Teamwork from Home
Using the Best Collaboration Softwares


November 2022 Release Notes

Here’s what’s new in our November 2022 Release Notes:

* Improved data exports for our custom solutions;
* Stabilized backend environment for smoother workspace data refreshes;
* Flexible pagination;

Read More »


Telecommuting vs office work, both has its pros and cons. However, brainstorming is definitely among the ones that home office makes more difficult. But team collaboration software can help. This is one takeaway from 45 Key Remote Work & Telecommuting Statistics for 2020 by Owl Labs. It is one of the few consistent downsides to working from home. At least, it used to be, as until recently it’s been pretty darned difficult being in two places at the same time. Some of today’s tech makes it possible for distributed teams to interact as if they’re in the same room. Our tips on team collaboration tools can help make telecommuting seem almost like everyone’s in the same room.

The Princess Leia Hologram

Google Docs for Team Collaboration

We recommend Google Docs for managing and sharing documents in different file formats. We’ve tried many different word processors and have found that Google Docs is the best for team support.
  • Wide range of file type support (docx, odt, rtf, txt, pdf, html, epub, markup.)
  • Multiple people can work on the document at the same time.
  • Invaluable version history plus comments.
  • Can set permissions on a per document or folder basis.
  • Many plugins to extend its functionality.
  • Copy/paste to other WYSIWYG processors – and tools for clean html.

Web Chat Services

Many Web Chat Services for video and voice conferencing are available. WebEx from Cisco, Skype, Google Meet, and Zoom, are just a few that come to mind. Which one you prefer will likely come down to your preferences. If you expect to support more than 100 callers at a time, you’ll need to look at subscription options. Most agile software development teams are small (under a dozen).  They are easily supported by all WCS platforms these days. Quality can still suffer during times of peak usage.

Zoom is one of our favorites, a solid voice app with screen and file-sharing capabilities. It’s easy to install and use. Conferences can be saved for later viewing. Anyone can use it for free to host up to 100 participants or unlimited 1-to-1 meetings. Zoom’s paid plans start at $14.99 per month per host. They’re quite a bargain for removing the group time limit cap and all the features they add, like the Scheduler.

The 40-minute limit for free group meetings with Zoom can be an incentive to use Google Meet. Conversely, a free market and having choices may be worth supporting Zoom. Another “less than conventional” option, Discord is perfectly suited for businesses, too. Discord offers VOIP, text, video, and many other user features common to online gaming communities. It’s used in eSports where team collaboration software can be the difference between winning a payout, or not.

Project Management Software

There are almost as many Project Management Software options as you can shake a stick at. Atlassian Jira, Wrike, Basecamp, Trello, Asana, Redmine, Zoho Projects, Microsoft Projects. And that’s just warming up. It also seems fashionable lately to hop between them for better terms, features, or ease-of-use. Any comparison will vary by company or manager requirements, team, and project. Instead of recommending one, we have three points of advice:
  • Train your team to use the Project Management Software that you already have. The better they know how to use it, the greater the software’s value to you, your team, project, and the company will be.
  • Manage by exception. Is your PMS lacking a feature or function? Define your requirements and match them to the simplest effective solution/s. You might only need to link to Google Doc/Sheet files instead of changing or adding a new PMS.
  • Thoroughly vet new software.  Measure twice, cut once. If your existing PMS still not up to snuff? Define your requirements, consider future trends, compare features. Then test the best options before making any switch.
If your software isn’t automating tasks for you, it’s creating overhead. It’s either adding work hours or subscription fees. Project Management Software IS essential. To the extent that it creates overhead, more is not necessarily better – and is often counterproductive.

Analytics and Automation for Software Team Collaboration

Github, Gitlab, Bitbucket, and Azure DevOps are essential for team collaboration software for developers.  Stackshare provides a comprehensive comparison of Github, Gitlab, and Bitbucket. All are great options for Open Source Projects. Azure DevOps is for Closed Source projects and integrates with Github and Github Enterprise. They make it easy for your team members to work on files, merge them to your master files, and track changes across versions.  

Are you using Github, BitBucket, or Azure DevOps? If so, you’ll gain extra value by using Gitential for automated software development analytics. Gitential provides insightful data engineering managers can immediately start putting to use. Performance analysis on-demand helps mitigate risks, track code hotspots, enforce better code quality, and more:

  • How much is my team testing and how frequently are their tests failing?
  • Who’s authoring, committing, or working on the same code?
  • Who are my top developers in each programming language and who are they working with?
  • What is the best team setup I can put together for this project?
  • What is my team’s velocity in writing code, testing, and code reviews?
  • Have code reviews been helping? By how much? 

Gitential’s analytics can help identify where your team collaboration can be enhanced.  Stripe’s 2018 report The Developer Coefficient indicates developer inefficiency often exceeds 30%. Gitential enables you to objectively quantify software development team performance. In turn, you can identify and remedy the root causes of problems faster, prioritizing by impact. You can better assist team members in areas they find frustrating or overly challenging

Sococo - Virtual Office for Agile Teams

Founded in 2007 by David Van Wie, the Social Communications Company (Sococo) provides Virtual Offices fit for Agile Teams. It’s pretty much as one would imagine a virtual office would be in a non-VR environment. Project and software engineering managers can have “international situational awareness” right from home.
  • Where your team members are in your virtual building – and in what virtual rooms. 
  • See whether team members are connected, available for chat, in conference, or in a “do not disturb” mode – all at glance.
  • Conduct teleconferences… by moving your avatar from one room to the next.
  • Broadcast in real-time to all team members.
  • Click on active presentations for screen sharing.
Sococo offers a free 30-day trial with several subscription plans. They appear to max out Premium – $75 a month billed annually. That plan has unlimited streaming and several TB of data storage, with a long list of features.  

