Remote Work Teams – Tools of the Trade

Philosophy PictureI’ve seen an uptick on articles promoting the benefits of remote work over the last week, including this good one from Mike Elgan / CIO Insights.

The acceptance and use of remote workers is becoming more common throughout many industries, especially IT.   Meanwhile, IT Trends such as Agile and DevOps makes the need for successful collaboration even more important. These methods require even MORE effective teamwork, not less.  Since our company is in the business of providing both U.S. and Nearshore IT resources, we are accustomed to seeing the requirements, tools and impacts from remote team collaboration.

I previously blogged on the importance of culture/attitude (seen here), and how the desire from the evolving global workforce is a very important consideration.  But it would be very difficult to successfully collaborate without the emergence of some of the great tools that we now commonly use and I was recently thinking about how they specifically help with our productivity.

So, I asked members of our DEV/QA team what tools they use and like, and I thought it would be interesting to share some of their personal preference and insight:

  • Julian, Senior Dev Lead likes Jira because of its ability to document and organize user stories into team sprints and coordinate break/fix tickets within the sprints. It is also easy to then assign work and manage the remaining effort.
  • Alex, our QA manager likes Trello for small development projects/teams because it is simple and cost friendly. For larger, more complex environments he prefers Confluence for its integrated management of multiple areas of software process from requirements to testing – and especially its smooth integration to Jira.
  • Mauricio, a senior QA/BA likes Invision because of its simplicity to demonstrate the vision for a project across all team functions by allowing the creation of a real prototype with near-complete functionality in a simple way. This allows all client and delivery team participants to more clearly understand and collaborate on the desired end state.
  • Rodolfo, our DevOps engineer likes GitHub and Bit Bucket because of their focus on secure, team collaboration practices, integration friendliness with other devops tools, and enablement of continuous delivery.

And of course, all of the team uses fundamental communication tools such as Skype and JoinMe.

The common denominator of the above is that all of these tools, whether they support Project Management, Quality Assurance, or Software Development, are predicated upon one central principle: They enable an rely on TEAM participation and collaboration.

The combination of a teaming culture with advanced collaboration tools will ensure remote work will continue to grow, whether as part of internal teams or hybrid teams using complementary Nearshore talent.  And, I believe this is even true for team centric movements such as Agile and DevOps.

Feel free to reach out to me if you would like a bit more information on our experience with some of the tools we mentioned above, our folks will be happy to share.

Bob – GlobalNow IT