When you’re in a rat race to develop the next big software program, productivity is essential. But how do you keep your team working quickly and efficiently? There are some great tools out there that can help employees noticeably boost productivity.
Many aspects of the workplace, both physical and virtual, affect productivity. Smooth communication and collaboration are a vital part of being productive. Being organized and steadily moving through tasks can also be extremely helpful.
These tools can be used to improve the way your team works individually or together. They can provide the means to smoothly move through both the workday and entire projects. By being intuitive and efficient, these tools can greatly increase the productivity of your team.
Video conferencing tools are perfect for effective communication. They allow users to read body language and faces for more meaningful interactions than phone or email. It also creates a means to conduct virtual meetings when software engineering teams can’t be face to face.
Programs that allow for screen sharing can be especially helpful. This can allow engineers to view each other’s work and collaborate. A clear agenda can make video conferencing meetings more efficient and productive.
Video conferencing tools give a lot of freedom to your development team. They can help you:
It is possible to use phone calls for some of the work, but the important human element is often gone when this is used. Video conferencing helps your team see one another face to face, helps them get the work done in real-time, and ask questions no matter where in the world they are located.
Zoom is one of the big names in video conferencing, but not the only one. Depending on the work your development team needs to get done, another option may work better. GoToMeeting is a great choice if you need the team to work together on a project, for example.
A quality cloud tool is essential for collaboration and cooperation. Having engineers share information on a centralized hub increases productivity. Plus, it allows employees to work from home or any remote location that they feel the most productive.
Look for cloud-based programs that feature strong safety and security. Protecting your data and programming is key. Make sure to encourage employees to regularly back up and data stored on their hard drives to the cloud to prevent loss of valuable information.
Cloud collaboration is one of the best innovations for teams that can’t be in the same room or work on a project at the same time. It also limits email attachments, saving time and preventing information from getting lost.
Users can see updates from others along the way, leave notes, and make changes in real time. The process starts with one user creating a document or a file of their choice. They then allow other members of the team to gain access.
Every person on the team with access can make changes to the document. When changes are done, they can save and sync, allowing each person to see what is happening at the same time.
If the team members are in different locations and have to work on different time zones, cloud collaboration can allow them to get things done. No more planning meetings at the same time or constant time wasted. All the work can be done when convenient for the employee.
When using a cloud collaboration software, choose one that can be used in different locations, one that has unlimited access points (so everyone can join in if necessary), and one for a good price. Consider the security features to help when making a decision.
A good task organization tool is perfect for keeping everyone on the same page. By assigning tasks to different team members, it helps keep everyone accountable. It also helps to communicate due dates.
When choosing a task organization tool, you need it to perform different functions for you. These include:
Everyone on the team should be able to access the task and see what needs to be done. They should also have permission to move tasks from “to do” over to “completed” as they get done to ensure everyone knows where the project lands.
Look for a tool that allows you to organize tasks into groups or teams. Transferring tasks as they move through different steps of your engineering teams allows you to see the points where productivity can be improved. It’s helpful to be able to prioritize tasks and monitor them as they are being completed.
A highly functioning chat tool can also keep the lines of communication open. It can help groups communicate more quickly than email. A question or comment can easily be responded to in real-time.
Chat tools that let you create groups by function or by sub-teams are especially helpful. It allows for collaboration without creating needless chatter for the others on the team. This more effective communication can make your team much more productive.
These chat sessions must be secure. Your employees may need to share information back and forth with one another that is sensitive, whether for the customer or for the business. Check into the security of these chat sessions first.
Consider when the chat sessions should be in use and set up limits. If the chat sessions are ringing all the time, it can be distracting to the development team. With certain hours set aside for the chat, this will not be a problem.
Continuous delivery and continuous integration software is a game-changer for software engineers. Often referred to as CICD, it can cause productivity to skyrocket. It also helps create higher quality, error-free software.
The tool monitors and tests changed in code. It allows engineers to work to develop more quickly and creatively. By constantly testing, the timeline for deployment is shortened dramatically.
CI/CD can help improve efficiency because it allows for more automation. The program can automatically check code, implement certain tasks, and get the work done for you. This frees up a lot of resources for the development team, allowing them to focus more on the important things during the day.
