A man is only as good as his tools.”
It’s a very old quote that continues to ring true today.
Just as a painter cannot create a masterpiece without a good brush, a development team will fail to create a winning mobile app without the right software platforms.
That’s why investing in the proper
tools to improve your development team’s productivity is vital.
Here are ten must-haves.
Confluence is a remote-friendly collaboration tool that allows team members to share information easily with each other.
It does this by pooling the project’s resources into one convenient location.
Think of it as having an internal wiki for your project. You can include any relevant data in Confluence, such as minutes of meetings, project updates, how-tos, and coding standards.
One of the biggest benefits of Confluence is that it helps keep everyone in the team up to date, even if they’re physically not in the same room.
It’s also a fantastic way to quickly onboard new team members into the project.
It’s quite a flexible tool that adjusts to how you use it, which is why we use it extensively at DECODE.
One of our favorite features of Confluence is its wide range of productivity templates.
It allows you to set up a myriad of documents and knowledge assets with just one click, including meeting notes and to-do lists.
It even has templates for more specialized needs like 5 Whys Analysis, ITSM incident reviews, and dependency mapping.
Confluence offers a free plan, but that option can only support up to ten users. Paid plans, on the other hand, start at $57 per month and can support up to 35,000 users per site.
GitClear is a developer-friendly analytics tool with a specific function—it reviews the developers’ code and quantifies it into metrics.
Development teams can then use that data to optimize their output.
The tool can identify lines of code that are added, deleted, moved, updated, replaced, or copied.
Through these actions, the platform provides a quantified assessment of a developer’s performance.
For instance, it can compare how well a new hire performs compared to past employees. It can also identify top performers on the team, as well as members who need more help.
The main advantage of GitClear is that it helps you manage your developers better. It also helps you quantify performance to assess developers and problems with evidence.
Also, GitClear allows you to check on a developer’s progress without having to disturb them by asking. You can do this via the platform’s Commit Activity Browser.
GitClear offers a free plan, but it is limited to smaller, personal projects. The cheapest paid plan costs $9 per month per contributor.
Jira is a popular project management tool that’s made specifically for Agile software development teams.
It’s especially useful because it includes developer-specific features like bug tracking and sprint sessions.
At the heart of Jira is its Agile board, which allows dev teams to view their workflow and get an idea of the tasks other members are working on.
It supports both Scrum and Kanban models for the best flexibility.
Because DECODE champions the Agile methodology, Jira is the perfect platform for us.
Jira is also exceptionally adaptable because you can extend its functionality with 3,000+ integrations. For instance, you can connect Jira with various functionalities in Confluence.
You can also automate various functions in Jira without delving into code. You can build your automation simply by dragging and dropping components around.
Jira also has excellent testing management capabilities. You can consolidate all testing assets, such as test scripts, schedules, and defect tracking, into Jira.
This saves you the time and effort of having to do each task on separate platforms.
Because Atlassian is also behind Jira, the pricing structure is similar to Confluence.
There’s a free plan supporting the first ten users, whereas paid options start at $77.50 per month and can support up to 35,000 users.
Lightrun touts itself as a developer observability tool. At its core, it enables developers to gather data from a live application without writing extra code.
A common practice is inserting lines in a code that prints out diagnostics information while the application runs.
Doing this takes time, doesn’t contribute to the final product, and could make the code messy.
Lightrun eliminates this need by extracting the necessary information in real time without modifying the code. Developers don’t need to re-compile or stop a running application to do this.
This makes Lightrun a powerful debugging tool for an app already in production.
For instance, if users report an error in your app, developers can use Lightrun to pinpoint the possible cause—while the app remains live the entire time.
Lightrun offers a free plan that limits you to only three developers and three running SDKs. Otherwise, it costs $120 per month for up to 25 developers.
Shake is a comprehensive bug and crash-reporting solution proudly made by DECODE developers.
The platform is, in essence, a bug collection platform. It allows users to shake their phones when they encounter a bug in your app—hence the name.
The idea is to make submitting error reports easy, so developers don’t need to spend as much time looking for them.
All reports are sent to a dashboard so the dev team can review them easily.
Each report also contains over 70 metrics to facilitate debugging, such as the phone’s orientation when the bug was reported.
Users can report errors via Shake even when they’re offline. This is vital for capturing app errors caused by the lack of Internet connectivity.
The tool also has a screen capture capability for more detailed reports.
