In recent years, remote work has become increasingly popular, transforming the way companies operate across various industries. Software companies, in particular, have embraced this shift, allowing teams to collaborate and deliver outstanding results from the comfort of their homes.
At DeltaXML, we’ve adapted to the changes brought about by the pandemic. We now follow a hybrid working model, combining remote work with occasional in-person collaboration. To overcome the challenge of physical distance, we have designated office days every two weeks. These days strike a balance between remote work and in-person collaboration, fostering unity among our team. Additionally, we organise “Company Get Togethers” at the end of each quarter, engaging in fun activities like axe throwing, park picnics, and escape rooms. These events strengthen our connections and keep us united as a team. We believe that creating shared experiences and maintaining a supportive environment is crucial for our success.
Nevertheless, to ensure smooth remote operations during times when our team members are not physically together, it’s important to equip your software company with the right tools. Let’s dive into exploring these tools and their benefits for remote work.
Version control systems
Version control systems like Git are a lifeline for software companies. They allow developers to work collaboratively on code, manage revisions, and merge changes seamlessly. Tools like GitHub and GitLab provide an intuitive interface for remote teams to track code changes, review each other’s work, and maintain a centralised code repository. Some of the benefits of using version control systems for remote collaboration are:
- Parallel Collaboration: Version control systems allow developers to work simultaneously on the same codebase without interfering with each other’s changes. Each developer can create their own branch, work on their assigned tasks, and merge the changes back into the main codebase when ready. This parallel workflow ensures that team members can progress independently, improving productivity and reducing dependencies on others.
- Clear Change Separation: With version control systems, every change made to the codebase is tracked and recorded. Each modification is associated with a specific commit, providing a clear separation between different changes. This level of granularity makes it easy to identify and understand each individual modification, enabling efficient troubleshooting and the ability to roll back changes if necessary.
- Easy Merging and Collaboration: Version control systems simplify the process of merging changes. Developers can easily graft their changes onto each other’s local copies, facilitating collaboration and enabling the seamless integration of different contributions. This streamlined merging process helps maintain code coherence and ensures that the latest updates from multiple team members are efficiently incorporated into the project.
By leveraging version control systems like Git, software companies can enhance collaboration among remote teams, effectively manage code revisions, and maintain a well-structured codebase. The ability to work in parallel, separate changes clearly, and merge contributions effortlessly contribute to improved productivity and code quality.
Communication and Collaboration Tools
Efficient communication lies at the core of successful remote work. Leveraging tools like Microsoft Teams, or Zoom allows teams to connect instantly, share ideas, and collaborate seamlessly. These platforms offer features like chat channels, video conferencing, screen sharing, and document collaboration, fostering real-time communication and reducing communication gaps. Many found the adjusting period to these platforms strange to begin with, but fast forwarding a little, many of our employees find these forms of communication as effective as ever.
Virtual Meeting and Webinar Tools
Hosting virtual meetings, webinars, or client presentations is a routine for remote software companies. Platforms like GoToMeeting, Webex, or Zoom Webinars offer robust features to conduct virtual gatherings with ease. These tools provide options for screen sharing, Q&A sessions, recording sessions, and even integration with other collaboration tools.
Code Review and Collaboration Tools
Code review plays a crucial role in the software development process, ensuring code quality and facilitating collaboration among team members. Various tools, such as Crucible, Phabricator, and GitHub’s pull request feature, streamline the code review process even in remote settings. These tools enable developers to leave comments, suggest changes, and engage in discussions about code improvements, fostering a culture of collaboration and delivering high-quality code. At DeltaXML, we specifically utilise Bitbucket for code review. We leverage Bitbucket’s pull request feature to visualise the changes made as part of the associated JIRA issue or task. Our code review process involves several important steps:
- Visualising Changes: Using Bitbucket pull requests, we can easily visualise the specific code modifications associated with a particular JIRA issue or task. This provides a clear overview of the changes made, allowing team members to review the code efficiently.
