The More the Merrier: Top Collab Tools for Diverse Teams
It’s assumed that with any good company, the team will work towards sustainable growth in the number of employees and departments. Quite naturally, this will cause the topic of communication to take precedence. Everyone is trained to work differently. Assumptions about being on the same page in this regard could seriously weigh down your company’s ability to reach your targets.
Disruptions in communication are one of the major points of stress, conflict, and paralysis for businesses. Studies show that employee well-being and physical health can rapidly decline when teams become discombobulated from messy and chaotic communication.
Fortunately, we are no longer in the age of Gutenberg’s printing press. With each day, stunning improvements and unique solutions to streamline communication processes are being churned out to our delight. We all know of Slack and Google Workplace. These tools have an almost vernacular day-to-day presence. Notwithstanding their seemingly ordinary presence, we have to say that their pervasiveness in the professional sphere is an incredible indicator of the power of digital collaboration tools. Picking and developing the right system for your business will undoubtedly be an essential investment for the future. Let’s cut to the chase and examine the top 20 collaboration tools for big teams and businesses.
Project Management: Agile-Friendly Tools
In project management, project needs, distribution of skill sets, capacity, and work styles should always stay in your line of sight. In recent years, the project management methodology of Agile has taken up the major parts of the discourse in effective team building and modern collaborative methods. You might have even seen it pop up in a range of different fields and for good reason. So what is this “Agile” that everyone’s been talking about? Furthermore, why is it becoming the standard amongst well-established systems like CPM or the very traditional waterfall-style of project management?
What Is Agile?
Agile is, in simple terms, a learned style of project management. It’s a form of standardizing a workflow in which everyone can come back to and rely on in times of stress. True to its eponymous name, it works in shorter bursts and cycles in order to make room for constant, continual improvement. Also listed on the Agile manifesto of values is its dedication to technical excellence, since it was developed by innovators in the tech field to be harmonious with rapid changes in client requests and requirements. Those working in project management will know that anything can happen in the field. Last-minute changes are the rule and not the exception.
Examples of Agile Usage
Slack is a staple in the list of communication platforms that have become more popular with this methodology. However, Slack does have some downsides, since it is a highly focused and rather simple application that is meant to provide more instantaneous communication in a professional setting. Want something open-source? Check out Rocket.Chat! Due to its open-source status, it has thousands of integrations and customizations available from the strong community backing it.
If you’re looking for more of a heavy hitter that can handle more long-term and complex workflows, then Asana, Monday, Trello, and Proofhub are all excellent choices.
Asana is the typical first contender for small to medium companies. It has a wonderful, anxiety-free interface that encourages, rather than intimidates. For those expecting a mass of incoming hires and quick company build-up, Asana would be the best choice due to its popularity and the small economic investment needed to get started.
Another similar alternative would be Monday. It’s accumulating a great reputation and we can see why. Monday offers a great bang for your buck. It’s versatile and adaptable. If you have someone who needs to work with Kanbans, Monday has you covered. If timelines are more your thing, Monday has that option as well. With some time, you can even begin external app integrations. Are you not ready to give up some parts of Google Workspace? Monday can sync up with that and plenty more. What we like about Monday is that it’s not shying from making itself available for a variety of application and external program integrations.
Trello is great for the visually-minded. Unlike Monday, Trello has more flexibility in allowing your team to customize it visually in a way that makes sense to them. It is the royalty of the Kanban methodology and simulates real-life sticky notes, without the stick. Cards and automation are the standout features that differentiate Trello from the rest. It makes it ideal for the Agile method and for companies that work more than frequently with freelancers, which is perfect for those who have to chant the mantra “adapt and overcome” during hectic periods of work. An obvious plus that it has over Monday is that it has a free version, so you really can take the time to get to know the software and see if it’s the right pick for you.
Unfortunately, Trello does not offer Gantt boards which may be a dealbreaker. It only allows 10 boards in its free version, so if your project becomes more complicated you should consider switching to something that can handle a larger team.
Not feeling either? Want a task manager without fanfare? ClickUp is a great in-between choice for those who want a fundamentally simple tool – capable of everything that Asana does, but has a few more options to offer. In ClickUp, you can restrict access to different folders and create data groupings. This is perfect for those working in larger teams and broader departments, where security isn’t as lax as it may be in a smaller team and project. Kanban boards and Gantt charts are also available, so you’re definitely not missing out on anything.
Looking to build community between disparate sectors of your company? Is Zoom feeling a bit overrated? There happens to be a plethora of options for you to choose from to your heart’s delight. One option that hits top scores is Discord. Unlike Zoom which is much more private, Discord works on a channel basis and is optimized for livestreams. It ranks high on video and sound quality. Nevertheless, the interface is not built for company administration. Direct messages are Discord-wide and do not live on a particular server. This means that you get to interact with larger amounts of people and encourage far greater amounts of participation than you would usually get in a couple of fragmented Zoom breakout rooms. When you’re still set on open-source tools, then Jitsi is a great video conferencing platform.
If security and video conferencing are extremely pertinent to the success of your company, then you should consider looking at a project management tool like the fairly new Chanty. A similar and very known alternative is Proofhub, which offers instant messaging, storage capacity, and more. Labels, files, milestones, templates, and project reports are just a small piece of the cake that Proofhub is dealing up in its bid to get you to integrate them into your company’s workflow.