Shake works well for both iOS and Android. It also supports integrations to developer tools like Jira, Asana, and Azure DevOps.
Slack is perhaps the most popular team communication and collaboration platform. It’s also DECODE’s primary tool for keeping in touch with clients and internal team members.
The best thing about Slack is that it enables you to communicate the way you want. You can talk to someone one-on-one via direct chat or discuss matters as a team via the channels feature.
Slack is also fun and intuitive to use. It features AI chatbots that can interact with human speakers naturally and engagingly.
But the biggest advantage of Slack is that it enables integration with almost every developer tool and platform you can think of. This is a huge productivity booster and time saver.
For example, you can connect Slack to the project management tool Trello. This allows participants to view and edit Trello boards directly without leaving Slack.
Slack is free, which is usually enough to get the most out of the platform’s basic functionality. Paid plans (starting at $7.25 per month) offer more advanced features and integrations.
Tabnine is an AI assistant that helps developers code faster with automatic code completion.
Think of it as the autocorrection and autocomplete function that kicks in whenever you type something on your phone, but for code.
The platform works in the background, constantly evaluating the context and syntax of your code.
Based on this observation and the information gathered from similar open-source code, it predicts the next lines of code or entire functions.
Below is a screenshot of Tabnine in action, with the suggested code highlighted in purple.
Tabnine can dramatically speed up your developers’ workflow by handling the mundane parts of the code for them. It enables your team to focus on more demanding tasks.
The platform is compatible with all programming languages, including the more obscure ones like Go and Bash.
You can try out Tabnine for free, but you’re only limited to one user and short code completions. Paid plans start at $12 per month.
Timely is an automatic time-tracking tool that logs the time your team members spend on various activities, such as coding, sending emails, or attending meetings. It can also capture time spent on specific applications.
According to Timely, using the tool helps reduce time-tracking admin work by 75%. This makes sense because Timely eliminates the need to log into a timesheet manually.
Plus, automation makes the process more transparent and honest.
Timely is useful for developers for billing clients (using the
time and materials model), as it gives an accurate picture of the actual time spent on the project.
Timely is also an excellent diagnostic tool that helps you measure your team’s productivity level.
You can identify where members waste the most time, so you can cut back on those aspects of their workday and improve overall productivity.
You can also use Timely to compare your projected timeline with the actual time spent by your team.
This can help you refine your estimation, leading to more accurate schedules in the future.
The Starter plan for Timely is priced at $9 per user per month, which limits you to 50 projects and three teams.
An upgrade to the Premium plan (at $16 per user per month) removes these limitations.
Trello is a project management platform that works similarly to others like Asana or Jira. But what sets it apart is its simplicity.
Trello uses a Kanban approach for organizing tasks. Tasks are contained in cards, which are categorized into boards. Users can easily move cards around as tasks are completed.
It’s all very straightforward, which makes managing projects simple with Trello.
At DECODE, we primarily use Trello as a task management tool. It excels in this purpose because it’s so simple to use.
Trello has a free plan, which gives you unlimited cards and ten boards to work with. In our view, it’s enough for most purposes.
However, the drawback is that the free version is ill-equipped for larger, more complex projects.
It doesn’t have automation, detailed timelines, or access control.
The last one is particularly notable because it means that any user in the free Trello version has the power to add and remove anything, so you need to be careful.
The Premium plan costs $10 per user per month, but it includes timelines, as well as admin and security features, so it’s much more suitable for larger teams.
Tuple is a pair programming app that allows two developers to work on the same code remotely and in real time.
It can be initiated with a single click, eliminating the need for time-consuming setups.
Unlike remote control tools, both parties have access to their mouse and keyboard at all times. This delivers true collaboration.
In addition, Tuple also supports asynchronous pairing. Either party can work on the code at their convenience.
Tuple is a fantastic option if you have an in-house and external team that needs to work together.
You can, for instance, have a senior developer in your team coach a new hire on the other team seamlessly.
The cheapest plan for Tuple costs $30 per month per user. But what’s great about it is that you can connect to any external collaborator, even non-paying Tuple users.
A tool is only as good as the team using it
This article discussed ten of the most powerful software platforms to jumpstart your productivity. But even the most useful tool won’t give results if put into the wrong hands.
That’s why investing in the right software development team is just as important. You’ll want a team with the right work ethics, communication protocols, and development experience.
And we think DECODE fits that bill!
So, if you want a capable team to handle your next app project, schedule a call with us today!