Despite the huge growth in businesses embracing home working, collaboration remains a key challenge for remote teams. The right tools, however, can help engineers overcome most difficulties. Choosing the right combination for your team and organizational goals can seem like a daunting task – to help you get a big picture view, we’ve outlined the top pick of collaboration tools for developer teams below.
What are project collaboration tools?
Remote working comes with a specific set of challenges for developers that require finding the correct tools to overcome. But even for teams working in the same room at all times, using a variety of software to maximize collaboration is essential to success. These tools should combine to help the team increase velocity, manage projects and automate processes wherever possible, whilst maintaining open communication, continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD), and a measure of wellbeing data.
There’s a wide variety of tools in different shapes and versions, from Git repositories like GitLab and GitHub to project management tools including Trello. Check out some of the top picks for collaboration software below!
Top seven developer collaboration tools:
We’ve pulled our list of the top tools from the results of Stack Overflow’s 2020 Developer Survey
, which asked almost 65,000 developers to report on behaviors including their favorite collaboration tools. We’ve summed up the top seven below.
The beloved giant of developer software, GitHub topped the Stack Overflow survey with just over 82% of respondents using the Git repository. A Git repository is usually at the center of a developer team’s workflow, and a cloud based repository can be essential for team success, allowing for collaborative, simultaneous work across projects.
Along with recording version history, deploying updates and storing project files and documentation, many repositories have grown beyond the basics to offer extra functions. One of GitHub’s main draws is its customizable nature, with a whole marketplace platform of third party software available to integrate to create the perfect project management platform for your team. With an expert community of over 66 million users
, and having been bought by Microsoft for a tidy $7.5 billion in 2018, there’s no sign of GitHub being knocked from the top spot soon.
Remote working might take away the option to shout over the desk to get someone’s attention, but there are plenty of communication tools that are just as good – in fact we’d wager they’re quite a lot better!
is one of the most widely used messaging platforms for work, and with over half of those surveyed using the software, it can clearly be an effective tool for developers. With Slack channels helping to get features delivered 23% faster
, third party integrations enabling a simpler testing process, and the ability to trigger deployments with a simple slash command, there’s a huge amount that Slack can contribute to a remote developer team.
Just under half of the developers surveyed reported using Jira, the project management and issue tracking tool from Atlassian. The Software version is a powerful tool aimed at agile software developers, offering project management tools like change requests, workflows and task management alongside the ability to track bugs, manage test cases, and integrate CI/CD tools. There’s even a template for the software dedicated to DevOps teams, giving your remote team more transparency and opportunities to collaborate throughout the development cycle.
- Google Workspace / G Suite
With over 40% of surveyed developer teams using G Suite (now Google Workspace) as a collaboration tool, it’s no surprise that beneath the surface of the well-known productivity apps is the means to create a full developer platform. Boasting a huge variety of APIs, Languages, frameworks, extensions and add-ons, this is an open platform that allows teams to build their own service aligning with their unique goals and workflow.
Another Git repository often seen as the competition to GitHub, GitLab bills itself as more of a pre-packaged DevOps platform encompassing the entire development cycle than the build-it-yourself nature of GitHub’s marketplace. Alongside the expected Git functions, GitLab empowers teams to measure software delivery performance, manage teams and projects, and deploy code with built in CI/CD tools from the offset, making it an attractive alternative for DevOps teams.
Struggling to spot the difference between GitLab and GitHub? We’ve got you covered in our guide here!
Also developed by Atlassian is this shared online workspace, which can be used to work collaboratively on a multitude of projects with access to a shared network of documentation. Confluence can be used to create, store, edit and share any documents related to specific jobs, with the ability to assign tasks, sync calendars, take advantage of an accelerated feedback loop, and organize separate Workspaces for specific teams as and when you need to. As an online collaboration platform and documentation repository, Confluence can be an invaluable tool for remote development teams, with the option of integrating other software including – no surprise – Jira.
The final collaboration tool in the list – and the third from Atlassian – is Trello, offering yet another alternative tool for project management. The main draw to this Kanban board based software is its ease-of-use, allowing a very visual approach to projects, workflow and task ownership, perfect for a development team juggling a number of assignments.
Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash
Alternative collaboration tools:
Of course there are plenty of alternative collaboration tools you may choose to use in various combinations depending on your team and organization’s unique needs. Discord is a viable communication alternative if higher quality video calls
and free plans are a priority over the integrations and business-centric build of Slack, or perhaps the more flexible, hierarchical structure of Shortcut (formerly Clubhouse) might appeal more than Trello as a project management tool to the Kanban averse.