Tools that make it easier to collaborate with your team
By Kristian Male
Published on July 12, 2018
An interesting trend within collaboration is that teams don’t just collaborate within their own group. They also open up the discussion with partners, customers and even competitors. The North American Workplace Lead at Avanade, Michelle Caldwell, reported in 2015 that companies send out more surveys to customers, open up their software with the use of Open Source and partner up with competitors.
There’s plenty of different types of collaboration tools that are all targeting different set of use cases. The truth is that there’s really aren’t any all-in-one collaboration tools out there. Each tool will help you become more productive in different stages of your workflow, meaning you’ll most likely have to adopt more than just one collaboration tool.
Anyway, here’s a walkthrough of all our favorite collaboration tools, divided under its most relevant use case:
Tools are a critical part of project management. Your team need a way to monitor the progress of projects and keeping track of tasks.
Trello is a task management tool based on the concept of kanban boards. Its functionality is actually kind of similar to the classic card game Solitaire, where you drag cards between different sections. These sections can be created by the users and called whatever the user wants. In addition, each card can be tagged, assign to teammates, receive deadlines, and have different sub-tasks added to them.
Formely known as daPulse, Monday.com is a great project management tool for teams both large and small alike. While Trello focuses more on simple task management, Monday.com is a more visual tool with lots of great visualization alternatives.
The tool lets you create roadmaps, boards full of individual tasks or projects, assign teammates to each project or task or communicate using mentions or just comments. It’s a great all around project management tool really.
Chat and voice collaboration tools
The old classic online chatting tools have been around for a very long time. In the later years, they have evolved rapidly and added a bunch of new features, making them more and more relevant for businesses and teams.
Slack is the clear cut winner in this category for us. The tool is so simple to get started on and works seamlessly across organizations and teams. If you’re participating in more than just one team, Slack makes it easy for you to communicate with all of them without much logout/login hassle.
Slack has evolved from being a chat-only tool to a tool with a wide range of communication features. You can make voice calls and even video calls. While it’s not something to compare to a conferencing service, it’s great for short calls across vast distances.
The simple voice and video features that comes with tools like Slack isn’t always enough though. Slack is great for internal communication, but falls short on the external side. That’s why you’ll need a great video-conferencing tool to keep your team in touch with partners and customers.
ConnectWise Control is a very customizable and advanced video-conferencing tool. There’s an extremely wide range of features available like file sharing, remote control capabilities (the ability to exchange control of a computer with a caller), and screen sharing. It’s a great tool if you’re looking for a way to take your customer support to the next level.
Join.me is a more simple conferencing service. While it doesn’t have the same firepower as ConectWise, it’s definitely a winner if you’re looking for a clean and intuitive conferencing platform. It’s very simple to connect to a session, which can be done through a phone line, desktop application, mobile application and more. The tool also brings the most essential tools needed for video-conferencing, like screen-sharing and the ability to invite a huge amount of people (10 for video conferencing and 250 if you just need voice).
Co-creation is probably the most essential part of collaboration. The point is usually to create something together with your team, right? You can create a lot of things though, and many tools specialize themselves within this area. Let’s have a look at two quite different tools for different type of co-creation.
Google Drive, and its associated tools, are great for real-time collaboration on documents and sheets. Docs and Sheets allow you to sit back and watch while you monitor the actions your team do in real-time. If you feel like you need to contribute with something, just jump in and comment, or write it down yourself.
Zeplin isn’t really a competitor to Google Drive. At all. While you definitely use both tools to create something, the use case is quite different. While Google Drive focus on writing and editing documents with your team, Zeplin is an awesome design tool for UX and UI designers.
With Zeplin, designers can create their stuff with a wide range of tools and easily share it with the marketing department or developers. If you click on an element designed with Zeplin, you can download a file connected to it or read the actual code that is needed to create it with CSS or HTML.
Cross-service collaboration tools
Many teammates might have different preferences when it comes to cloud services. It’s hard to change habits that you’ve dragged with you from a former job, especially if you didn’t have any problems with the tools you used to stick with.
This is definitely a problem when trying to find the right cloud storage provider. Some might prefer Google Drive because of the great collaboration features available, while others might stick with Microsoft and OneDrive because it’s familiar. With Correlate, it doesn’t really matter.
Our tool actually let’s you collaborate with your team even though you might be using different cloud storage providers. Just bookmark a file from your cloud drive account in a relevant Correlate Map and share it with your team. If they want they can add something relevant from their own cloud drive account and share it with a simple drag&drop function.
Sharing internal documentation can be boring and time consuming. While you can definitely use Google Drive or other cloud storage providers for this, there’s other tools that excel in this area.
Confluence is one of those tools. It’s extremely customizable and powerful when used right. You create spaces for anything you want to document. We at Correlate use this platform to document all our internal processes for marketing, but also document the individual projects we work on. This could be different stages of our product development or similar.
Within a Confluence Space you can link to externally stored files, create an internal knowledge base, set up roadmaps and add comments to individual pieces of your project. Each Space also features an individual blog that anyone given access to can write on.
As you can see there’s a huge amount of different collaboration tools. It’s impossible to select just one for collaborating with your team. While you can communicate with your team in Confluence, it’s not as easy as just typing a quick chat message to someone in Slack. In Slack you can’t really create any content either. That’s why you should combine that tool with for example Google Drive and Docs.