Scheduling a meeting between several busy engineers can be a nightmare. Finding a time that works for everyone can be nearly impossible. With a shared calendar and scheduling tools, finding an ideal time can be much easier.
Look for a tool that allows employees to set busy or away times when they aren’t available. Features that schedule meetings, invite attendees, and automatically send reminders are super helpful. Some even allow you to conduct virtual meetings right in the program.
Employees can have their own personal calendar, but one that is shared between the group will allow others to know what is happening and when a particular employee may be busy or available during the workday.
Google Calendar is a good option to use that is free for your business. Microsoft Outlook has a good calendar that is easy to share from anywhere as well.
When a great idea pops into your head, it’s essential to get it down so you don’t forget it. Scrambling for a piece of paper can be a frustrating waste of time. A convenient note-taking tool can allow you to record that idea safely.
Tools that help you organize your ideas are perfect. Features that allow you to jot down a to-do list can help move productively throughout the day. Saving important websites and photos of ideas in one convenient place allows you to organize your thoughts efficiently.
Allow your employees to decide which app they would like to use. It is easy to feel excited about one product over another, but each person takes notes their own way and another employee may dislike the setup that you choose.
Something as simple as Sticky Notes or a similar app can work well on your computer. When something important creeps into your mind, you can write it down and move onto the next thing without it disrupting the work.
Some of your team members may like to write information out long hand. This helps them retain the information longer and can be more convenient too. Give your team some freedom to choose what works for them.
Do you and your team often wonder where the day goes? A time tracking program can help you analyze where the bulk of your time is spent. It can also help you work towards more efficiency in those areas.
By tracking your program usage, time-tracking tools can tell you how much of the day is actually spent being productive. It will help visualize what areas and programs are time drainers. By identifying distractions, engineers can learn to refocus and gain precious productive time.
When you can optimize your daily schedule, you will get a compound return on your time. You will be able to focus more intensely and get things done fast and efficiently.
With the right time tracking software, your team can learn how they spend most of their time. This isn’t so you can micro-manage them. It is more about helping open their eyes to time-wasters that take away productivity.
When we know what sucks out our time, we can eliminate them and focus on the work. Your team can make this a goal for one or two weeks after using the time tracker, and learn how quickly projects can get done.
Not only will these help your development team get more done, it can help them work less. It is amazing how much time we waste each day. With a good time tracker like TMetric or Toggl, you can keep track of this.
Have you found yourself taking a quick break in the day that leads to hours of scrolling on social media? Did the quick online order turn into an entirely too long browsing session? A distraction blocking app can help eliminate the temptations that can kill productivity.
These tools allow you to block certain programs and apps during working hours. They can even deny your access to certain websites and games. A distraction blocking tool is helpful to keep your mind on efficient engineering.
Distractions can quickly get in the way of completing work. Even five minutes on social media an hour can quickly turn into 40 minutes wasted by the end of the day (and we all know we waste more than five minutes when we get on).
When we eliminate distractions, it is easier to focus on our work, get things done faster, and even get in the groove of completing the work. Overall, you will find that by blocking your distractions by turning off social media and your phone, you can get more work done in a shorter amount of time.
Not taking regular breaks destroys productivity levels. Adding physical activity and mental breaks throughout the day can help workers be more alert and efficient. An app that reminds your team to take a break can be super helpful.
Many of these apps encourage you to stand up and take a break from your desk at pre-scheduled intervals. Some even remind you to drink water or rest your eyes. Programs that direct you to stretch or go on a walk can prevent fatigue from long hours spent engineering.
Several time management techniques, including the Pomodoro Method, allow you to focus on getting work done during regular intervals with breaks in between. It helps give the right balance.
Too many breaks during the day and you will not get any done. Too few breaks during the day and your brain will burn out and your productivity disappears.
With a good balance between including spurts of hard work and then scheduled breaks, you can actually get things done. You will work hardcore for those work periods, knowing that you will get a break to recharge soon.
By spending less time communicating and scheduling, your team can focus on engineering. Distractions can be eliminated and refreshing breaks can be added. Plus, the whole team will be more organized and working towards a common goal.
Your team will be more efficient and less stressed with the right combination of tools. This technology can make your engineers more efficient and make the workplace more enjoyable. You’ll be surprised at just how amazingly productive your team can be.
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