collaboration

Collaboration: 5 Tools for Project Management

Collaboration is the best way to work. It’s the only way to work, really. Everyone’s there because they have a set of skills to offer across the board. – Antony Starr

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oes it feel like your entire workday is spent on sending emails to your team members? Do you feel like that all you’re doing in a day is briefing your team on the same thing over and over again? If you’re feeling overwhelmed with workplace communications or productivity has taken a hit, then it may be time consider updating your collaboration tools.

The Era of Distributed Teams

Today, more and more businesses across industries are going remote. This not only means that you’re able to hire the best talent, regardless of location but also helps you bag clients from across the globe. Killer teams, lowered operational costs, eliminating other traditional expenses like office space, furniture, etc., are some of the top benefits of going remote.

Additionally, experts agree that working from remote environments lowers stress levels of employees (no having to deal with the long commute) and helps to build more creative and productive teams. If the thought of creating a remote team sounds tempting, remember that it can be challenging too. You’ll need the right tools to make it work.

This is where collaboration comes in. Without proper communication and collaboration, even the most skilled remote team could lose focus and tasks can get derailed quickly.

Collaboration – The Difference between Success and Failure

According to a survey by FierceInc.com involving over 1400 corporate executives, 86% of respondents believed that lack of collaboration and workplace communication is the number one reason for projects to fail and loss of productivity.

In this era of remote workers and distributed teams, technology plays a crucial role in ensuring smooth workplace collaboration and communication. Today, there are a whole lot of tools that make workplace communication and collaborative project management easier than ever before.

Here is the list of top collaboration tools for 2018 that help you improve workplace communications, deliver the best results and overall simplify project management.

1. Collaborate just like Working out of the Same Office

Just a few years back, you had to do with crude project management tools that were nothing but glorified spreadsheets and calendars. All you were able to do with these were tracking deadlines. And, needless to say, using these tools themselves felt like a huge chore.

Today’s project management tools have come a long way since then. They provide integrated and sophisticated collaboration features like instant messaging, screen sharing, and conferencing, etc. – all made possible with a single tool.

These tools bring your distributed team together no matter in which corner of the planet they are in. Every team member is aware of what others are doing, can check out project progress, task updates, schedule resources, etc. all from a single dashboard. Slack, Trello and Basecamp are some of the leading tools in this space.

2. Simplified and Efficient Resource Allocation

Do you struggle with resource allocation? Not sure, which of your team members are available and for how long? Finding it challenging to keep track of who’s working on what and what’s the progress?

Then, check out eResourceScheduler, one of the best collaborative tools for resource allocation. As teams go remote, it becomes difficult for project managers to track individual progress as well as make the efficient use of resources on hand.

With this tool, you get a bird’s eye as well as a micro view of your entire human resources. This makes for efficient planning and ensures that all team members get allocated an equal share of work. What more, you can assign the right resources for the right job, thereby improving productivity, as well as delivering the best quality of work.

3. Teleconferencing made Easy

Just a few years back, setting up a teleconference call often lasted than the entire call. You needed the right equipment and a whole lot of other complicated procedures to make it work. Today, all that’s changed with two tools that are free!

One of the main reasons why Skype is one of the most popular communication tools is that it’s free. Additionally, it allows people on several devices to communicate seamlessly. For instance, in a group call, you can have people connecting from their laptops, mobiles, or even tablets. People across geographical locations and time zones can get connected on the go to discuss work status and other queries.

Another tool that makes connecting with your team members easy is Google’s Hangouts. Just like Skype, this one’s also free. You can record your call to view later using Hangouts on Air. This means you can spend the call focusing on hearing what your co-workers say, instead of concentrating on taking notes. You can review the call at any later time, to check out the details.

4. Never Lose a File Again with Document Management Tools

Google Drive is the place to go when you need to store all your work files safely. One of the biggest perks of using Google Drive is that it offers you 15GB free storage for your documents, photos, and any other digital file. What more, files are safe, easy to upload and retrieve, and you can access them from any device, be it your laptop or mobile. And, you can even share files with your team members and collaborate with them on the same document or spreadsheet.

Slim Wiki is another free tool that simplifies document management. When you have a remote team, that’s located all over the world; it’s essential that you store all internal documents like procedure guides, company policies, and others, in one convenient, easily accessible location. Slim Wiki fits the bill perfectly.

It helps you create a private wiki that organizes all your documents and other information about your company in an appealing format. The drag-and-drop feature is a breeze to use, especially for creating pages and you can assign either editor or read-only status to each team member for every document.

Dropbox is another popular file sharing tool for remote teams. It helps you to sync your work to the cloud, irrespective of the device you’re working on and your location. This means your team members can update their work from a field job or even while waiting for their coffee at a café.

Dropbox is free for individuals, but businesses have to pay for it. The business version comes with several additional features like higher sharing limits, priority email support, etc. And, when documents are edited all people who have access to it, get the latest version.

5. Create a Virtual “Water Cooler”

Very often, when asked what’s the best thing about teamwork, most people respond that they love the meaningful, personal connections they make at work – just by being in the office along with their co-workers, sharing stories about hobbies, family, supporting each other during a crisis and so on.

When you go remote, it doesn’t mean you have to forego the proverbial “Office Water Cooler.” Several tools help you replicate a place where teams can hang together just to chat and communicate.

Yammer helps members of a remote team connect with one another. Think of it as a social network just for your employees. All employees, regardless of the departments, locations or projects can connect via Yammer. To become a member of Yammer, an employee must have a company issued mail id.

What more, just like Facebook and other social networks; you can create groups to share relevant information with specific team members. This helps to reduce the noise in your Newsfeed. With Yammer, you no longer have to set up lengthy meetings just to ask a quick question.

The Right Collaboration Tools for Success

Operating your remote team without the right collaboration tools is like setting up an office without the necessary desks, chairs and internet connectivity. Effective tools make all the difference when it comes to managing projects successfully.

Your team may be worlds apart. But, that doesn’t mean your work has to be all over the place. Take a look at the available tools, do your research and pick the ones that offer you success.

Kanika Chadha is ex-banker turned digital entrepreneur who loves to write. Currently, she works at eResource Scheduler and her power-packed corporate experience in Product, Marketing, and Sales, helps her appreciate the power of intelligent & engaging content in the digital world.

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