If you’re looking to employ project management tools for your development teams, there are a few specific features you should look out for.
Project management is a must-have for a lot of businesses because it makes workflow more manageable, repeatable and efficient. When you start shopping around for a project management platform, you’re going to find a ton of possibilities, all of which offer a variety of features. One thing to keep in mind is that different departments will probably require a unique feature set from that project management platform. So, when you’re shopping around for a tool to meet the needs of your development teams, what features should you consider a must?
Let’s take a look at a few such features.
Your dev teams will require a solid task management option. This can be in the form of a kanban board (which is always a favorite among developers) or Gantt Charts. Given the two, you’re probably better off with kanban, as it’s much easier to use and gives you a better visual of the progress of each task. Your project management platform must make it easy for your development teams to keep track of tasks.
This feature will be the primary tool used by developers in your project management suite. The good news is that most project management tools include task management. If you find a PM tool that doesn’t include task management, keep looking.
Development teams are constantly sharing files. Of course, the majority of sharing with developers will be handled via a tool like Git (because that’s the nature of development, and it’s the most popular versioning system on the planet). However, development teams aren’t just sharing code. They might need to share documents, images, videos and more.
On top of that, your developers might also need to share files with other teams (who are not developers) that won’t have access to the company git repositories. So when you look for a project management tool, make sure your choice includes built-in file sharing.
Developers are incredibly busy and are very often bumping up against deadlines. Because of this (and your company’s need to ship on time), your project management platform must include a schedule management feature. By employing schedule management within your project management software, you can integrate it with other tools (such as task management). That integration will go a long, long way to help make the workflow efficient and reliable. On top of which, with schedule maintenance a part of your project management platform, other teams can keep track of how a project is progressing, who’s working on what, when to expect completed work and even the ability to modify developers’ schedules when project goals evolve.
Reporting and analytics
Although reporting and analytics might not be the most useful tool for your developers, they will be very helpful for other teams and management. You want to find a project management tool that gives you easy access to reports and analysis, so all stakeholders are apprised of how things are progressing. This feature will also make it possible to improve the development lifecycle by finding bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the workflow.
Bug, error and issue tracking
Although you might be tempted to use a separate tool for bug, error and issue tracking, if you can find a project management platform with this feature built-in, your teams will be better for it. The primary reason you might want such a feature added to your project management platform is because it can integrate with the other features and even be automated so that a bug can be automatically assigned to a developer and added as a task.
A scrum board serves as a visual status for your developers’ sprints and shows all works, split across the different stages of the workflow. If your development teams are focused on agile, the scrum boards should be considered an absolute must. Having both scrum and kanban boards can be highly beneficial, as kanban offers more leeway, while scrum gives you much more organizational structure and is better suited for teams that do sprints. Having both can be a must, especially when you have some teams focused on agile development and others focused on a more traditional workflow.
Having third-party integrations only matters if you actually use third-party tools. If your development teams depend on the likes of Slack, you might want to look for a project management platform that includes Slack integration. There are also project management platforms (such as Asana, ClickUp, Jira and Monday.com) that even integrate with GitHub. When starting to shop around for a project management tool, make sure to compile a list of third-party tools your developers consider must-haves.
And there you go: the features you should look for in a project management platform that are geared specifically for development teams. Of course, your mileage may vary and every business/team is unique. But consider these options as a possible baseline for what your developer-centric project management tool should be.
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