SaaS tools for improving productivity

Patricia Bourrillon & María Dueñas

Patricia Bourrillon & María Dueñas

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SaaS tools for improving productivity
9:27

Can using external tools help improve my team's productivity? This is a very common question among software development team leaders. The answer is a strong yes. SaaS tools can improve team productivity by automating routine tasks, improving communication and collaboration, and/or streamlining development processes. Introducing the right tools based on the specific needs of the team and the project at hand not only boosts efficiency, but also improves the Developer Experience (DevEx), ensuring a more agile, intuitive and productive development environment.

Impact of Artificial Intelligence on software development

Today, a variety of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are transforming software development. Generative AI, or GenAI, helps with code writing, bug detection and testing, as well as improving development team satisfaction and collaboration. For example, ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot are revolutionising the way teams develop their work, streamlining workflows and increasing productivity.

However, it is essential to recognise the limitations of AI. Although Artificial Intelligence can improve productivity, it cannot replace the development team and its use must be adapted to the specific context of each project while maintaining adequate control over its use. In our eBook on AI, you can find out more about how to benefit from the use of AI in software development. Also check our AI and ML projects, where we have implemented significant improvements in the productivity of development teams.

Benefits of SaaS tools for development teams

One of the biggest problems affecting productivity is poor communication leading to poor team coordination and lack of clarity on goals and priorities. Also, the use of outdated technology can mean that too much time is spent on repetitive tasks, such as fixing bugs, to the detriment of time spent on innovation, for example. External tools can help mitigate these problems and increase the productivity of the team. 

Here are some of the benefits of using SaaS tools to improve productivity: 

Code quality and Maintainability

Integrated development environments, code review platforms and static code analysers help increase the quality of your code and make it easier to maintain properly. This can help create more robust and reliable code that your development team can be proud of and that enables scalability and innovation.

According to Codegrip's Code Review Trends 2022 report, 84% of companies have a defined code review process. Of these, 36% said that code reviews are the best way to improve code quality. 

The report further noted that companies with an efficient code review process experienced two main benefits: Increased client satisfaction due to the availability of code quality reports and lesser bugs with each sprint.  And version updates were easier to implement and more stable due to lower technical debt.

Similarly, the Accelerate State of DevOps Report 2023 states that ‘teams with faster code reviews  have 50% higher software delivery performance'.  

In the technology sector, there are multiple platforms that support code maintenance and quality. To choose the right one for your environment, consider aspects such as: compatibility with different programming languages, test execution performance, reporting features, user friendliness and CI/CD integration capability. 

Among popular platforms are GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, Gerrit, among others.

Teams with faster code reviews  have 50% higher software delivery performance.

- Accelerate State of DevOps Report 2023 

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)

Continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD), more than methodologies, are a cultural shift. From automatic test execution to seamless deployment of new features, CI/CD tools streamline development workflows and bring agility to processes.

Having tools that facilitate CI/CD pipelines is essential to improve the productivity of your team and therefore the quality of your developments. Accelerate State of DevOps Report 2023 describes that ‘the use of loosely coupled architecture, continuous integrations, and efficient code reviews enable teams to improve their organizational  outcomes while maintaining and sometimes  improving their well-being'.

Important features to consider when choosing a CI/CD tool include compatibility and support for different programming languages and platforms, integration with different version control systems, secure credential management and scalability, and ease of use. 

You can review some widely used platforms such as Jenkins, Circle CI, Travis CI or Bamboo.

Automation of Repetitive Tasks

In line with the previous points, automation tools for repetitive tasks help reduce the time required for testing and deployment, allowing the development team to spend more time on the more complex and creative aspects of the software.

It is important that the tool you choose fits your context and team. To achieve this, you should consider its integration capability with your existing systems, ease of use (which influences the learning curve), and scalability to grow alongside your company.

Prioritize tools that have features tailored to your management methods, support multiple platforms and languages, and facilitate the creation and execution of tests. Some well-known tools in the industry include Kubernetes, Jenkins, GitHub Actions, and Ansible.

Effective Communication

Good communication is one of the most important skills in the workplace, as it improves task efficiency and team member relationships, thereby increasing productivity. According to the State of Business Communication 2023 study by Harris Poll on behalf of Grammarly, 72% of business leaders believe that effective communication has increased their team's productivity.

Additionally, if teams are working remotely, having a tool that facilitates effective communication is essential to maintain smooth collaboration. According to the State of the Sector 2024 report by Gallagher, the most commonly used collaboration channels include business chat tools, which are utilized 70% of the time with a 95% effectiveness rate.

72% of business leaders believe that effective communication has increased their team's productivity.

- State of Business Communication 2023 

When choosing the best tool for your context, you should consider various factors. For example, whether the platform combines multiple functionalities besides messaging, such as video conferencing, audio messages, or document and file sharing. Also, consider if the interface allows integration with other management applications and how intuitive its features are to facilitate adaptation.

Some of the most commonly used business communication tools include slack, microsoft teams, or google workspace

Conclusion

Carefully selecting the right SaaS tools is critical to maximising the productivity of the development team by ensuring an excellent Developer Experience (DevEx). Providing the necessary training to use these tools effectively is equally important, whether through training courses or team mentoring. By adopting the tools and promoting a culture of continuous improvement, team leaders can boost the performance and efficiency of their software development teams.

References

Accelerate State of DevOps Report 2023. Presented by DORA and Google Cloud. Retrieved May 15, 2023, from https://services.google.com/fh/files/misc/2023_final_report_sodr.pdf 

Code Review Trends 2022. Codegrip. Retrieved May 15, 2023, from https://media.trustradius.com/product-downloadables/DD/D7/XID8MVZTH0JF.pdf  

The State of Business Communication: New Threats and Opportunities. (February 21, 2023). Grammarly. Retrieved May 15, 2024, from https://www.grammarly.com/business/learn/state-of-business-communications-2023/

State of the Sector 2024: The Definitive Report on Internal Communication Trends. Ajg.com. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2024, from https://www.ajg.com/employeeexperience/state-of-the-sector-2024/