Being able to access a platform where you can work together with an entire team is critical, especially when it comes to a fresh project. This is especially the case for software development teams that work with tight deadlines, countless variables, and conditions that need to be met. In essence, online collaboration is the craft of efficiently communicating with your team while working on a project.
Development teams need to understand every facet of the product they’re creating, and in the end, aim to have a finished product that is as usable and as enjoyable for the end customer as it can be. But as we already know, every project can only be as successful as its planning, organization, and teamwork. It’s virtually impossible to achieve all that without some sort of collaboration tool, as it provides many benefits that make every stage of the process easier.
Here’s what a collaboration tool can offer you:
- Neat and easily accessible file storage
- Messaging and video conferencing features
- Screen sharing and work-sharing
- Recording brainstorming sessions
- File editing by everyone in the team
But even if you know the main advantages of choosing the right collaboration tool, we still need to acknowledge that different tools offer different features and solve different problems. So, in accordance with that, the first thing you’ll have to do is identify the problems your team is facing and move from there. Once you realize the problem areas, you’ll have a much easier time choosing the right tool for you and your team.
In the spirit of that, we’ve prepared a list of the best online collaboration tools for developers. All of them offer different features, so there’s bound to be one here that’ll fit your team and your work style. These are in no particular order whatsoever, and the top choice solely depends on your work style and what the team requires.
There’s virtually no team alive that hasn’t heard of this tool. Trello is one of the most, if not the most, famous collaboration tools in the whole world, and we can confidently say it earned its spot fair and square. Trello can function quite simply as your ultimate to-do list, but where its power truly lies is in its vast customization options. It can work well for both large teams and smaller ones; everything depends on how you set up and organize the workload.
The whole platform consists of a basic main board where you can have an overview of everything that needs to be done and assign tasks to each employee or a team. This is also where you’ll find your productivity metrics, timelines, calendars, etc. Trello’s basic organizational system is the so-called “cards”. Assign a task, color code it to know which category it fits into, share it with teammates and get a whole slew of useful collaboration features such as; team chats, co-op editing, and so much more.
Not only can Trello help you organize, but it’s also simple to integrate it with any other tool your team might need in order to complete the project at hand effectively. One of the main reasons why this happens to take our number one spot, aside from just the features it offers, is that it has great pricing for a project management tool. Of course, there are paid-for plans that larger teams might need, but even in that case, it’s pretty affordable.
Jira is a collaboration tool created specifically with dedicated software developers in mind. Like many other tools such as Smartsheet, Jira allows you to plan tasks by assigning them to your team. But, it also offers quite a few additional benefits that aid developers specifically. You can use it to keep an eye out for active sprints and sort your projects by stage of development. A special tab is included where you’ll be able to see all of the software you’re working on as well as track their release dates and completion rate.
Since the team behind this software is well aware of the fact that every team has a unique way of shipping software, they’ve included a few pre-made workflow “templates” as well as the possibility to import your own. By using Jira, you’ll be able to ship software faster and connect the entire workflow to an existing roadmap. There are even separate code repositories that come with the tool, so you’ll never lose track of anything, nor will a line of code get left unchecked.
The Basic version is also completely free, but it does limit you to ten users and lacks some of the features that can make it a perfect choice for your business. However, when things add up, even the paid-for plans will not cost you an arm and a leg.
GitHub is open-source software that really needs no introduction. Next to Trello, it’s probably one of the most well-known collaboration tools for developers. With GitHub, teams can quickly add co-authors to a commit, as well as undo accidental ones, and see who attributed what to every part of the software being developed. There are dedicated dashboards where you can see every open pull request, even if they’re from upstream branches or forks as if they were part of a local branch. Pretty neat, huh?
One of the newest additions to GitHub is the syntax highlight. This feature allows your team to highlight when viewing diffs, and it works on various programming languages as well. Aside from just these options, GitHub also sports a variety of other useful features such as the ability to automatically update vulnerabilities, shell integrations, expanded image diff support, and many others.
Considering the fact that GitHub is open-source software, it might lack some premium collaboration features other tools offer. But, since it was built primarily for developers, it also has some features no other tool can offer. In addition, it is constantly being upgraded, so whatever it may lack now, it’ll probably have in the future.
The fourth tool on our list is Confluence, and it comes from the same minds that gave us both Trello and Jira, so there’s no doubt in our minds that this will be the perfect tool for many teams out there. The basic interface is intuitive and allows the users to truly harness the power of their teams by gathering their knowledge into one place and creating a board of easy-to-find answers anyone can access. Using it, creating meetings and roadmaps becomes simpler than ever, as it can all be done via a few clicks only.
Confluence is really versatile and has pre-made templates for project management, strategic planning, and productivity. This tool works hard, so you don’t have to. By eliminating all the tedious small tasks you’d normally have to do yourself, you’ll save time and be able to spend it elsewhere – presumably creating software.
Workaholics that just can’t seem to get their minds off their work will also be happy to know that Confluence offers a mobile version, so there’s a way to still remain active and collaborate with your team even on the go. Integration with other tools is also no problem if you opt for this software. There are plenty of ready-available ones such as Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, Trello, etc.
While these tools are the best, in our opinion, there are plenty of others that can make work for a development team more manageable, but they are smaller in scale and are not all-rounders.
We still think they’re great for what they do, but as far as complete collaboration goes, they should be used in conjunction with another tool.
Google Suite – This tools offers quite a few handy features for professionals working in teams and can help you create a more efficient, well-managed workflow. It’s easy to connect it with other Google tools you’re probably already using, and it offers some great security options.
RingCentral – RingCentral is primarily a well-rounded communication tool, but integrating it with a tool like Trello can truly turn it into a full-fledged collaboration platform.
Bitbucket – Bitbucket is a bit smaller in scale, and its main task is to make collaboration easier when working on source code. While rather handy, it’s probably best used in conjunction with other tools like Jira.
Working with a team is always easier when planned properly and with the right tools in place. No matter how good at their jobs your team might be, if you’re working in a constant state of chaos, chances are things aren’t going to get done on time. That’s why it’s essential to choose a good collaboration tool; that way, you can get your products out on time, and everyone can work with a sound mind knowing exactly what they have to do and when they have to do it.