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Outsourcing product development has quickly become the new norm both for startups and established enterprise-sized companies.

According to the latest research from Forrester, 38% of decision makers decided to outsource a customer-facing app based upon the expertise and skills offered by a 3rd party partner.

Talented developers dwell where they dwell and that may not necessarily be your area. Full hiring cycles tend to eat up a large chunk of your budget and time. Outsourcing, on the contrary, offers you an opportunity to expand your tech stack without re-hiring or investing into professional training for your current team.

Apart from these benefits, partnering with a remote team comes with certain challenges. Communication, effective collaboration, and security are among the top product owners concerns. Yet, if you choose the right tools and build an efficient reporting routine, you may quickly forget that part of your team isn’t physically present at your office.

Here are the top 6 tools worth using for remote development projects.

Atlassian JIRA

JIRA may look a bit intimidating when you give it a try for the first time. However, it’s the most robust and comprehensive software development tool out there, especially if you pair it with the agile approach to product development.

In a nutshell, this tool combines:

  • Issue tracking – a feature that allows to record, assess and review the progress of every problem and get it resolved faster.
  • Customizable workflow – the app easily integrated with GitHub, Zendesk, Asana and a number of other apps, meaning all the information is stored in one place.
  • Time tracking – you can review the project progress and each stage and the team’s time logs within a few clicks. Understanding when a certain task will be completed is pretty easy.
  • Scrum and Kanban boards – visual to-do lists where you can assign executives, monitor progress and review comments.

EscrowTech

The product’s source code is the backbone of your business. When you partner with a remote team, there’s always certain pressure that some of its parts may go missing or get corrupted. EscrowTech comes handy in this case. The service functions as a 3rd party secure code repository. First, you sign up an escrow agreement with your outsourcing partner; next they deliver the product and all the supporting documentation to the escrow system, the source code is securely stored until all the delivery conditions are met and verified and the funds are released afterwards. In this case, all the parties stay protected no matter how their business will roll on further.

iDoneThis

When regular standups and reporting sessions are hard to organize due to time zone differences, try iDoneThis – a sleek team progress reporting app to share small weekly updates. The habit of sharing daily wins will keep your team more productive and instill the feeling of accomplishment (again, a good thing to have within a remote team). Each user can create simple daily to-do lists, cross off the complete tasks and share a quick daily summary with everyone else within one click.

Cloud9

Cloud9 takes your development environment to the cloud. For distributed teams that stand for easier collaboration and code sharing within the same project. You don’t need to have physical workstations, as this app will give you a full Ubuntu development environment online.

Slack

Okay, so this chat app doesn’t need many intros, right? No remote team toolkit is complete without Slack. What makes Slack superior compare to other similar apps?

  • Clean minimalistic design.
  • Drag & drop document sharing.
  • Tons of custom add-ons and bots to help you perform even more operations like scheduling meetings.
  • All the files and conversations are searchable.
  • Communication can be streamlined into multiple channels based on different subjects.

Hackpad

Hackpad (recently acquired by Dropbox) is an excellent place to build your remote corporate wiki. Create various pads (notes) and organize them into respective collections e.g. HR policies, onboarding etc. Each user has access to all the data from their Workspace and can collaborate on the documents easily.

Regular communication, smart reporting and well-integrated collaborative practices are the key to running successful teams. And when you have the right tools, the whole process no longer seems like an out of the box challenge.