Here at trendblog.net all collaboration happens online, as all 3 of us are currently living in 3 different countries. All this time we have managed to work together perfectly, even without seeing each other for a long time.
Since the initial launch of trendblog.net we had to get used to working together remotely, using only free online collaboration tools. These tools not only allow us to work from 3 different locations, but also to be more productive and organised.
Nowadays, more and more teams/companies are forced to work together remotely. But switching from a regular day-to-day work-flow to a complex and expensive project management software is very difficult to do.
Have you ever struggled to successfully collaborate online with your clients or suppliers?
During the last 5 months we have successfully managed to work on several projects using only free online collaboration tools. Some of these tools might be already familiar to you. But still, we want to share them with you.
Dropbox is probably one tool that we use most for collaboration. With this little software, we are able to have access to all our documents, files, articles and everything else.
As we are all tech junkies, we own quite a few pieces of technology, including multiple notebooks, tablets and smartphones. And we can access our files from each gadget we own. Dropbox is compatible with all popular computer- and mobile platforms. There are native apps built for Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, Android, iOS and Blackberry. Also, you can access your Dropbox from the internet browser. Check out the Dropbox system requirements.
If you aren’t using Dropbox for teamwork, you should definitely consider doing it immediately. This tool allows you to create so-called “shared folders“, which will appear in every team member’s computer. Any file, which has been uploaded to those folders, can be accessed by every person with access to it.
Dropbox is a must-have for everyone. Seriously.
Sometimes we need to work on one document together at the same time. With Google Docs you can do that very easily; This tool allows you to create online documents, presentations and spreadsheets. You don’t even need to have any office software installed – everything happens right in your browser or via the mobile app for iOS and Android.
Just create a document and share the link with other people. Now you can edit the document together at the same time in live-mode.
Of course, every document you create online can be exported and be used offline.
FYI, I’m not getting paid for what I am about to say about this wonderful tool.
So yeah, we tried Slack… It is probably one of the best ways for teams to collaborate. To put it simply, think of Slack as a chat client on steroids.
With this communications tools you can get all your different conversations sorted into different channels, you can integrate tons of services and so much more! After switching from Skype to Hangouts, we have noticed that we are somewhat limited by our main communications channel, which is chat. We couldn’t put important conversations into places where they could be easily found for future reference, searching for past messages was a pain in the a** and the services that we use didn’t really seem to work hand in hand with tools that we’ve used before.
Need to integrate your favorite project management tool with your chat client? Getting updates on new customer support tickets? With Slack you can get all of that in-stream, so you can discuss with your team who will take over the latest bug or task. To fall in love with Slack you need to try it first. Lucky for all of us, small teams can use it for free and update when they need to. Not convinced? Check out this video:
If you happen to be in the same situation as us, Skype is probably an application, which you never close. For me it is the most used application on my computer.
All internal communication within the trendblog.net team happens via Skype, either through IM Messaging or video-calls. In spite of being separated by at least 1.500 miles (2.500 km) from each other it seems like we are sitting together in one office.
With Skype you can only video-chat with 2 people for free. And that’s the reason why we sometimes use Google Hangouts. This tool allows you to have a video-conference with up to 100 people for free.
The new Google Hangouts are great to keep all your communication in one place and synchronized. For the sake of testing the new Hangouts we have ditched all other online communication tools. Make sure to check out our review.
Over the last few months we have tested pretty much every free team/project collaboration tool out there, including popular ones like Asana and Podio. After trying them we didn’t really feel that these tools were making our lives easier. Instead, managing our projects has become a complicated chore.
But there is one tool out there which is different. Trello uses a card-based system for keeping your project overview as simple as possible. You can create custom columns like “To-Do” or “In Progress” which you will use to organize individual tasks. The tasks will be then added as a small card to the column. For each card you can set a due date, write comments, assign people to it and many more.
One especially great thing about Trello is the user experience. The interface is very simple to use. For example, you can drag every card from column to column (i.e. after completing a task) and assign people to the card by dragging their profile picture onto the card.
Also, Trello probably has the best mobile and tablet collaboration app out there. The experience is exactly what you would expect from an app, with many features taken from the system it runs on. For example, you can delete tasks on your iPad by swiping them to the left, which will reveal a red “delete” button. This looks very much like the native iOS deleting feature. All of these combined make sure that your learning curve is as smooth as possible and you won’t get a headache while using it.
Check out the video below for a demonstration of how Trello works.
What tools do you use to collaborate with your team?