Team & Project Management Tools for Engineering Managers of Software Companies
One of the biggest challenges that faces any software development company is how to best manage the developers, engineers, requirements, code base, scope of work and even budget. It is easy to lose sight of these important factors while you’re developing the next greatest widget. Doing so, however, can cost your company money and even future work. It is key to find the right software development tools for your team.
When researching, the first factor to consider is the type of software product development you do. Are you an app company that focuses on mobile? Do you develop tools for Government customers and worry about legal? Or maybe you develop custom IT solutions for small businesses. Regardless of what you develop, you need the tool that meets your company’s critical needs.
Choice of programming languages at times make you decide against or for tools used for creating software, like IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) – .NET may be best coded using Microsoft Visual Studio, PHP / PERL / Python / Java have their own flares of specific generic IDE. One of such widely used IDE is Eclipse.
Another consideration is your team size. Do you manage a small handful of engineers who all work together? Or does your team number in the hundreds across multiple work sites, maybe even multiple countries? Project management, tracking and transparency to stakeholders is the key to success for any project. The space of project management, collaboration tools has been exploding in past few years. We have options like Assembla, Trello, Jira, Basecamp, Asana, Git and many more such names all used by different teams for their own version of needs.
Beyond just your team’s size, your infrastructure is key. Do you have physical servers on which you maintain your code base? Or do you develop in the cloud? This answer will be absolutely critical to choosing the right tools for your team. The infrastructure on cloud has its own options of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google, where one can host their code base and applications for production. Managing these instances or physical servers is also getting largely automated with tools like Chef.
While cost is always a factor when looking at software development tools, be cautious that it doesn’t become your deciding factor. As with all IT solutions, the most inexpensive software management tool may not be the right fit. Almost always, the cheapest options have fewer features; while this may seem to be the right fit for your team now, always look towards future growth. As your team expands and diversifies, you do not want to have to purchase another software management tool. This is an easy way to waste your money and is best described by the old saying, penny wise and pound foolish.
Don’t shortchange your software development company by choosing the wrong development tool. Whether you are looking at Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), Source Control Management (SCM) systems, unit testing frameworks, integration build tools, or Continuous Integration (CI) servers, you can find the right option for your team and project after deeper assessment and evaluating your needs in terms of size, criticality and scalability.