In a previous post I looked at how the adoption of not only cloud-based software platforms, but ancillary cloud-based services has really taken off, supported by a robust ecosystem of third-party SAAS tools for project management, testing, QA, monitoring, analytics, collaboration, etc. In the past it was common for software teams to develop some of these services, such as testing and monitoring, in-house. Others services, such as project management tools, might have been purchased on physical media (first floppies, then CDs, later DVDs) and laboriously installed on individual computers — often in far greater numbers than officially licensed.

Still, other services — such as distributed collaboration tools — simply didn’t exist before.

In today’s cloud ecosystem, these readily-accessible tools are available in ever-increasing numbers. If you know what you’re looking for, you can Google something like ‘agile project management software’ to find product information and reviews. But sometimes it’s nice to hear about what’s new or popular a little more serendipitously…

CTO favourites and contenders

During previous research, I conducted a survey of fellow CTOs to quantify their use of cloud services. As a byproduct of that exercise I received several CTO suggestions for favourite service which I’ve shared here, along with notable category competitors also worth considering:

1. ​Online Surveys


  • Typeform — ‘Free and beautifully human online forms’.

Worthy contenders:

  • SurveyMonkey — ‘The world’s most popular free online survey tool’; and
  • Google Forms — ‘Create and analyse surveys, for free’.

2. Time Tracking


  • Paydirt — ‘Time tracking and invoicing for freelancers, consultants and small teams’.

Worthy contenders:

  • Harvest — ‘Simple online time tracking software’; and
  • Toggl — ‘Time tracker and employee timesheet software’.

3. Screen Sharing


  • Screenhero — ‘Screen sharing for collaboration in teams’ (now part of Slack).

Worthy contenders:

  • — ‘One click video conversations’’;
  • — ‘Free screen sharing, online meetings and web conferencing’;
  • — ‘Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars, Screen Sharing’; and
  • Google Hangouts (I guess I have to include this one).

4. Distributed Agile Standups


  • TeamSnippets — ‘Automated status update collection and reporting over email’.

Worthy contenders:

  • Status Hero — ‘Automated reporting for software teams’; and
  • i done this — ‘Get more done’.

5. User Session Playback


  • FullStory — ‘Pixel-perfect session replay’.

​Worthy contenders:

  • Crazy Egg — ‘A/B testing and heatmaps’;
  • Hotjar — ‘Heatmaps, visitor recordings, conversion funnels, form analytics, feedback polls and surveys in one platform’; and
  • Clicktale — ‘Digital customer experience and website analytics’.

Visual Regression Testing


  • Screenster — ‘Visual regression testing’.

Worthy Contenders:

  • Percy — ‘Continuous visual reviews for web apps’; and
  • Backtrac — ‘Automated visual regression testing tool’.

…Which are your favourites?

Originally published on

Larry Cynkin is a consultant CTO and writing as a contributor for CTO Craft.

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