Extended Reality for Software Development Teams

Now, we jump into a few more innovative team collaboration software and tools. But first, let’s quickly define the different aspects of Extended Reality (XR). Several different realities seem to have suddenly sprung into existence. It can get a little confusing to know where you’re supposed to be, or how you’re going to get there! That’s to say the tools that follow require accessories sold separately.

  • Augmented Reality (AR) – uses glasses or mobile devices to superimpose digital effects onto the real, physical world.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) – is usually a fully immersive “digital” experience – shut off from the real world. You may need to use VR headsets (low budget Google Cardboard with a Smartpad), VR gloves, even VR bodysuits. We also have some friends over at MM-One that have created a full-motion, 360°  chair to go with 3D headsets. (Video below).
  • Mixed Reality (MR) – combines AR and VR allowing physical and virtual objects to interact with headsets, like Microsoft’s HeloLens 2

MM-One’s full-motion, 360-degree VR chair

Cost of XR Headsets

When buying an XR headset, keep several things in mind. The quality of experience can vary widely. On one hand, low-end options like Google Cardboard can turn your Android or iOS smartpad into a VR viewer for around $10.  It’s useful for watching but not delivering a VR presentation. Of course, most developers will want mid-to-high range XR headsets. Prices have dropped since their debut, but not as fast as anticipated. Mid-range sets like the Oculus Rift or the Wireless Quest generally run $400-500, to $600-700 for an HP Reverb and $1,000 for a Valve Index. The MS HoloLens 2 prices in at a heftier $3,500 or $4,500 with a 365 Remote Assist subscription.

Other considerations for your checklist:

  • Compatibility with your XR Platform
  • Standalone headset,  PC or Mobile headset?
  • Verify your PC meets requirements (CPU, RAM, Graphics Card) 
  • Whether additional hardware is required (Controllers, 
  • 3 or 6 Degrees of Freedom (DoF) – 3DoF lets you stand in one place and look all around while 6DoF adds the ability for you to move around. 
  • Resolution, Refresh Rate and Field of View
  • See VR Headset Authority for more detailed considerations.

To the extent XR headsets can improve team collaboration in software development, even high-end sets are a bargain. For instance, yearly office leases can run from $6k (Chicago) to $13k (San Francisco). Moving from an office to a telecommute environment can improve productivity. But it can impact team collaboration. Team collaboration software and XR headsets can mitigate the impact on collaboration. In the long-term, it may ultimately improve team collaboration.

Primitive for Team Collaboration

Primitive is an immersive development environment. It works with java, javascript, C#, and C++ repositories on Github and Bitbucket. We covered it before. But, it’s cool enough to cover again. Also Primitive’s prepping for its Series A round. Primitive can be useful for aspects of remote Code Reviews and onboarding new team members. It’s also proving helpful for engineering managers and their teams to better visualize (Zoom in and Zoom out) complex, multi-threaded programs.

Unlike viewing conventional directories, Primitive enables users to see the entire codebase in 3D. At the same time, users can see the depth of individual folders in one sweep. Users can also “zoom in” to what’s inside of each file, how the code behaves when it is running, and to trace it back. Primitive provides multi-user support for any team members connecting with a headset. It’s compatible with HTC Vive, Valve Index, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality. Primitive can be downloaded for free from Viveport and Steam (Early Access).

  • Architectural Overviews – up to several million lines of code.
  • 3D Call Graphs – spatial layouts that are clearer and more memorable.
  • Multi-thread Runtime Applications – allowing collaboration in debugging and performance evaluation.

Browsing Repositories with Primitive VR

Spatial - Like Zoom for Mixed Reality

Spatial makes it possible for people anywhere in the world to collaborate. With it, users can see each other’s lifelike avatars, talk, share ideas, move things around in a persistent environment. It’s about as close as you can come using today’s technology to being in two places at the same (founded in 2016) is the most mature XR platform available. It is already being used by companies like Qualcomm, Pfizer, and Ford. Congratulations are in order, as they just recently raised $14 million in their Series A! They’ll be around for a while.

With telecommuting becoming so popular in the past few months, they’ve made their platform available for free for people to experience – in a regular web browser.  For prices of customized enterprise features you’ll need to contact their sales team.

  • Supports up to 12 participants.
  • Works on any device including through web browsers.
  • Screenshare any app or window from your computer.
  • Upload 3D models, 2D images, videos, PDF’s and add sticky notes.
  • Use Voice Search for ideas and instantly visualize them.

Spatial – Collaborate from Anywhere in AR

HoloLens 2 ‘Spatial’ Remote Collaboration Demo

November 2022 Release Notes

Here’s what’s new in our November 2022 Release Notes:

* Improved data exports for our custom solutions;
* Stabilized backend environment for smoother workspace data refreshes;
* Flexible pagination;

Read More »

Did you like our content?

Spread the word

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Don't miss our latest updates. All About Software Engineering Best Practices, Productivity Measurement, Performance Analytics, Software Team Management and more.

Did you like our content?

Spread the word

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Don't miss our latest updates. All About Software Engineering Best Practices, Productivity Measurement, Performance Analytics, Software Team Management and more.