8 min read
Sep 20, 2017
Development Tools

8 Must Have Productivity Tools for Software Engineering Team Managers

Do standing desks and cold brew on tap increase the output of work? Probably not, but these 8 productivity tools for software engineering teams can help.

Gwen SchleferGuest author

Team managers are always trying new ways to increase employee productivity. Do the standing desks and cold brew on tap increase the output of work? Maybe, but it's more likely that productivity can be tied directly to the tools being used.

There are a lot of moving parts on a development team, and this can create challenges for managers. The right tools make it possible to piece these parts together, evaluate the work being done and create an efficient workflow.

These eight productivity tools for software engineering team managers help increase productivity and create more efficient processes.

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The #1 project and issue tracking software for agile teams, Jira by Atlassian lets you create and track issues, assign projects and follow team activity.

Jira is a centralized location for all project tasks, and makes it easy for teams to follow progress and contribute help and feedback along the way. It improves visibility, making it easy to share information and collaborate on projects.

How team managers use it: Managers can assign tasks to team members and track workflows, from assignment to completion. Communication with employees is streamlined with comments and the ability to keep other team members in the loop with mentions.

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The Wiki companion to Jira, Confluence (also an Atlassian tool) allows users to collaborate with multimedia and dynamic content. Confluence integrates seamlessly with Jira, making it easy to pull up tickets and access task information across both platforms. The tool is great for creating and following project guidelines.

Features like the ability to embed diagrams and intuitive page layouts make Confluence a useful tool for product managers and developers alike.

How team managers use it: Confluence allows users to follow changes on project pages, giving managers visibility on updates. Managers communicate by highlighting text, leaving comments and responding to notes.

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Boasting more than one million users, GitHub is a version control system. It makes hosting private repositories accessible to individuals and businesses alike. The social aspect of GitHub makes it easy to collaborate with colleagues or share projects with other developers.

How team managers use it: GitHub acts as a central location for dev team managers to access the code base for their software, review changes to files and provide feedback to developers. Administrators can manage large teams, create groups and review work with ease.

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Static Object

Static Object (now rebranded as GitClear) quantifies the value of code with Line Impact scores and provides tools for reviewing code and analyzing productivity for engineering teams.

The tool looks at changes like additions, updates, and removals, and their relative impact together to quantify commits. By assigning line impact scores to code, Static Object makes it possible to make informed decisions supported by data.

How team managers use it: Managers can review code easily with an enhanced diff comparison tool. Line impact scores create measurable metrics for leaders to understand the value of each line of code. Static Object's intuitive dashboard provides visibility into productivity patterns in order to identify who's performing well and who's stuck.

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A popular workplace chatroom that helps to connect teams near and far, Slack creates a fun work environment with an emoji-centric, yet productive, platform. Users can create channels to organize teams, projects, locations or personal interests. Slack also centralizes all the tools you need with seamless integrations and a helpful reminder feature.

How team managers use it: Slack allows users to organize teams by project or department to communicate directly with the right people. Slack reminders improve organization for a busy day and the feature allows users to send reminders directly to colleagues about time sensitive tasks.

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Jing by TechSmith

Jing by TechSmith is a screenshotting tool to help clarify issues or reproduce bugs. It can be hard to explain to someone in written form what you're experiencing visually, but sometimes it's not possible to meet up face-to-face.

Jing also has a hotkey feature to automatically pulls up the screenshot function, making the tool accessible at the drop of a hat.

How team managers use it: Managers can encourage their team to use the tool to clarify issues visually and save time by activating a hotkey. Jing screenshot videos can improve management's ability to document software bugs and provide feedback on usability based on a visual experience.

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Ideal for visual learners, Trello offers cards, lists and boards for project organization. The tool can be used by an individual or collaborative teams as a place to outline tasks or simply as an idea repository.

Interactive tools like commenting and voting make it possible to plan priorities as a team.

How team managers use it: With Trello, team managers can help employees organize projects by task, identify priorities and provide feedback along the way. Recent integrations with Jira, Bitbucket and Confluence make Trello a great centralized location to organize developers progress during sprints.

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Planning Poker

This tool is an estimation game used by agile teams. With Planning Poker, every developer has a hand of cards that represent increasing complexity of a task (similar to Fibonacci sequence).

Since the developers reveal their cards at the same time, each has equal input on the project estimate, minimizing cognitive biases. If the estimates vary greatly, the developers take the opportunity to discuss complexities or risks based on individual knowledge.

How team managers use it: Managers need to provide accurate estimates for backlog tasks before assigning them. Planning Poker allows developers to have input in this process by scoring tasks as a group. Over time managers get a better idea of the team's productivity per sprint (by total task points completed by the team) resulting in more accurate long term development planning.

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What are your top productivity tools for software engineering teams?

There are tons of tools available for programmers. While not every one of the leading tools made this list, these are a few of the products that offer major productivity benefits.

We want to know what your team uses to automate processes, improve productivity and yield outstanding results. How do you centralize projects, evaluate code and lead a team that prioritizes productivity? Let us know by tweeting GetApp.

About the Author

Gwen Schlefer is the PR manager at Bonanza.com. Static Object is Bonanza's newest productivity tool for developers and programming team managers. Static Object aims to make code review easier and give development teams more insight into performance.

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