There is no doubt that teamwork lies at the heart of every successful product.
Be it a software or industrial good, if your team members fail to perform their duties, your product development will be in jeopardy. But despite the awareness, the reality is product development fails all the time.
The worst part? You would be surprised to know that the reason behind the failure in most cases is not lack of skill or resources. It’s an ineffective collaboration and management of the teams.
If you are looking to streamline your team collaborations, you are already on the right track. However, laying your hands on the right set of tools is still tricky.
According to research done by the Project Management Institute (PMI), 66 percent of the organizations that use project management tools completed projects within their estimated budgets when compared to the other 47 percent who didn’t use any project management software.
The market is flooded with productivity and management tools that claim to do almost the same job, yet only a few of them can serve your team’s expectations and needs.
This can quickly get stressful. Isn’t it? But it does not need to be. This post takes you to the greener part of project management. Scouring the market, we bring you a curated list of seven high-performing tools that will skyrocket your team collaboration and productivity.
Also Read: 6 Ways to Improve Teamwork in the Workplace
Top 7 tools for development teams and project managers in 2021
There are three critical criteria that determine whether the software is a right fit for your teams or not: goals with the software, budget, and team strength.
Based on these three core factors, you can plan your core technological support. An excellent way to do this is by distributing your requirements based on categories of tasks.
Here are our top seven picks for you in 2021.
1. Software documentation tools
Today’s software development demands agile processes. Your product development needs to be resilient enough to respond to changes and problems to stay relevant to your audience’s needs and demands. However, achieving this is easier said than done.
With your growing software development needs, chances are your team size will grow too. But if you have to give a tour of your development practices each time you onboard a new employee, it consumes both time and resources.
The worst part is it’s not the most productive work you can do in your developmental process. A software documentation tool automates the complete stakeholder assistance regarding product-related queries.
It answers all the frequently asked questions of the stakeholders regarding the product are answered. Be it your marketing teams, product development teams, your managers, or end-users; everyone has assistance in hand in real-time.
Here are our top picks that you can utilize for your documentation.
Confluence is every development team’s favorite knowledge base. Integrating tags, pre-built templates, smart searches, and a quick document retrieval system this web-based wiki can be used to answer all your stakeholder’s common questions
b) Document 360
Document 360 has one primary goal. Create fast and hassle-free information retrieval. The tool harnesses the power of cloud computing with an intuitive and easy installation setup.
2. Project management tools
Project management tools are the Holy Grail for all project managers and developer teams alike.
An efficient project management system keeps all your team members on the same page removing redundancy in work. It can organize and declutter your workscape to create room to do more productive work. From file management to quick recovery, real-time task tracking, and team collaboration, it can do it all.
Following are our project management tool recommendations for 2021.
Integrating a kanban style collaboration, Trello is the most agile project management tool. Tracking tasks and assigning them to dedicated team members has never been easy. The only downside of the device is that it cannot serve complex project needs.
JIRA is a tool that is made targeting the requirements of the global development teams. This makes it comprehensive and robust in features and capabilities required in a software development process. Tasks like bug tracking and system fixes are some of its capabilities.
3. Communication tool
Communication is one of the key reasons why teams fail to launch a product successfully. A mismanaged communication pipeline not only creates frenzy but redundancy in the information being circulated amongst team members. The result? Poor quality products and wastage of valuable resources: time and money.
This makes a single unified communication system critical for the efficient management of your team. Defining the core communication tools is the first step that you should take in this regard.
It can completely transform the way your team interacts with each other. Setting up an instant messaging tool is critical for creating a more robust communication channel.
Here are the best tools to do so.
Slack is the all-in-one tool your development teams would ever require for complete team collaboration. From instant messaging, video, and voice calls to tags for separating discussion threads, it does it all. The best part is it has high integration capabilities with some of your favorite workplace tools like Trello, JIRA, and Salesforce.
When it comes to video conferences, Zoom is unbeatable. From recording sessions to VR (virtual reality) powered backgrounds, it allows a user to do it all.
