Working with an offshore development team has many benefits but also presents challenges of collaboration in the context of geographical distance and even of time zone.
With the rise of remote work, productivity and project management tools have also proliferated. These tools are immensely useful, ensuring that you and your team are on the same page when it comes to project deliverables.
Here are five of our recommended productivity tools to smoothen out the bumps of remote collaborative work with your offshore web and software developers.
A visual project management tool, Trello is originally made by Fog Creek Software and recently acquired by Atlassian early this year. Using the kanban system, Trello is a sleek visual system of boards, lists, and cards. It makes project collaboration intuitive, as you can simply drag and drop cards across lists, and to other boards. You can attach files and images, assign members, add checklists, comments, set due dates, and color label the cards. Emojis are also supported, hooray!
A sample Development Board
A sample Agile Board
Features: Real-time collaboration, search functionality, integration with other services such as Slack, JIRA Cloud, GitHub, Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, and more.
Platforms: Available on web, desktop, and mobile
Price: Free for basic version, paid plans start at $9.99 per user/month for Business Class, and $20.83 or less for Enterprise
Made by Atlassian, JIRA is a well-known bug and issue tracker designed for software development teams in mind. But its way more than that. Its extensive features includes support for scrum and kanban boards, agile reporting and roadmap planning, and time tracking.
The agile methodology of development is built into JIRA, with user flexibility and customization as key components. And while it is built for software teams, any industry working with remote teams can find JIRA useful to manage projects with full customizability.
Features: Customizable workflows, dev tool integrations, real-time agile reporting, rich APIs
Platforms: Available on web, desktop, and mobile; with self-hosted and cloud options
Price: Free for 7 days, paid plans starts at $10 per month for up to 10 users, and $7 per user/month for 11-101 users.
Billing itself as a visual project management tool, Targetprocess lets you easily see an overview of your projects and quickly zoom into the most important things. It's a great looking project tracker that uses a powerful visual approach - using graphical reports and dashboards, and visualized project data. Targetprocess enables the visibility of progress across multiple projects and teams, allowing you to make effective actions.
Features: Custom graphical reports, free Service Desk application, integration with more than 60 apps, support for kanban, scrum, and SAFe workflows.
Platforms: Available on web, desktop, mobile, with self-hosted options
Price: Free for the Team version but limited to 1000 entities, paid plan starts at Company Plan for $20 per user/month (annual billing)
A cloud-based set of collaboration tools, Slack at its core is a messaging app. Describing itself as a workspace, it brings all of your team communications in one platform. Features include chat function, file sharing, and powerful search and archiving function.
You can also open multiple channels according to your needs, making it a good platform for community building. Slack also integrates with nearly every enterprise and productivity apps including Google Drive, Dropbox, Jira Cloud, Zendesk, Salesforce, Invision, and more.
Features: Real-time messaging, file sharing, search and archiving function, third party integrations, open API, more than 1000 apps in Slack directory
Platforms: Available on web, desktop, mobile.
Price: Free for an unlimited period of time with limited features, paid plans start at Standard Plan for $6.67 per active user (billed annually).
First released in 2003, Skype changed the telecommunications industry, using VoIP technology to enable video chat and voice calls over the internet. Businesses working with distributed teams worldwide can now hold meetings with videoconferencing calls and work real-time seamlessly.
Features such as instant messaging, file and screen sharing have made Skype the messaging and collaboration tool of choice. With its acquisition by Microsoft and its integration with Microsoft products such as Outlook and Office 365, Skype is developing into a full-fledged productivity tool.
Features: Instant messaging, video chat and conference calls,, voice calls, file sharing, integration with Microsoft Outlook and Office 365
Platforms: Available on web, desktop, and mobile.
Price: Freemium model; Skype credit or subscription is required to call a landline or mobile number.
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