The downside? Like with all complex tools, it comes down to the fact that you may need to spend a couple of hours getting used to the software and customizing it to your liking. Bringing everyone up to the same level of technological savvy may not be your cup of tea when dealing with a tool that should reduce stress, rather than increase it.
We’ve looked at a couple of awesome tools so far, but a promise is a promise. We’re aiming for 20 collaboration tools to help make your company rise to the challenge. Let’s continue!
Canva is a hot tool that has threatened some graphic designers. With it being so easy and simple to use, Canva has caused a rift to emerge in the scene. Is it amateur? Will it detract value from original and creative designs? Despite the design industry’s complaints, we find that Canva is great for those needing to enter the market and begin developing their visual brand on social media. As much as everyone would like to ideally hire a graphic designer that can build a unique style and visual voice for their company, start-up culture simply does not afford that sometimes. All things considered, Canva has made things much more accessible for many people and we know that the importance of keen, creative, and precise graphic design isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Alongside its intuitive interface, Canva allows for collaboration, team commenting, and more. Even graphic designers can find some use with Canva for smaller tasks that can’t be relegated to Google Docs. Canva operates well as a platform that can take in live feedback in teams and for most nascent communication departments, it is a must-have. Additionally, the beginning try-out price is extremely affordable, and by affordable, we mean free.
Obviously, we have to bring up Miro in any conversation about visual collaboration tools. Beloved by a vast range of people in different fields, Miro’s winning concept is that it takes the familiar whiteboards of our school days and translates them into the digital.
Miro is great for Agile-based projects, UX Design, sales, marketing and engineering; due to its strong emphasis on relatable, quirky, and visually appealing templates. In this day and age, it’s not just how viable your project is, it’s how well people can remember it. What better way to ensure this than to have your ideas pop with designated color codes?
Is your project or company more data and diagram heavy? If Miro is not providing enough power and clarity for visualizing technical systems, we suggest looking at Lucidchart, which focuses on IT, engineering, and business operations. It’s a bit more structured than Miro and allows you to see your data in context.
Tools for Smoother Workflow
Some tools that aren’t necessarily full-out communication platforms are also wonderfully handy. For example, Lastpass is gaining ground for large companies with more than enough platforms and databases to take care of. When you’re a person who often loses track of their passwords and has to constantly check their inbox for a password reset notification, Lastpass is something you should get on. Its security is tight and it’s received rave reviews. You can even test it out for free to see if it suits your purposes before upgrading to a higher plan. Casual users can also enjoy the convenience of not struggling to remember which password if the thought of holding so many passwords in one place is too anxiety-inducing.
Hoping to automate more tedious tasks? Zapier is your go-to! It can create multi-step workflows and connect your apps together. Setting up the automations may take a bit of time, but for the time you save in writing repetitive emails or notifications, it’s well worth the energy.
When you’ve already saved enough time with those apps, then take a gander at apps like Clockify and MyHours. These tools are wildly helpful for any management team dealing with new and old freelancers that may or may not be experienced with the company culture or business practices. We all know good time optimization and management practice are inarguably the foundation of any good company. These apps take the stress out of having to constantly worry if someone is working up to their potential and promises.
With any combination of these apps, we know that a fast and efficient workflow awaits you. Communication and team-building make up the heart of any business, because these are the people you spend 50 hours a week with and most likely more. As a final quick review, here’s a list of all the tools mentioned above in chronological order.
As fun and exciting as some of these tools may be the classics like Google Drive or WeTransfer are not out of the running yet, so you’ll find them at the end of the list as a sort of acknowledgment that most of us still rely on these tools to some extent. Lastly, with any new tool, you have to consider the possibility of integrating it with your current system, or else you’re going to be doing the opposite of what you intended, which is saving time, energy, and resources. Utilizing these 20 collaboration tools early and making them a staple in your business practice will decrease the chances of chaos and maybe free up some time to hold that company barbecue for some in-person team building.
- Google Drive
Q1. What are the 5 ways of boosting collaboration?
Have a well-organized onboarding process, established company protocols for your business’s communication culture, and begin automating tasks through digital tools when you can. Lastly, you should always remember to schedule some time to develop personal trust within the company.
The first thing that may come to mind when you want to improve collaboration is adding more tools — however, you have to take into consideration that tools are only as useful as the wielder.
Q2. How do you bring a team together?
Other than the 20 collaboration tools you just read about, you can bring a team together through analog means, like arranging company retreats, lunches, and dinners. There’s a reason why the annual company barbecue or picnic has become such a cultural motif in the USA.
Teams blossom when people engage in shared values and communal activities. You can even get creative and begin noticing what subcultural interests reappear in your employees depending on your company’s field of work. Promoting arts and culture? Maybe you can organize a silly and fun ceramics workshop for your employees.
Q3. What are 3 important skills for teamwork and collaboration?
Communication, digital literacy, and experience are 3 important aspects for collaboration. Though we often say communication is the main priority for teamwork and collaboration, digital literacy and experience in the same project management methodology are becoming just as important.
Onboarding takes a good amount of time and energy. Workplace communication is now funneled and executed through many mediums. Digital literacy and a similar understanding of project management should be kept in mind during any hiring or company-building process.
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