Nowadays software development process involves whole teams of engineers, managers with different responsibilities but with one common aim. As it seems challengable to set up 100% in-house team more and more companies reasonably implement outstaffing model that lets expand in-house development team with remote developers. In this regard our customers ask a quite obvious questions: “ How is communication flow is organized?”, “How do I know that my remote developers devote their work time to our projects?”, “What kind of software development project management tools should I use?”.
Fortunately, global digitalization did not pass by this issue and solid number of PM tools appeared to assist us.
Today I am going to interview my colleague Andrew Pliushov, experienced Project Manager, and figure out what modern tools he utilizes to adjust effective communication flow with his team during the development process.
Actually I started my carrier as a Node.js developer. But I always knew that I have organizational abilities, good communication skills and decided to change direction and contribute in a new role.
Different software development models presuppose different approaches in my work. In general, I analyze the scope of work, distribute them between developers, control how they perform. Moreover, during the software development process I communicate with our customers, developers, get feedback from them, trying to prevent issues on the project and promptly solve them.
Talking about software tools that are used for communication and tracking, I would like to divide them into 2 big groups depending on the purpose of use.
The first group is communication tools that provide us with prompt information exchange.
The second one is agile development tracking tools that allow me as a Project Manager to control how developers perform their tasks.
Sure. I refer to the first group such communication tools as Slack, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft teams, Hangouts.
In our company we mostly use Slack for internal communication. This application is free and flexible for instant messages exchange. Slack was made to help team members chat and collaborate. Many companies like Airbnb, Ebay, Hubspot, etc. have integrated Slack into their internal communication systems.
Skype, Zoom, and Hangouts we use for video conferences with our customers. Actually this list could be wider but I mentioned the most popular and easy to use apps. You can install these tools on your desktop, smartphone or tab or you can use the web version without need to install it.
I have used such programs as Trello, Asana, Redmine, Jira. In reality, there are more similar programs and everyone can choose more preferable.
Mainly these tools provide users with an interface where you can create and name tables, assign tasks to the developers with description, share information about tasks, set up deadlines and control timing and stage of performance. It looks like you move from left side to right when a task passes different stages: to do — in progress — ready — for test — done.
What kind of tool to use depends on the project. If it is a small or average project I recommend to use Trello or Asana. You get access to the main list of features for free and can easily run your team and track their performance. Registration takes just a couple of minutes and you shouldn’t be a genius to start with a simple and understandable interface. Mainly you must know what you need to achieve and do some simple adjustments.
Redmine is an interesting tool because you can use it for both small and big projects. I managed to use it for a big one. It also offers free functionality and in case you need more features it is possible to get with a paid version.
On the top for me is Jira. It can be used not only for tracking the development process but also for requirements management, risk management, recruitment process automation and so on. For integration with external systems, it is compatible with SOAP, XML-RPC and REST interfaces. This tool is paid but it provides features for tasks with different complexity level. You can create customized tables, reports, and tracking adjustments.
Almost all state-of-the-art tools have mobile integration with Android/iOS. Only Redmine doesn’t allow this.
Well, I hope my answers will extend your vision and help you in choosing project management software.
At least you can always get an experienced and passionate PM in your team (laughing).
Artem Litvinov is presently working as Customer Success Manager with TrendLine Global. Artem is one who is passionate about helping people materialize their IT ideas into real valuable solutions.