By Nadayar E., Anthony N., Godson U., and Chidiebere N

As trainers at Andela, we are working with the best and brightest to build the next generation of tech leaders—a whole new breed of remote developers. This means we constantly have the chance to test and review new remote collaboration and productivity technologies as they become available. In our opinion, here are the top tools that you need to empower your own team of remote developers, organized by category.

Communication and Collaboration

#1 Github

Github (1)

What it does — Source-code version control, hosting and collaboration platform.
Why we love it — Github is the most popular source-code hosting platform by all standards, helping to discover and connect with other great developers worldwide. It easily integrates with other services like Slack, Trello, and continuous integration services like TravisCI and Jenkins. Github also doubles up as both a communication and project management tool through its issue-tracking system. You can manage an entire project with remote developers using Github alone or with integrations like ZenHub.
Cost — Free for open-source (non-private) repositories. Private repositories start with a $5/month Bronze plan for 5 repos, including unlimited users.

#2 Slack

Slack

What it does — Slack is a chat-room based communication tool to share messages and documents.
Why we love it — Light-years ahead of traditional email, Slack features very efficient integrations that are perfect for team collaboration. Teams can be organized by communication channels with all messages, notifications and files indexed and searchable. In particular, Slack has robust 3rd-party integrations for version control software like Github and continuous integration tools like TravisCI and Jenkins. These integrations can be set up to notify team members anytime there are important updates to the products and offer team-wide visibility into the distributed/remote team members’ work.
Cost — Free for small teams, but larger groups pay a per-user, per-month charge.

#3 Screenhero

screenhero

What it does — Real-time collaboration and screen sharing.
Why we love it — Recently acquired by Slack, Screenhero is an effective tool for remote Pair Programming, allowing collaborators to talk and control their computers in real-time. It also supports one-to-many collaboration, as more users can be invited to an existing session.

Cost — Screenhero is free for existing users. New signups have been suspended indefinitely, but you can join by invitation from an existing user.

#4 Sqwiggle

sqwiggle

What it does — Video collaboration and virtual workplace.
Why we love it — Simply click on a team member’s snapshot to instantly launch a videoconference. This really enables spontaneous and casual conversations.
Cost — Free for up to 3 users; after that it’s $9-per-user/month.

Project and Task Management

#5 Trello

Trello

What it does — Project and milestone management.
Why we love it — Trello integrates with Slack and features a robust API that developers can start using after only a 5-minute introduction. Using Trello we are able to organize projects using boards, making it easy to see assignments and status. “Cards” can be assigned to team members to see activity and to track milestones, making it very useful in managing development sprints. Trello’s strength is in its simplicity, without the strict structure compared to other alternatives. What this means is that teams can choose to customize it to suit any development workflow.

Cost — Free with additional functionality such as organization administrator controls costing $5-per-user/month.

Remote Development Environment

#6 Cloud9

cloud9

What it does — Cloud9 is a cloud-based development environment to enable coding from any device.
Why we love it — This full Ubuntu development environment enables not only supervision, but also real coding collaboration. It comes out of the box with support for multiple development environments like Python/Django, Ruby/Rails and NodeJS. It works seamlessly with popular Repo hosting services like Github and Bitbucket and in a matter of minutes you can clone a repo to your VM, make modifications on the project and even test on a live shareable .c9.io subdomain.
Cost — A premium account is $19/month.

File Sharing

#7 Dropbox

Dropbox

What it does — Cloud-based file sharing, including documents, photos, videos and presentations
Why we love it — DropBox really works great across multiple devices with drag-and-drop-ease.
Cost — Free up to a pre-defined storage limit. After that, a business account costs $795/yr for a 5-user team with the ability to add users at $125/yr.

#8 Google Drive

Google Drive

What it does — Cloud-based file sharing, including documents, spreadsheets and proposals with real-time editing and collaboration
Why we love it — GoogleDocs adds the ability to edit and add comments, with multiple users in the document at the same time.
Cost — Google Apps for business, which includes Google Docs, is $5 per-user/month or $50 per-user/yr.

Time to Get Started

We are constantly amazed at how remote developers work as though they’re right with the client in the office — engaging, contributing and leading far past simple requirements or initial expectations. The key is to support these stellar performers with the right tools to maximize their collaboration. At a minimum, we feel that you should be working with Github, Slack, Trello, and ScreenHero as the opening package to strengthen relationships and realize the most value from your team of remote developers.

Interested in building a team with remote developers? Get in touch!

featured_image
About the Author

Solomon Osadolo

Storyteller @ Andela. Dilettante. Techie. Retired Superhero.

