Are you looking for better ways of bringing the team together? Would you benefit from an arsenal of tools that facilitate team working, while boosting productivity and creativity?
Project managers in development teams have to be leaders of balance, progress, decision, and business need.
Maybe you need to consider the workplace of the future: the potential for virtual teams to collaborate in new ways using interactive technologies.
If you're developing software and applications for the web and touchscreen devices, you need the cutting-edge of interactive technologies to help you communicate, test, display, and tweak your work in ways that push creative possibilities.
Read on for 6 ways to incorporate interactive technology into your development team.
The Needs of the Software Development Team
Software is only ever as good as its user interface. Web technologies are inherently interactive, so it makes absolute sense that the tools that you use to develop them have interactivity built into their core.
1. Interactive displays
The web is a visual medium. Sure, it's made up of billions and billions of words, but – at its core – successful web apps have user-interactivity at their heart.
But when you're working as a team to develop applications that might look good on a mobile phone screen, you can't cram everyone around a single 10-inch screen.
Interactive displays deliver 4K definition, with an interactive touchscreen that replicates the mobile experience.
They add tactility to the development process; offering fingertip control during every stage of the design, testing, and implementation processes.
Interactive displays offer teams the ability to work collaboratively, using a central portal: designing and developing individual elements of an app in unison, while individual workstations connect wirelessly to a primary display.
2. Communication Hubs
Email has become a stalwart of communication within organisations.
But does it suit your mode of operation?
Most of us multi-task – there are few of us who have the privilege of working on just one project at a time. And if you're receiving emails from all angles, it can be almost impossible to track individual workstreams.
There's an ever-growing collection of virtual messaging services that can help keep each workstream separate and more manageable.
These are our favourite messaging services:
- Slack is a messenger service that allows you to compartmentalise conversations into channels; giving you message threads, rather than a sporadic trail of emails. Slack integrates natively with Dropbox, Google Drive, Trello, Google Calendar, Google+ Hangouts, MS OneDrive and many other useful services that make work more efficient and collaboration more natural.
- Microsoft Teamsintegrates with Office 365 and specialises in bringing large teams together. Consolidating video messaging, email, document creation suites, and project monitoring applications, MS Teams offers one central platform so that everyone can see what each other is doing. Projects become viewable from a single portal, facilitating transparent tracking of objectives and milestones. In combination with interactive displays, MS Teams really does come to life: bringing genuine and reliable flexibility to the workplace.
3. File Sharing
In web development teams, you're working with large amounts of data.
Cloud access is ideal for sharing large files and collaborating on shared documents. Sharing, editing, and developing large files becomes accessible from anywhere with an internet connection and an Internet Enabled Device.
The most popular file sharing portals are Dropbox and Google Drive. However, if your systems are driven by Windows, it makes sense to also consider MS OneDrive which integrates natively with MS Teams, Office 365, and Skype.
4. Virtual meeting spaces
Once upon a time – not that long ago – video conferencing required a cripplingly expensive infrastructure, a dedicated physical room, and a super-clunky ISDN line (remember those?).
And the feature set was laughably minimal: a jerky video image and out-of-sync sound were the best you could hope for.
The advent of broadband and speedy consumer mobile devices have made video conferencing something that all teams can access from places that were previously unthinkable.
Examples of amazing video conferencing applications include:
- Zoom – Hold online meetings with an almost infinite number of participants. All sessions are recordable and shareable, making them a valuable resource to refer back to. Other features include screen sharing, virtual whiteboards, breakout rooms, and HD video streaming and audio. Zoom offers the best of all worlds to help the team collaborate.
- Google Hangouts sounds like it's aimed at the teenage / SnapChat market, but in actuality, it can accommodate meetings of up to 15 people. The feature set isn't extensive as Zoom, but for a free service, you can't really go wrong.
- Skype, of course, is the godfather of the video call and it can be used for up to 25 people.
5. Project management tools
If you're working with remote development teams, PM tools are a valuable addition to the interactive technologies on offer.
Basecamp is suited to large teams. It currently costs $99 a month, but that flat fee includes access for unlimited users, on unlimited projects. It includes live messaging, real-time chat, to-do lists, schedules, file storage, document sharing and creation, and automatic check-ins. All of those features all in one place means that you don't need most of the other interactive technologies discussed in this article.
Wrike is free and won a Best PM software award in 2017. It allows everyone to keep track of project updates in real time and defines job priorities if involved in several simultaneous projects.
Apollo helps to integrate project data and communications seamlessly. The $14 per month subscription is for one project only, but you can purchase additional project capability.
6. Social Business Platforms
There's a broad range of social media-style platforms that assimilate the processes pertinent to web development into a user-friendly environment that helps projects stay on track, keeping all communication threads public and transparent.
Some of our favourite platforms are:
Each provides a community hub that helps to strengthen the communication networks throughout entire organisations.
These platforms offer access via desktops and tablets, and across all major mobile devices.
Integrating work with the familiar social network environment makes multi-locational working more feasible. Social platforms are particularly popular with millennials.
So, if you're looking to incorporate interactive technologies into your development team, it's well worth exploring the rapidly-growing market for new and innovative ways of sharing, collaborating, and contributing.
Finding a solution that works for your business is now possible. These interactive technologies help the work environment fit around people's lives; rather than workplaces that chain employees to desks, risking the well-being of your valuable people.