Whether you prefer to work alone or in a team of freelance programmers, organizational issues that crop up from time to time can severely dampen your productivity, morale, and end-product quality.
According to Finances Online, 86% of modern employees or professionals prefer working alone to reach peak performance, while multitasking can reduce your overall productivity by up to 40% due to a split in attention and resources.
A different study done by Forbes suggests that 61% of professionals are burned out from their jobs, with 31% reporting high levels of stress due to workflow mismanagement.
While working as an independent freelancer and programmer have its perks compared to traditional employment, a large part of your professional development and performance will rest on your own ability to manage time and projects through self-discipline. Even though you operate independently, your work will still have to be used, managed and modified by others such as your client or other freelance collaborators.
To rectify any organizational issues which may crop up, as a result, numerous useful tools exist to make your work easier. With that said, let’s dive into what makes third-party organizational tools useful for programmers, some of the KPIs you should use, as well as several of the tools themselves to ensure that your work is easier to manage going forward.
The Benefits of Using Organizational Tools
Let’s talk about why organizational tools are a useful extension of your programming arsenal before we jump into the tools themselves. Individuals that dedicate their professional and freelance careers to programming will often spend weeks and months looking over code, numeric values and letters on a blank screen with no GUI or visuals to keep them focused.
As such, freelance programmers might come across organizational issues from time to time as a result of poor motivation, low productivity or short deadlines just to name a few.
Organizational issues in programming can cause stress and anxiety, burnout, health-related issues as well as a drop in overall work quality if they are not rectified on time.
Worst of all, failed projects breached deadlines and poor-quality code can cost you your reputation and future project prospects in the long run.
Luckily, using tools that can help you manage work and organize it into digestible chunks can help significantly. Coupled with writing tools such as Subjecto, they will ensure that you never breach a deadline or leave out an important part of your project due to overwhelming workload or time-management issues going forward.
Some of the benefits of using organizational tools in your freelance programming career include but are not limited to:
- Streamlined file management.
- Better goal-based productivity.
- More free personal time.
- Higher end-product quality.
- Easier workflow tracking.
- Lowered risk of stress and burnout.
Organizational Tools for Freelance Programmers
Time management is one of the freelancer programmer’s worst enemies bar none. As such, relying on a professional, well-designed time management platform is essential for continued success.
rello is a project and time management platform with a comprehensive and versatile UI capable of streamlining your workflow. Its basic functionality will allow you to split work-related tasks into three categories: to do, doing and done respectively.
In addition, Trello features extensive collaboration functionality which will allow you to invite other programmers or your clients to review your performance, offer feedback and participate in the project via comments and contributions.
The tool is highly reliant on its GUI and visual elements which will ensure that you always have a clear idea of where your project needs to go next in order to be finished successfully.
Trello has its own mobile app which enables freelance programmers to always stay in touch with their projects and receive notifications of any new comments or developments from invited collaborators. When it comes to its business model, Trello comes in a variety of packages depending on the scale of your operation.
However, freelance programmers that work independently can utilize its free model to its fullest and receive access to a wide range of capabilities without the need to invest resources into professional subscriptions.
Whether you are an established programmer or a novice dipping their feet into freelancing for the first time, Trello is a wonderful organizational tool that will facilitate your career quite elegantly.
Programming projects often fall into the agile category – that is, with collaborators and contributors coming and going all the time. This can make it difficult to keep track of progress, bugs and new versions of your code no matter how well-organized you may be personalized.
Jira is an organizational tool with one goal in mind – performance and progress tracking.
This makes it perfect for programming-related projects given its specialty in bug and defect tracking. It provides a plethora of collaboration and project lifecycle management options which will ensure that no part of your project gets forgotten, sidelined or remains defective by the time you ship the end-product.
In addition, Jira collects historic data from the moment you create a work environment, allowing you to go back in time and analyze any part of your project for insight, bug hunting and statistical investigation depending on your current focus.
It is a rich and versatile organizational tool for developers of different profiles and specializations, allowing for data migration and code export into a multitude of formats.
Jira features a free trial and is quite affordable for independent freelance programmers with its flat monthly rate. While it may be daunting for newcomers and those who are still learning about programming, experienced developers will find a lot to love about Jira and its organizational capabilities going forward in their freelance career.
Time tracking and organizational management is difficult even with reliable techniques such as Pomodoro available to you. Luckily, tools designed with tracking and analytics such as Clockify exist to amend for their shortcomings. Clockify is a completely free organizational management tool with specialized developer-centric features.
Its primary focus lies in tracking and analyzing your everyday productivity based on overall performance, individual milestones or custom KPIs.
Once you start the tool up, you can focus on your work and Clockify will add any coding and programming activities you’ve done to the list of time entries. This will allow you to create a timesheet of your activities and performance for later analysis to see where you spent most of your time, why and what you can do about it.
Clockify features gamification features which will help increase your productivity by creating an achievement-based work environment for your convenience. The tool also features desktop and smartphone apps for your convenience and allows you to sync data between them seamlessly.
With its extensive visualization features and the ability to export tracking data into sheets, Clockify is a great tool for both novices and experts in the freelance programming sphere. Simply sign on to its platform and start using its plethora of organizational management capabilities today.
Useful KPIs to Consider
While using the right organizational tools for your freelance programming projects is important, the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are also essential. Due to the specific nature of programming, setting your own KPIs shouldn’t be an issue depending on the project you currently work on.
Goal-setting methods such as SMART will allow you to narrow down on the most important, impactful KPIs for your project and track them quite efficiently via the organizational tools themselves.
Let’s take a look at several pivotal programming KPIs which may help you get the upper hand in your career going forward.
Setting these KPIs up before approaching any project will assist you in getting it done faster and with higher quality as a result of tracking.
- Planned delivery time – Number of hours you anticipate to work on a project.
- Delivery time – Total number of hours you worked on a project.
- Code Testing – Number of code tests you’ve performed.
- Bugs discovered – Total number of bugs discovered.
- Bugs fixed – Total number of bugs fixed.
- Response time – The seconds it takes for the code to respond to commands.
- Planned delivery size – Planned number of lines of code in your product.
- Delivery size – Total number of lines of code in your final product.
Even experienced programmers and developers who focus solely on a single project at a time might come across organizational hurdles in their careers. Don’t approach programming projects without any form of tracking or organizational tool at your disposal. Losing focus and forgetting important development elements can quickly become a common occurrence that will drastically hinder your performance.
Whether your focus lies in software, web or mobile development, using organizational tools and KPIs to your advantage will have a transformative effect for your freelance career.
The quality of your work will increase and you will have far more free time available for yourself as opposed to working ad hoc like before. In turn, this will make you a better choice for future clients and freelance programming opportunities going forward.