More Insights

April 6, 2016

8 Tools You Need to Work with Remote Developers (and why we love them)

Solomon Osadolo

By Nadayar E., Anthony N., Godson U., and Chidiebere N

As trainers at Andela, we are working with the best and brightest to build the next generation of tech leaders—a whole new breed of remote developers. This means we constantly have the chance to test and review new remote collaboration and productivity technologies as they become available. In our opinion, here are the top tools that you need to empower your own team of remote developers, organized by category.

Communication and Collaboration

#1 Github

Github (1)

What it does — Source-code version control, hosting and collaboration platform.
Why we love it — Github is the most popular source-code hosting platform by all standards, helping to discover and connect with other great developers worldwide. It easily integrates with other services like Slack, Trello, and continuous integration services like TravisCI and Jenkins. Github also doubles up as both a communication and project management tool through its issue-tracking system. You can manage an entire project with remote developers using Github alone or with integrations like ZenHub.
Cost — Free for open-source (non-private) repositories. Private repositories start with a $5/month Bronze plan for 5 repos, including unlimited users.

#2 Slack

Slack

What it does — Slack is a chat-room based communication tool to share messages and documents.
Why we love it — Light-years ahead of traditional email, Slack features very efficient integrations that are perfect for team collaboration. Teams can be organized by communication channels with all messages, notifications and files indexed and searchable. In particular, Slack has robust 3rd-party integrations for version control software like Github and continuous integration tools like TravisCI and Jenkins. These integrations can be set up to notify team members anytime there are important updates to the products and offer team-wide visibility into the distributed/remote team members’ work.
Cost — Free for small teams, but larger groups pay a per-user, per-month charge.

#3 Screenhero

screenhero

What it does — Real-time collaboration and screen sharing.
Why we love it — Recently acquired by Slack, Screenhero is an effective tool for remote Pair Programming, allowing collaborators to talk and control their computers in real-time. It also supports one-to-many collaboration, as more users can be invited to an existing session.

Cost — Screenhero is free for existing users. New signups have been suspended indefinitely, but you can join by invitation from an existing user.

#4 Sqwiggle

sqwiggle

What it does — Video collaboration and virtual workplace.
Why we love it — Simply click on a team member’s snapshot to instantly launch a videoconference. This really enables spontaneous and casual conversations.
Cost — Free for up to 3 users; after that it’s $9-per-user/month.

Project and Task Management

#5 Trello

Trello

What it does — Project and milestone management.
Why we love it — Trello integrates with Slack and features a robust API that developers can start using after only a 5-minute introduction. Using Trello we are able to organize projects using boards, making it easy to see assignments and status. “Cards” can be assigned to team members to see activity and to track milestones, making it very useful in managing development sprints. Trello’s strength is in its simplicity, without the strict structure compared to other alternatives. What this means is that teams can choose to customize it to suit any development workflow.

Cost — Free with additional functionality such as organization administrator controls costing $5-per-user/month.

Remote Development Environment

#6 Cloud9

cloud9

What it does — Cloud9 is a cloud-based development environment to enable coding from any device.
Why we love it — This full Ubuntu development environment enables not only supervision, but also real coding collaboration. It comes out of the box with support for multiple development environments like Python/Django, Ruby/Rails and NodeJS. It works seamlessly with popular Repo hosting services like Github and Bitbucket and in a matter of minutes you can clone a repo to your VM, make modifications on the project and even test on a live shareable .c9.io subdomain.
Cost — A premium account is $19/month.

File Sharing

#7 Dropbox

Dropbox

What it does — Cloud-based file sharing, including documents, photos, videos and presentations
Why we love it — DropBox really works great across multiple devices with drag-and-drop-ease.
Cost — Free up to a pre-defined storage limit. After that, a business account costs $795/yr for a 5-user team with the ability to add users at $125/yr.

#8 Google Drive

Google Drive

What it does — Cloud-based file sharing, including documents, spreadsheets and proposals with real-time editing and collaboration
Why we love it — GoogleDocs adds the ability to edit and add comments, with multiple users in the document at the same time.
Cost — Google Apps for business, which includes Google Docs, is $5 per-user/month or $50 per-user/yr.

Time to Get Started

We are constantly amazed at how remote developers work as though they’re right with the client in the office — engaging, contributing and leading far past simple requirements or initial expectations. The key is to support these stellar performers with the right tools to maximize their collaboration. At a minimum, we feel that you should be working with Github, Slack, Trello, and ScreenHero as the opening package to strengthen relationships and realize the most value from your team of remote developers.

Interested in building a team with remote developers? Get in touch!

featured_image
About the Author

Solomon Osadolo

Storyteller @ Andela. Dilettante. Techie. Retired Superhero.

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