Engineering Leads: 7 AI Productivity Tools for your Devs in 2023
Strategic adopters of AI are pulling ahead at an astounding pace – a pace that tends to take aback many tech leaders.
Meanwhile, routine productivity challenges continue to keep leaders up at night. Things like bottlenecks in code review processes, delays due to manual testing, and suffering from chronic lack of alignment between stakeholders.
In 2023, AI companies have fought to be at the front of the pack to offer solutions that solve these exact productivity problems for engineering teams.
Accordingly, this survey of over 200 companies shows that teams actively using artificial intelligence (AI) have figured out how to deliver projects 2.5x faster.
To put that another way, they’re reclaiming 3 hours in an 8-hour workday.
The gains extend beyond direct delivery, too. Leaders often overlook the gravity of AI talent retention and attraction – disproportionately amongst the strongest engineers, who are more likely to understand the strength of AI adoption.
In light of this, here are seven indispensable AI tools that have come out on top in their field for software engineering teams to implement before the year is out.
1. Stepsize AI
For leaders in the engineering domain, alignment is necessary for progress.
And yet, the tools and processes traditionally available to us often prove inefficient, costing us and our engineering teams as much as 30% of our valuable time.
True alignment seems elusive.
That’s why I built Stepsize AI with my team.
Stepsize AI creates alignment by delivering automatic product development updates that enable you to understand in seconds how your projects are going.
It works with Jira and Linear, with more tools coming soon.
At the heart of Stepsize is the Operational Intelligence Engine. It observes everything happening across your issue tracker, like Jira or Linear, and forms connections between data points and generates insights.
Based on its advanced contextual understanding of your projects and activities, Stepsize AI generates timely, trustworthy updates product development updates for any stage of your agile cycle, whether you use Scrum, Kanban, FaST or something else.
In the end, everyone stays informed without overwhelming you with raw data.
With Stepsize AI, your teams can:
- Effortlessly Align: Create true visibility of what matters and develop your transparency culture across business units, teams, and contributors.
- Minimise Meeting Time: Prioritise meaningful work by reducing time spent in informational meetings.
- Boost Visibility and Transparency: Emulate the communal atmosphere of the "water cooler," thereby enhancing team cohesion, work habits, and organisational culture.
- Limit Context Switching: Keep workflow uninterrupted by minimising the need to ask others.
Stepsize AI is already helping transform product engineering at all kinds of software organisations, and I’d love to think it can do that for you, too.
2. Otter AI
Otter AI is an AI-powered meeting assistant that can help you manage your meetings more effectively.
Otter AI streamlines the meeting process by joining, recording, and summarising your team's meetings. Tired of dedicating time to recapping meetings or sifting through recordings? Otter AI offers features like automated meeting summarisation and live transcript summaries, saving you considerable time and allowing you to focus on the work that truly matters.
- AI chat for meetings to facilitate better communication
- Automatic AI meeting summarisation to save time
- Automated slide capture for easy post-meeting review
My view: A universal tool that can benefit a wide range of teams, whether they're large or small, technical or not. Its capabilities, like creating live transcript summaries, are handy for catching up on missed meetings without having to rewatch the whole recording. A significant time-saver.
3. Mintlify Writer
Mintlify Writer is an AI tool automates your code documentation tasks.
As much as we understand the importance of good documentation, it's often seen as an afterthought by developers. Mintlify Writer tackles this problem by auto-generating comprehensive and context-aware documentation. This allows your engineering team to focus more on coding and problem-solving, rather than getting bogged down with the tedious task of writing out documentation.
- One-click comprehensive documentation for quick generation
- Supports a wide range of programming languages for better versatility
- Context-aware algorithms for producing relevant descriptions
My view: Mintlify Writer is particularly beneficial for large, complex projects where maintaining up-to-date and accurate documentation is crucial, but has the potential to be overwhelming. It fills a much-needed gap, allowing your engineers to focus on what they do best: coding.
Phind is a specialised search engine explicitly tailored for developers.
General-purpose search engines or AI like ChatGPT might not always yield the most accurate or reliable information for coding queries. Phind comes to the rescue by focusing on developers' specific needs. It offers detailed responses to coding questions and provides related links, making finding the information you're looking for easier without wasting time.
- Detailed and insightful answers to coding questions for higher accuracy
- Related search links for additional context and information
- Free to use with no subscription options, making it accessible
My view: Phind’s worth a look if your team members frequently use forums or using general-purpose AIs for their coding questions. Responses tend to be precise, and context-rich and – importantly – give links to web sources (and resources) where you can find more information and verify what the AI tells you.
Quillbot is an AI-powered paraphrasing tool designed to enhance your writing.
Quillbot is a neat little tool if you find yourself drafting, redrafting and labouring over wording. It improves quality and readability without spending a whole bunch of time doing it.
- Customisable vocabulary changes with a Synonym Slider
- AI-powered thesaurus for finding the best synonyms
- Direct integration into Chrome and Microsoft Word for ease of use
My view: Quillbot is versatile for anyone who gets writers block or simply wants to phrase things better, faster. It can be used for all kinds of things, including documentation, emails, project descriptions and more.
WhatTheDiff streamlines your code review process by offering automated suggestions and summaries.
Code reviews are essential but can be time-consuming and even overwhelming with large codebases or frequent pull requests. WhatTheDiff automates this process, offering code suggestions and generating summaries that both technical and non-technical team members can understand.
- Instant code refactoring suggestions for improved code quality
- Summarizes pull requests for easier digestion
- Reporting and notification features to keep everyone in the loop
My view: WhatTheDiff is an excellent tool for high-velocity development teams where pull requests are frequent. It acts as a second set of eyes, making the code review process faster and more effective.
RegexGPT is an AI tool for simplifying the often uphill task of writing and understanding Regular Expressions (RegEx).
Regular expressions are powerful but often cryptic and hard to understand, especially for those new to the concept. RegexGPT assists by allowing you to enter a string and the value you expect from it, then generates a RegEx that matches your criteria, reducing the time you'd spend crafting and testing these expressions manually.
Here’s what the input form looks like:
And the output:
- AI-generated RegEx expressions to save time
- Natural language prompts for more complex queries
My view: RegexGPT is fast-track through the often tedious process of writing RegEx. A saver of time and frustration for software developers who find themselves needing to write them.
Investing in the right software development productivity tools can make all the difference in team productivity and the quality of your projects. These tools each offer unique features to solve common challenges in engineering and development environments. Try them out and see which ones make the most significant impact on your team's efficiency and effectiveness.
We built Stepsize AI to enable product engineering teams to truly achieve alignment. I’d love to know what you think, and how your team could use it.