- Evaluating Code Execution: We go beyond visual inspection and also run the code to ensure that the changes perform as expected. By executing the code, we can identify any potential issues or bugs, allowing for quick resolution and maintaining code reliability.
- Assessing Efficiency: In addition to functionality, we pay attention to the efficiency of the code changes. We verify that the alterations made represent the smallest necessary subset required to achieve the desired end result. This practice helps prevent unnecessary complexity or performance degradation in the codebase.
By employing Bitbucket pull requests for code review, we optimise our development process, ensuring that changes are thoroughly examined and meeting the required criteria. This meticulous approach not only enhances the quality of our code but also promotes effective collaboration among our team members.
Project Management Tools
Remote software teams greatly benefit from utilising project management tools like Asana, Jira, or Trello. These tools offer a range of features that enable teams to effectively organise tasks, track progress, and set deadlines. With functionalities such as task assignment, file sharing, and progress visualisation, project management tools promote alignment, transparency, and ensure timely project completion. At DeltaXML, while our development team utilises the Atlassian suite of software for project management, our marketing department leverages Zoho’s project management software to effectively manage projects and drive successful outcomes for upcoming launches and promotions
The use of project management tools in remote software teams is essential for maintaining organisation and structure. These tools allow teams to create and assign tasks, ensuring that responsibilities are clearly defined and allocated. By having a centralised platform, team members can easily access and update task statuses, keeping everyone informed about progress and upcoming deadlines.
In addition to task management, project management tools provide features like file sharing and collaboration, facilitating seamless communication among team members. Files, documents, and relevant resources can be shared within the platform, eliminating the need for multiple communication channels. This centralised approach streamlines collaboration, ensures that everyone has access to the required information, and minimises the risk of miscommunication or information loss.
Moreover, project management tools offer progress visualisation features that enable teams to track the status of individual tasks and overall project milestones. This visual representation enhances transparency, allowing stakeholders to have a clear understanding of project progress at any given time. Project managers can quickly identify bottlenecks or areas that require attention, enabling them to take proactive measures to keep projects on track.
Cloud-based Storage and File Sharing
With remote work, the need for secure and accessible file storage is paramount. Cloud-based storage platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive offer reliable and centralised storage solutions. These platforms ensure that team members can access and share files effortlessly, fostering collaboration while maintaining data security.
Security is vital in any work environment, however working remotely, extra procedures need to take place. Regular security training courses should be given to the entire team for extra precaution, as it’s vital for staff to know how to protect their work and the company from cyber attacks and security breaches.
The ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity threats demands ongoing education and awareness. Regular security training courses help keep the team informed about the latest threats, attack techniques, and best practices for maintaining a secure work environment. By staying up-to-date with the latest security trends, team members can proactively identify potential risks and take necessary precautions to safeguard sensitive data and intellectual property.
Through security training courses, staff members learn how to recognise phishing attempts, avoid suspicious links or attachments, and maintain strong password hygiene. They gain insights into the importance of secure network connections, utilising firewalls and antivirus software, and practicing safe file sharing and data storage practices. By arming team members with this knowledge, organisations can strengthen their overall security posture and minimise the likelihood of successful cyber attacks.
As remote work continues to shape the future of software companies, having the right tools in place becomes imperative for success. By leveraging communication and collaboration tools, project management platforms, version control systems, virtual meeting solutions, cloud-based storage, code review tools, and productivity trackers, your software company can overcome distance barriers and foster a cohesive and productive remote work environment.
Additionally, XML and JSON markup languages support remote working processes in various ways. They facilitate data exchange and communication between remote teams, serve as formats for API integration, enable documentation and configuration of software systems, aid in automated testing and test data generation, and assist in logging and error handling. If you’re needing to support your remote working processes by facilitating seamless data exchange, improving collaboration, and boosting productivity, consider exploring our XML and JSON Comparison solutions.