Top 11+ Useful Tools for Engineering Managers

Software engineering is growing exponentially, and the future holds even more dramatic reliance on software as a means of carrying our various businesses. For this reason, engineering managers leverage useful tools to boost their productivity and save hours of their time in guiding their team to ship software better and faster. 

The question now is, what are the tools that will make engineering managers more productive? You will see a living list (will be continually edited and updated) of:

Meeting tools for engineering managers

1. Zumvie

Built on Jira and as a standalone app, Zumvie is the best one-on-one meeting tool for engineering managers. 

With Zumvie, engineering managers get the full flexibility of a Google doc with other powerful features to enhance the one-on-one meeting experience and save them hundreds of hours yearly in ineffective one-on-ones.

These features include:

  • Agenda items: Ability to collect agenda items to be discussed in the next one-on-one meeting with a Slackbot to remind both parties to submit them a day or two before the meeting.
  • Follow-up items: “is your direct report saying something important to chat about in a later meeting?” with Zumvie, you can make draw up a week’s productivity plan are extra important.
  • Action items: One-on-one meetings usually have saving action items and to-dos; Zumvie helps managers make those into tasks in a neat to-do list.
  • Private notes: To store sensitive information about direct reports, Zumvie helps you make private notes for your eyes only.
  • Meeting history log: With one scroll, you can see the previous meetings, what happened in them to quickly understand the context of the conversation.

Zumvie is constantly evolving, and there’s much more to it, so if you use Jira, start a trial now! if not check out the standalone app for free.

Writing tools for engineering managers

2. Grammarly

Grammarly is an artificial intelligence-led language and spell check platform that provides grammatical error checking and auto-suggestion for possible fixes to spelling errors. Grammarly also functions as a writing assistant that you can trust by helping you build and harness your vocabulary.

Grammarly is your go-to solution if you are looking to archive the following:

  • Write mistake-free content
  • Improve your writing skills by using the right words in sentences.
  • To automate the grammatical error check when writing.

3. Typora

Typora is a lightweight Markdown editor that allows for easy markdown text with color variants and real-time preview.  Typora is one of those simple tools with loads of unique features to help speed up the way you write markdown contents. 

Typora is your go-to solution if you are looking to archive the following:

  • Write markdown with real-time preview without the usual toolbar that comes with other editors.
  • Write Markdown with support for code fences, inline-styles, mathematics, Diagrams, etc. 
  • Read and view your content just as your readers would see them in real-time.
  • Have total control of your markdown editor.
  • Write, Markdown with an array of themes to select from and put together your documentation. 

4. aText

aText is an AI-led text automation tool that keeps track of frequently used phrases/abbreviations you’ve saved and autocomplete them when next you write in any application. It also has an autocorrect feature for HTML and Javascript.

aText is your go-to solution if you are looking to archive the following:

  • Write faster with limited errors
  • Make writing seamless with personalized autocomplete.
  • Auto capitalizes sentences when next you write.
  • Save your references to Google Drive,  iCloud, Dropbox, and sync them within all your devices.
  • Collaborate with your teammates in real-time.

Reading and learning tools for engineering managers

5. Instapaper

Instapaper is a tool that lets you save anything you’d love to read, view or reference in the future with one click. Instapaper has support for synchronizing all the articles, videos, or quotes you’ve saved to your devices.  It currently has support for iPhone, iPad, Android, etc. 

Instapaper is your go-to solution if you are looking to archive the following:

  • Save anything on the internet in one click
  • Read all that you’ve saved from one place 
  • Sync all that you’ve saved to your devices.
  • Create notes with support for highlighting 

6. Obsidian

Obsidian is a personal knowledge base tool that allows you to connect all your notes in a folder within your local machine with a linking mechanism. Obsidian is 100% customizable.

Obsidian is your go-to solution if you are looking to archive the following:

  • Have total control over your notes
  • Make connections between your notes while writing about any complex subject
  • A fully customizable markdown editor
  • An offline markdown editor
  • Access a large community of Markdown editor theme developers
  • A markdown that has up to 22 languages translations

Time management tools for engineering managers

7. Focus for macOS

Focus is a productivity tool that lets you block distracting applications such as social media apps (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to increase your productivity. Apart from blocking distracting apps, Focus also helps you draw up a week’s productivity plan with daily productivity quotes and tips.

Focus is your go-to solution if you are, are looking to archive the following:

  • Maintaining a sustainable productivity index
  • Be more focused during your work hours
  • Track your productivity from a real-time dashboard
  • Put your productivity on schedule with a time frame
  • Schedule a break time during your work hours.

8. RescueTime

RescueTime is a productivity assistant that measures your focus time and gives you an accurate report. RescueTime combines your meeting schedules and working time to decide and recommend the suitable focus goal for you. 

RescueTime is your go-to solution if you are looking to archive the following:

  • Learn about what pulls you away from your focus time.
  • Get automatic stats of your workday.
  • Get a report on how you spent your entire work time.
  • Automatically block distracting apps when you trigger a focus session.
  • Gain coaching sessions on focus and productivity daily

Other top tools for engineering managers

9. SourceLevel

SourceLevel is a workflow monitoring tool that helps engineering managers and teams to get the best out of their delivery pipeline. SourceLevel leverages data insights from Github and GitLab to give reports on delivery timelines. How it works; all you need to do is to connect your Github or Gitlab repository to SourceLevel, and it will automatically convert it to real-time metrics.  

SourceLevel is your go-to solution if you are looking to archive the following:

  • Keep track of the KPIs of your engineering team.
  • Bring engineering operations to your daily activities.
  • Build a more productive engineering team.
  • Monitor a large distributed team with ease.
  • Identify limitations and bottlenecks in your engineering team. 

10. Cleanshot for macOS 

Cleanshot is a screen capturing tool for the Mac operating system. Cleasshot’s drag and drop feature helps you move the captured screen to other apps seamlessly. Its annotation feature enables you to highlight important parts of the captured screen in seconds.

Cleanshot is your go-to solution if you are looking to archive the following:

  • Capture/record your computer screen.
  • Highlight your captured screen with ease
  • Move captured screen to other application seamlessly
  • Upload your captures to the cloud and generate a sharable link.
  • Capture a scrolling screen.
  • Record screen/pin screenshots

11. SpeakerDeck

SpeakerDeck is a lightweight tool for slide sharing. Speakerdeck provides an embeddable link for you to integrate your slide in your web/mobile apps.

SpeakerDeck is your go-to solution if you are looking to archive the following:

  • Convert your PDF deck to slides
  • Make your slides accessible from anywhere 
  • Embed your deck in your new or existing mobile/web apps
  • Generate a sharable link for your slides
  • Make on-time presentations.

12. 1Password

1Password is a password manager tool that lets you create one master password and login to different platforms online with one click. With 1Password, you only need to remember just one password, and 1Password would securely save every other information in your online vault. It also checks for security breaches on web applications you sign in with suggestions on better protecting are your login details.

1Password is your go-to solution if you are looking to archive the following:

  • Only memorize one password
  • Ensure your accounts details are protected in a cloud-based vault only accessible by you.
  • Login to apps with just a click
  • Get informed when there are security breaches that involve your account information.


We’ll be interested to know which software tools you use to increase your productivity as an Engineering Manager. Feel free to share on the  Zumvie Slack Community. Other engineering managers will love to hear your recommendations. 

Written by Team Zumvie

November 8, 2021

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