Improve Project Management: Master Web Developers' Tools!

Photo of Magdalena Podolska

Magdalena Podolska

Sep 23, 2015 • 6 min read

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but when the PM team at Netguru needs knowledge, they don’t reinvent the wheel - they organize webinars. This time, we found out how project managers can benefit from using developers' tools such as GitHub, CircleCI, Rollbar, CodeClimate and New Relic. Check it out!

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but when the PM team at netguru needs knowledge, they don’t reinvent the wheel - they organize webinars. This time, they needed to know more about the tools used by software developers on a daily basis. Tools such as GitHub, CircleCI, Rollbar, CodeClimate and New Relic. Michał was so kind to run the webinar and to describe the information relevant for project management in a PM-friendly way.

Here’s a recap of the tools he talked about.

1. GitHub - code repository

GitHub is a collaborative platform for developers, where they can create code repositories and be social. It allows you to monitor how often deployments are made, what developers are working on and who they are connecting with. You can receive notifications about their activity (within different environments e.g. staging and production) once you follow them. Developers can collaborate on a project or contribute to someone else's project (informing the original author about the introduced changes by sending a pull request). GitHub is not only used for code, it also includes README files - the documentation that describes a project. This is displayed on the front page of a repository.

As a PM, from Github I can get insights into staging and the production environments’ code base. I can see an overview of a repository's activity and monitor the activity of the particular developers in the team (this is owing to the ‘pulse’ functionality visible in the attached picture)

2. CircleCI - deployment activator

CircleCI lets developers build, test, and deploy quickly and efficiently. When they push a new piece of code to the project repository on GitHub, CircleCi automatically creates a new build and tests it. The developer then gets feedback about the status of the deployment. If the tests are passed - new features are deployed. If not, the developer is informed about the failed build and a commit is referred back to Github. CircleCi can be integrated with Slack, so you receive immediate notifications and can keep track of failed and fixed builds.

As a PM, from CircleCi I can get the history and the status of deployment. It lets me keep track of changes and updates in the development of the application and monitor the progress.

3. Rollbar - error tracker

Rollbar is a bug tracking platform. Developers employ this tool for finding and fixing bugs in the production environment. When an error is detected, Rollbar gathers and reports data about the bug (e.g. lines of code, number of occurrences, root causes) and its context (e.g. what user does this refer to). The dev then has a bunch of information for analysis and is able to respond to new errors quickly. Just like with CircleCI, you can get notifications by integrating Rollbar with Slack.

As a PM, from Rollbar I can get notifications about errors cropping up in the application. Rollbar collects and analyses errors so that I can know the total number of occurrences as well as when such an error was first or last seen. This helps me constantly keep track of what is happening in the project and quickly learn about problems that are encountered.

4. Code Climate - code analyser

Code Climate is a platform that monitors security issues and diagnoses the health of the code. One of the most useful features of Code Climate is an automated code review that analyzes every commit and grades the quality of code on a clearly defined scale and provides the percentage of test coverage. In short, Code Climate helps developers deliver quality software and fix security issues in applications.

As a PM, from Codeclimate I can get feedback concerning the code quality and test coverage. Since Code Climate grades the quality of code written by the developers from the project on a simple scale, it helps me monitor the team’s standards and track its progress over time. What’s more, CodeClimate provides info about potential security issues and code style.

5. New Relic - performance analyser, app profiler

New Relic is a software analytics tool that measures the response time of web transactions. New Relic lets developers collect real-time data and get an insight into metrics concerning application performance so that they can identify the slowest parts of the application.

As a PM, from Codeclimate I can get app response times. It’s an analytics tool that gives you details of how fast the application performs, measuring its response time. This lets you spot parts of the application that might perform better and plan potential improvements.

Managing IT projects well is no mean feat, however there are a couple of hacks that may facilitate this challenge! These dev tools are surprisingly useful, not only for developers who write code, but also for project managers who want to keep everything under control and manage their projects successfully.

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Magdalena Podolska

Magda always looks on the bright side of life. She likes learning about different cultures,...
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