer can troubleshoot on their own or move on to a different task. Scheduling meetings and keeping to deadlines becomes easier when you know when each person is online – especially when your team has flexible schedules. Savvy managers can also build remote teams that always have someone online, ensuring constant coverage with no lag time.
I Done This
Looking for a simple productivity tool? I Done This is a straightforward platform that provides daily check-ins and progress reports to run more an effective and productive team. Keep up with your co-developers work and track what’s getting done, what’s gone off schedule, and why. Plus, it’s email-based, making it a simple addition to the tools your team is already using.