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The top 10 sharpest production tools your team needs to have in its shed

Confucius emphasizes the merits of diligence and experience stating, “the mechanic that would perfect his work, must first sharpen his tools”.  It is easy to fall into a production rut In today’s fast-paced world of technological “mechanics” as a result of “over-familiarity” with commonly used tools. At Zemoga, we’ve enjoyed the unique pleasure of working with our clients’ teams across multiple verticals in new technologies and platforms all over the world, constantly innovating new and exciting ways to accomplish our goals, or as we say at Zemoga “build better”.

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Our unique experiences and business model enable us to succeed using the sharpest tools in the rapidly expansive digital world. Below is a short list of crucial digital implements that keep us and our clients’ project delivery on the cutting edge.

Design

Producing effective and engaging digital content begins with Design Tools. You can’t click it, scroll it, or read it if you can’t see it.

Sketch

Sketch is our current primary production tool. It outperforms traditional Photoshop when it comes to UX or UI design and fundamentally enhances digital design. Not necessarily the quality of the design, but rather the process by which we get there. This versatile and expedient technology allows us to easily manipulate objects in our designs, increasing the overall speed and efficiency of a project’s development. This translates into spending less time doing actual pixel-pushing and more time on design exploration.

Invision

One of the most requested skills we offer is rapid prototyping, which allows stakeholders to almost immediately live vicariously through the promise of a new product or feature. InVision remains for us the fastest way to prototype and meet this demand. This incredibly helpful tool allows us to view our designs in a more believable context, as well as share our progress with clients directly to ensure open communication and buy-in at the granular level. Clients can also leave comments in specific parts of our designs in the application and facilitate discussions that make the tracking of their desired changes easier, ultimately leading to faster approval.

Zeplin

It’s the perfect middle man for design teams looking to hand off design assets and specs to development teams. Zeplin takes our Sketch designs and exposes all the specs and individual assets for our development team to simply log in and grab what they need, including icons, font sizes, spacing, etc. Moreover, we love the name.

Technology Tools

There are more technologies out there than you can shake an Expo marker at. The ability to leverage the right technology is crucial for an effective development process. At Zemoga, we’ve discovered how implementing the right tools upfront decreases general risks during testing and production.

Docker

Docker, and containers in general, are technologies that facilitate both the continuous delivery pipeline, as well as the quick setup of projects, regardless of what technology the project is based on. Containerized (yes that’s a word) software always operates the same in any given digital environment, effectively speeding up the development and building processes, while also including the added benefits of quick publishing on production environments.

Linter Tools

Linters are tools and utilities designed to detect code that doesn’t match syntactic standards. They analyze source code to flag programming errors, bugs, stylistic errors, and suspicious constructs. The term originates from a Unix utility that examined C language source code. Think of them as tools designed to reorganize code with clean, cohesive structure that looks as if just one developer had worked on a project. These tools provide the added benefit of quickly detecting “code smells”, a surface indication that usually corresponds to a deeper problem in the system, much like a digital truffle pig. Some examples of these technologies include Eslint, SassLint, PHPLint and integrators such as CodeClimate.

Visual Studio Code

This code editor offers exceptional integration for coding, debugging and even publishing via Git and Continuous Integration systems. It also offers a useful base of plugins designed to improve the coding experience. Syntax highlighting, intelligent code completion, snippets, and code refactoring are just some examples. Visual Studio Code ultimately serves to increase the speed and efficiency of production without detracting from the quality of our finished endeavours.

Delivery Tools

We are a collaborative team with staff diligently working and communicating with our global clients.. Therefore, it is crucial that our work effort reaches and engages all the relevant stakeholders within an organization, regardless of location, with zero friction… Having centralized information is vital to keeping all stakeholders informed and resources aligned with the designated tasks to be executed. Standout Delivery Tools facilitate exceptional communication among staff and clients alike, providing a vital edge in project development.

Atlassian (Jira and Wiki)

Jira has it all. For us, it’s the best way to solve the issue of tracking progress and task assignments at the same time, regardless of whether you are 100% Scrum or if you want to use Kanban (Toyota’s breakthrough system), you can do it with Jira. Granted, a bit of set-up is needed before you start using it. Data flow updates as your organization grows and evolves over time, but it’s so flexible that it allows you to CHANGE and ADAPT. It also has a rich third party marketplace with many different plugins (some of them are free) you can install and use in your day-to-day operations.

Appear

Our creative team discovered Appear a year ago while working with a large FinServ client and testing the beta version of an Enterprise App. In general, many clients operate under different security limitations and don’t allow the installation of different apps other than those pre-installed by the company’s internal IT team. The beauty of Appear lies in the system’s wireless browser-based software that eliminates the need to install plugins. You can literally just click the link and you’ll be taken to the “conference room”. Additionally, the program can be added as a plugin to your Slack, providing the convenience of opening rooms on the go. Many clients and internal teams enjoy the tremendous benefits of cutting-edge technology that makes it easier to start a conversation at any time, no matter where you are.

Google Drive

We’ve all benefited immensely from using Google Drive in the past and based on its performance, it still remains an essential tool in digital production. It allows us to share information and work collaboratively at the same time, making things easier to review and to complete, not forgetting we can access it anywhere and at any time (you can even use the offline mode when no internet is available). The drive allows us to share files as well as utilize other useful programs, such as Google Docs, Sheets, Google Slides and Google Keep (in case you are looking for a way to keep all of your day-to-day tasks, lists and to-dos handy and adding reminders to some key items in your list).  The Google suite of products is entirely free and contains a vast array of utilities, making it worth everyone’s first born, which they may have the rights to already.

Experience

Last but not least, the tools needed for successful delivery rely heavily on an experienced team to use them, as well as the partners they choose. Nothing can substitute the insight and diligence of a creative team working hard to deliver. Insight gained through past lessons learned by these valuable employees can influence key decisions and the larger direction of a project. With 16 years of Nearshore collaborative delivery for Fortune 500 brands, Zemoga brings just that, and more.

To learn more about how Zemoga can supercharge your delivery and help your team “build better”, visit us at www.zemoga.com or reach out to us directly at buildbetter@zemoga.com.

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