4. Productivity tool
In business, time is money. Ideally, you would like your complete working hours to be productive. However, in reality, that is hardly the case. Your world is filled with distractions. In a virtual world filled with cute baby videos keeping your focus intact without support is hard.
Integrating productivity tools is thus critical to reaching optimum levels of productivity. More so, to understand how you can optimize your productive hours. The best part? It will save your team from burnout while still improving efficiency and checking off all the tasks from the to-do list.
The following are the best tools that can help you achieve this.
Toggl makes managing your billable and non-billable hours look like a cakewalk. Separating hours into work categories like projects, business development, and marketing takes minimal work to track the productivity of your team members once they check in and check out their systems.
Data visualization tools are critical for tracking performance over a period of time. It not only makes the data look interesting but is more comprehensive and insightful for any performance optimization teams. Piktochart’s line graph maker is one of the best when it comes to data visualization. The best part is you get a free version.
5. Quality assurance tool
In a competitive market like software, there is zero tolerance for poor quality. This makes quality assurance an integral part of the development process.
An ideal quality assurance tool (QA) should be able to track the number of issues and frequency so that analysts can track a pattern and create improved error-proof systems of development. What’s more? Documenting common issues makes room for high-response that shortens the fixing time.
Here are our top picks.
This tool is a powerhouse when it comes to tracking code and test quality. From defining hotspots to improving response time, Codeclimate does them all. What follows is an end product that is thorough and error-proof.
Rollbar makes bug fixing look like a breeze. With this tool at bay, detecting bugs consumes half the time. More so, it helps to create leaner and cleaner code that boosts the creation of lightweight software.
6. Brainstorming tool
One of the most productive works in a software development process is brainstorming sessions. An efficient brainstorming session can bring so much value to your development process. It can help you come to creative solutions to the problems you are targeting to solve. However, if you are not capturing the values during these sessions, chances are you are losing your best creative ideas.
A brainstorming tool ensures all your creative ideas are collected in one place. It can organize all your thoughts and create a giant mood board for your development process.
The following are our brainstorming tool essentials for 2021.
Evernote is the dream brainstorming tool your team can have any day. From note-taking to voice notes, storing thoughts, and adding snippets from the web assists in all. The best part is the tool has a minimal learning curve. This makes it the perfect companion for your early-stage development.
If there is one tool that ensures you have the fastest yet most logical understanding of the flow of actions in your development process, it is Mindnode. With this tool, you can easily create anchors in your development to create workflows before developing the process.
7. Design tool
Keeping a software development process agile takes more than just a documentation tool. If you are not using a lean methodology to create high-fidelity prototypes to test real users, validating your concepts and ideas will be expensive and time-consuming. There is no point in developing software that your audience does not want.
Design tools ensure you can visualize your end results, without developing the product, in a fraction of time. It is a great way to gain product-market fit. Be it a SaaS software design or a heavy-customized website, creating high-fidelity versions of the final looks helps each team member stay on the same page. More so, it creates a platform for team collaboration.
Consider the following design tools for your product.
Sketch is one of the most intuitive and user-friendly design tools that your team can integrate into their development systems. Plus comes its unparalleled integration capabilities that make the software an ideal match for your workflow.
There is no better tool than Balsamiq when it comes to wireframing. Integrating a cartoon-style element display, this tool takes out almost every complexity of early-stage prototyping to focus on the fundamentals of user experience, content architecture, placement, and flow.
With so much technology in hand, there is no doubt you can transform your cluttered workspace into a creative, growth-hacking landscape. The above tools are crown jewels in this domain. However, there is no supplement to human intelligence.
If you fail to skip prioritizing tasks and setting milestones for you, no amount of tools can bring you desired success irrespective of their quality. The above tools are just a means to ensure you have more time for creative and productive work. The real job still lies with your team.
So now there is just one question left to answer.
Which of the above tools did you decide to integrate into your operations?
Author bio: Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as an Instructional Designer and is passionate about writing. She has helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted content that is both informative and engaging. She lives in Bangalore, India with her husband and parents. She loves to read, experiment with different cuisines, travel, and explore the latest content marketing and L&D trends in her free time. You can reach her on Linkedin or write to her at [email protected] to discuss your content marketing requirements.